The Course of Mexican History

By Michael C. Meyer; William L. Sherman et al. | Go to book overview

Preface

Two years from now this seventh edition of The Course of Mexican History will register a milestone of sorts. Before this edition ultimately yields (we hope gracefully) to an eighth edition, the book will celebrate twenty-five years in print, an occurrence never contemplated when the original authors (Michael Meyer and William Sherman) sent their manuscript to press for the first time. Subsequent editions made it possible to correct errors, incorporate new findings, periodically update the history of colonial and modern Mexico, and remove recountings that seemed important or poignant at the time but proved to be of only fleeting significance in the larger historical scheme of things.

The book’s longevity has, of course, allowed its authors to reach many more students than they were able to engage in their own classrooms. At the same time, we realize that no textbook can ever be a replacement for dedicated and enthusiastic college teachers, who not only draw upon their reservoir of historical knowledge but also provoke discussion, stimulate critical thinking, and share their individual experience as they stand in front of their students. We believe that the narrative approach we have undertaken in this text makes those tasks more attainable as it allows the individual professor the freedom and flexibility of pursuing special topics in greater depth and assigning different kinds of collateral readings without concern that the underlying narrative thread of the Mexican historical experience will have been lost. From the response of our own students, as well as those of many colleagues, we are convinced that this scheme works and that The Course of Mexican History has made at least a modest contribution in helping a generation of college undergraduates emerge from their Mexican history classes with a deeper appreciation of the Mexican past. We are confident that this, in turn, leads to a more nuanced understanding of the Mexican present. If this appreciation of the past and understanding of the present beget a degree of empathy for a coun

-vii-

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