Mexico: What Everyone Needs to Know

Mexico: What Everyone Needs to Know

Mexico: What Everyone Needs to Know

Mexico: What Everyone Needs to Know


Today all would agree that Mexico and the United States have never been closer--that the fates of the two republics are inextricably intertwined. It has become an intimate part of life in almost every community in the United States, through immigration, imported produce, business ties, or illegal drugs. It is less a neighbor than a sibling; no matter what our differences, it is intricately a part of our existence.

In this outstanding contribution to Oxford's acclaimed series, What Everyone Needs to Know®, Roderic Ai Camp gives readers the most essential information about our sister republic to the south. Camp organizes chapters around major themes--security and violence, economic development, foreign relations, the colonial heritage, and more. He asks questions that take us beyond the headlines: Why does Mexico have so much drug violence? What was the impact of the North American Free Trade Agreement? How democratic is Mexico? Who were Benito Juárez and Pancho Villa? What is the PRI (the Institutional Revolutionary Party)? The answers are sometimes surprising. Despite ratification of NAFTA, for example, Mexico has fallen behind Brazil and Chile in economic growth and rates of poverty. Camp explains that lack of labor flexibility, along with low levels of transparency and high levels of corruption, make Mexico less competitive than some other Latin American countries. The drug trade, of course, enhances corruption and feeds on poverty; approximately 450,000 Mexicans now work in this sector. But Camp reveals that President Calderón's recent assault on narcotics smugglers--and the violence resulting from it--may have actually lessened the government's control of parts of the country and national institutions.

Brisk, clear, and informed, Mexico: What Everyone Needs To Know® offers a valuable primer for anyone interested in the past, present, and future of our neighbor to the South.

What Everyone Needs to Know® is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press.


Many scholarly friends from my generation who specialized in Latin American studies or some other regional specialization have expressed an itch to accomplish two complementary professional, scholarly goals: write a novel set in their country of specialization and perhaps even more challenging, a textbook. Writing the answers to some one hundred questions about Mexico falls into a similar category. Any of us who are interested in world affairs or the cultures of other countries always have questions we want to ask about that special place. Thus, it was a welcome invitation to write such a book about Mexico, and I commend Oxford University Press for initiating such a valuable series.

I am into my fifth decade of research on Mexico, having begun my scholarly work in 1966 under the guidance of the late historian Mario Rodríguez, a distinguished Central Americanist. He would have approved of this project, which brings together academic interests from a variety of disciplines. As suggested in the Table of Contents, I have begun the book with a series of provocative questions raised implicitly in most recent media accounts, or that have come up repeatedly in my public speaking engagements among general audiences and students. Some of these questions address difficult political and security issues Mexico faces, issues which naturally impact the United States. Because . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.