This book does not propose to be a history of Mexico or a sociological or economic study of that country. There is a considerable library of scholarly books in English. But in a country as vigorous and lively as Mexico statistics go out of date faster than books can be published. In these rapid changes, filled with ferment, confusion, and hope, lies Mexico's present fascination. The country has lost none of its former beauties. Its mountains and coasts are as magnificent as ever; its archæological fields grow in wonder and significance as new finds are made and as better communications make them more accessible. Improved communications, tending to destroy the picturesque, are also opening up new areas and hitherto unknown tribes. Primitive life and quaint customs may still be found on every hand, but the most interesting Mexicans are those who are going ahead. Fast as they change, they must inevitably develop along lines laid down by their own character and experience. They change most rapidly in Mexico City, which in a way sums up the country, and which I have therefore left for last in this book.
This book, then, tries to present fairly some actual Mexicans with enough sidelights and backward glances to explain why they live and think and act as they do. Two years' travel among them suggests that their over-all characteristic is a tough invincibility. People with such a gift for life and laughter, not to mention intelligence and ambition, will inevitably carry their country on to a unique and important place in the modern world.