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Opening Mexico: The Making of a Democracy

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  146 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
The Story of Mexico's political rebirth, by two pulitzer prize-winning reporters

Opening Mexico is a narrative history of the citizens' movement which dismantled the kleptocratic one-party state that dominated Mexico in the twentieth century, and replaced it with a lively democracy. Told through the stories of Mexicans who helped make the transformation, the book gives new
Paperback, 608 pages
Published March 15th 2005 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published March 15th 2004)
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Sep 14, 2014 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very readable (except for the Notes, see below) and interesting account of how Mexico transitioned from "a perfect dictatorship to an imperfect democracy" at the end of seventy years of single-party rule. Although the Epilogue includes observations through 2004, the climax of the book is the election of President Vicente Fox in 2000.

One thirty-page chapter covers from the time of Aztec rule to 1968, so you'll need another book or two for that period, but this is a great single-volume read for
Aug 28, 2012 Liz rated it it was amazing
I really loved this book. It's a pretty technical and in-depth look at the various forces that led to the PRI being ousted from its 72-year reign in Mexico in the 2000 elections. It shows a lot of different angles and discusses how different social, political, economic, and cultural factors came together to demand change and lead to a peaceful transfer of power.

But it was most interesting because I lived in Mexico from 1993-2000, and was in the capital of Guanajuato state when Vicente Fox (the
Sep 24, 2013 Liam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"poca politica, mucha adminstracion" (quoting Porfirio Diaz, 45)

"The symbol of this irreverent new politics [post-earthquake] was Superbarrio, a masked figure in a spangled red costume and cape, a hybrid between Superman and a show wrestler." (114)

"The DFS [federal security directorate] had stumbled into the drug business almost by accident. In 1976, after a leftist rebel group kidnapped his sister, President-elect Jose Lopez Portillo had given the DFS the authority to wipe out the insurgents by
David Gross
Jan 27, 2011 David Gross rated it really liked it
Opening Mexico does a great job of giving a one-book overview of the enormous changes in the Mexican political system in the last fifty years or so and how they came about. Mexico transformed from an impregnable, one-party, totalitarian state that controlled nearly every aspect of public life into a thriving, multi-party republic in a process that was difficult but relatively (though certainly not entirely) bloodless. It is fascinating to read about the combination of grassroots struggle and top ...more
Apr 25, 2014 Josiah rated it it was amazing
I fear I am too limited in my tastes.

I initially avoided reading this book because it didn't fit with my preference for things that somehow directly influence the world that I live in. History of of American, Western, Europe, Religion and the like.

However, I was quickly drug into the epic human drama by the painful, tragic, but darkly fascinating events of the Tlatelolco massacre in 1968. From then on, as the tale of good and evil, corruption and vice, power and dissent unfolded, I realized the
Harry Brake
Jan 05, 2016 Harry Brake added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Harry by: Mexican and American readers interested in Mexican History.
Wow. I have been accumulating and adding to my list of texts based on Mexico, this is DEFINITELY one of the best, most comprehensive, and thorough look at explaining SO MUCH. From the student protest and massacre, to the 1985 earthquake, to looking at Presidents from the very beginning up to Fox, to mounds of coverups and corruption, to the climb of becoming a democratic world representation, to the PAN, the PRI, and PRD, and that is just the BEGINNING - this is a GREAT work from two American co ...more
Apr 19, 2010 Larissa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wide-ranging survey of Mexico from the 1968 Tlatelolco massacre to Vicente Fox's historic victory in the 2000 presidential election. Both of the authors are reporters for the New York Times, and the book is an engaging and breezy overview of recent events. The central emphasis is on the gradual democratization of Mexican politics and civil society, with occasional detours for particularly outrageous episodes of corruption and scandal. This is a useful reference for modern Mexican history, which ...more
Apr 20, 2008 Bob rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Political process in Mexico of moving from a sham democracy, where the PRI held all high political offices from the President to governors of all states for 70 years, to openning up Mexico to representative democracy and the painful details of that process. What it has been like between early 20th century under a benevolant dictator to democratic elections Mexico style. I have yet to finish the book as of mid April'08
Mar 05, 2010 Chloe rated it liked it
i read this before i went abroad to mexico, which was an incredibly good decision. not many people in my program knew much about mexican history, so i felt really smart and culturally capable (for like 2 seconds).

if you ever plan on spending significant time in mexico, this is a great review of the last century.
Sep 06, 2010 Marcelle rated it liked it
Well written and interesting. Since it covers Mexican political history of the past 100 years, many people and various places are introduced. This probably prevents the book from being very gripping since you can't follow the career and life of any key figures.
John Brooke
Jul 23, 2012 John Brooke rated it really liked it
Shelves: reportage
Essential reading for anyone interested in exploring Mexico, or considering resideing there. Clear, consise rational about the political and economic realities of the last 100 years of Mexico'a trurbulent history. Recommended hightly.
Alejandro Hernández
Jan 14, 2010 Alejandro Hernández rated it really liked it
If you want the behind the scenes look at recent Mexican history, you have found your book. Essential reading for anyone who grew up in 90s Mexico and remembers all the craziness of 94, all the way to the 2000s.
Steve Van Slyke
Oct 09, 2010 Steve Van Slyke rated it it was amazing
A great book that takes the reader from the early days of the autocratic PRI to beginnings of true democracy beginning with the election of Vicente Fox of the PAN party.
Feb 13, 2013 Julia rated it really liked it
It's nice to read non-fiction from a journalist and the book focuses on modern Mexican history which is very interesting.
Jul 10, 2013 Amanda rated it it was amazing
Yes, I now know a lot more about democracy in Mexico than I used to.
Oct 13, 2012 Frances rated it really liked it
Very readable and entertaining history of Mexico in the 20th century.
Jul 08, 2008 Dee rated it really liked it
Quality historical text.
Sep 01, 2008 Philip rated it really liked it
Incredibly well written.
Polly Callahan
Aug 04, 2012 Polly Callahan rated it it was amazing
need to finish
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