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3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,144 Ratings  ·  185 Reviews
Pulitzer Prize–winning author James A. Michener, whose novels hurtle from the far reaches of history to the dark corners of the world, paints an intoxicating portrait of a land whose past and present are as turbulent, fascinating, and colorful as any other on Earth. When an American journalist travels to report on the upcoming duel between two great matadors, he is ultimat ...more
Paperback, 672 pages
Published March 2nd 1994 by Fawcett (first published 1992)
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Historical Fiction set in Latin America
22nd out of 88 books — 78 voters

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Community Reviews

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Aug 26, 2015 Bobbi rated it really liked it
OK I finished this blasted book. I'm giving it 4 stars out of deference to Michener who was a good man and a more than respectable story-teller and he gave several million dollars to UT-Austin.
But this book was too #($&)@# long, dammit. Where are the editors? In fact, toward the end I started noting repetitive passages where I would have cut out the fat. I started reading objectively like an editor and that's not a good sign
It's a shame because there's a lot of good here too, and I learned s
Sep 10, 2009 J.R. rated it liked it
Despite my affection for Michener, I have to say I was disappointed in this book. It has the wrong title, is too long and he fictionalized in areas where I felt truth would have made it a stronger novel.

As I noted in my review of his My Lost Mexico, I don’t know how or why I neglected this book in the past. In My Lost Mexico Michener explains how he began the novel, abandoned it for 30 years and then returned to write what became another of his bestsellers. I don’t think the end result was the b
Jan 25, 2014 Bonnie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
How I felt about that book varied from section to section. Ironically, the parts I liked best were the modern (or near modern since they were set in 1961) parts concerning bullfighting, of all things. I have never been interested in the sport, but these parts were so interesting that, paraphrasing what King Agrippa said to the Apostle Paul, "almost thou persuadest me to see a bullfight". BUT King Agrippa never became Christian and I have no intention of seeing a bullfight. Four stars for these p ...more
Dec 27, 2015 Candice rated it liked it
Had to agree with some other reviewers with the opinion that this book needed some serious editing. Little things, and also the entire chapter on the Civil War. Although it was useful to know the historical motivation behind the rebel ex-pats settling in Mexico, a few paragraphs could have done it. I went to Mexico and was hoping for a better overview of the country and culture, which as I recall I got more of 50 years ago when I moved to Hawaii and read his novel Hawaii, but this was more of a ...more
Oct 18, 2009 Corey rated it liked it
I tried reading a James Michener book a few years ago, "Alaska". It remains one of the very few books I've begun but not completed (the list is a handful at most). The man is wordy and long winded. Half way through "Alaska" I couldn't take any more and had to put it down and walk away.

Maybe I'll have to try it again after reading "Mexico". "Mexico" was actually quite good. A story about a fictional town, family, indigenous culture and bull-fighting festival, it was a whirl-wind through time and
Juliet Doubledee
I enjoyed this book as it describes a journalist (Norman Clay) coming to terms with his Mexican and American heritage during an epic show-down between two matadors in the bullring in his hometown in Mexico. Michener does a great job descibing the world of bull fighting, while intertwining his interpretation of Mexican history from the indian culture through the migration of American ex-patrioits arriving just after the U.S. CivilWar.
The book begins very well and keeps the interest of the reader
Camille Willis
Sep 10, 2015 Camille Willis rated it really liked it
Mexico was so interesting . I learned about the makeup of the people and the way Michener tied in bull fighting was very intriguing . I came away with a feeling of appreciation for the rite itself which I did not expect .
May 18, 2013 JP rated it it was amazing
I read most of this book during my first week in Mexico. It explains the unique culture of Mexico through the combined histories of its native and Spanish peoples. It relies heavily on the art of bullfighting as a metaphor. It's more captivating than others of his works I've read. I especially appreciate that, for once, the moral that always comes in the last 50 pages was more personal (involving the narrator, who resembles Michener, acting on his own inspiration). Now I just need to catch mysel ...more
Feb 05, 2016 Dr.J.G. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
October 15, 2008
This is temporary I hope - I haven't finished this yet, partly due to an unwillingness to go on to watch a bullfight even on paper, what with the very evocative writings of this author.

He truly brings alive the history of the continent, of the indigenous and their encounters with the invading marauders who assumed supremacy due to colour and size, the change over from a once flourishing civilization that not much is known now about, to one in constant state of flux with various
Nov 18, 2015 Deb rated it liked it
Being a fan of historical fiction, I like James Michener's stories. This one was good but not one of Michener's best. There were very interesting parts as Michener tells the story of an American journalist who travels to Mexico to cover the story between two rival bullfighters and to study his own family history. In his search for his roots, he discovers an Indian Queen, a conquistador priest and a Confederate expatriate in his tree. This tale unfolds Mexico's dramatic and brutal history. Mexico ...more
Aug 02, 2015 Danny rated it liked it
What I really wish is that each time I read a new Michener book I could have no memory,(actually am on the way there) of the writing style he repeatedly uses in many of his books. This book uses his same method of recounting the history of several families thru several generations to give a synopsis of the history of Mexico.
I am glad that I read his book 'Texas' when I did, before we visited that state many years ago. It remains my favorite Michener book. But after reading several of his books
Jan 01, 2016 Armando rated it it was ok
Palafox seed bulls imported to Palafox ranch by Palafox men to breed with Palafox cows and sire Palafox fighting bulls for the glory of the Palafox family, as seen on display at Palafox museum... Palafox, Palafox, Palafox, Palafox....

Understanding that this book is as much a fictional history of Clay's Mexican roots as it is of Mexico itself, Normal Clay is too absorbed in the "specialness" of his own family. This w0uld be fine except Michener's protagonist claims that the entire history of Mexi
Sep 14, 2008 LaRae rated it really liked it
I have always enjoyed historical fiction and Michener is my favorite author. When I travel I like to find one of his books to help me appreciate the culture I will be visiting. Since I was sending time on the beach in Mexico, this book was perfect! I gained a greater respect for this country, its history, and its people.
Marjie Smith
Jan 03, 2015 Marjie Smith rated it it was amazing
James Michener uses the lens of bullfighting to get a look at the history and culture of Mexico and the inequalities that have developed between those of Spanish lineage and the Indians. Two bullfighters, one of Spanish descent and one Indian, are the highlight act in a big bullfight that is a yearly event. In building up to the fight, the narrator, through his own mixed heritage, part Spanish, part Mexican and part American, gives the history of the Mexican people and how life changed under the ...more
Oct 01, 2008 Alexis rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. The plot line was very interesting, but the writing was great. He was able to weave in so many different stories, and do it in a cohesive, fascinating way. I will definately read more books by Michener.
This is an interesting book, but long. Michener did a series of faux histories like this one on other places in the world - Hawaii and Alaska for example. The premise of this is an American Journalist comes back to his home town (Toledo in the book but mostly Guanajuato based on the history) and using the premise of a bull fight tournament which matches two important toreros he tells a history of Mexico that has some truth in it. He contrasts the Spanish and Indian themes of Mexican history and ...more
This was another book of his that I haven't finished. I tried, but I don't appreciate the art of killing bulls in a bullfight. I'm an animal lover and couldn't get past the cruelty of this type of entertainment. The matador being the hero? Not in my mind. In my opinion, if you don't mind bullfights, the book is good. Maybe even very good. It just wasn't for me.

I read many of the reviews after I made my above review. There sure is a wide variety of readers loving it to hating it! I will add that
Nov 03, 2011 Dinah rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-past
I enjoyed reading about historical events through the lives of a few families.
Dec 20, 2014 Billy rated it really liked it
'Mexico' follows the story of a bull-fighting festival in the fictional town of Toledo, Mexico. Much of the action takes place in and around the central plaza of the town, using the motifs of the Pyramid, the Cathedral, the bull-ring, and a Spanish Colonial hotel called the House of Tile, to tell its stories. Some of the stories are told in flashback and take us to Spain during the Inquisition, Virginia during the Civil War, and a pseudo-Aztec era at Toledo's Pyramid. There's also a lengthy stor ...more
Jun 24, 2010 J rated it really liked it
Shelves: latin-america
I have never read any of Michener's books. I was also warned that, "Mexico" is not one of his better books - not only by friends but from reviews I checked out here on Good reads.

That said, I think this is a great book. Moreover, if this is one of his not-so-good reads then, I am definitely picking up "Alaska," "Texas," and "Hawaii."

Michener's depth of knowledge is incredible. I have never read anything like it. Since one of my degrees is History with an emphasis on border studies, I found this
Mar 29, 2015 Jackie rated it really liked it
Shelves: michener
Michener did what he always does for me: Daunts me at first, with the sheer number of pages, but quickly draws me in. This novel, presented as a fictional history of sorts, tells the tale of the (fictional) 1961 festival of Ixmiq, which takes place in the (fictional) city of Toledo, Mexico. Along the way, Michener's protagonist, Norman Clay, provides us with the (fictional) history of his own ancestry, as it relates to the founding and growth of Toledo--first populated by the (fictional) Altomec ...more
Jan 24, 2013 Michelle rated it liked it
I read Mexico awhile ago (c. 2006), but reading down the reviews here on Goodreads refreshed my memory enough to say this: I really enjoyed the book for awhile, but as it wore on I liked it less and less, and I'm pretty sure by the end I thought it was a bit ridiculous in parts. The thing I usually like about his writing is that although fiction he weaves in enough history and cultural truth to make his stories plausible. That style really sucks me into a story line and makes the story come aliv ...more
Gary Burke
May 02, 2013 Gary Burke rated it did not like it
I haven't read Michener for quite a while, but I remember enjoying his works when I was a teenager. The first book of his that I read, "The Source", changed the way I perceived books and how exciting they could be. I read the 1000+ pages in 3 days! Not bad, for a teenager. So when I saw a copy of "Mexico" at the local library's annual book sale, I thought I'd try him again.

I have to say that I am finding it difficult to get into the story, which, so far. is about about a rivalry between two mata
Nov 24, 2008 Dale rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michael Schmid
I first started reading this book last year and gave up on page 34 as I did not find it that interesting and I needed to keep track of too many details in the story. The book is about a reporter sent to a fictional town in Mexico to cover a bullfighting event and thus includes many details and descriptions about bullfighting, but also about the history and background of the reporter who has ancient Mexican, Spanish and American ancestors. Therefore the book also includes many historical referenc ...more
Jan 09, 2015 Diane rated it did not like it
This is the weakest Michener I have read. The opposite end of the spectrum from his masterpiece Hawaii. Everything is weaker -- the multi generation sagas, the settings, characters. He uses imaginative Indian peoples and Mexican cities rather than put the research into the real ones and attempts to tie everything together with a bullfight plot line running through the entire tome like it was THE major component of Mexican culture instead of the tiny aspect it now is. It is terribly repetitive an ...more
Jul 11, 2014 Randy rated it really liked it
Epic, multiple generational novel that weaves the history of Mexico through the eyes of a modern day protagonist with both Mexican and American ancestry.
Except for the occasional wordiness and confusing digressions, Michener creates an engaging story, full of human drama within the background of Spanish, Mexican, and Indian history while educating the reader on the competitiveness, traditions, and passions of bullfighting.
A long novel worth reading.
Mark Coates
Jan 11, 2012 Mark Coates rated it liked it
I'll start off by agreeing that there is alot about bullfighting in this book. However, it isn't simply bullfighting. It tells the story of Mexico itself. This is my first Michener book, so I don't have anything to compare it to. The book does start off a little slow and there are definitely some slow parts throughout the book, but it all comes together at the end. I do wish that that the book talked about the other locations in Mexico other than Toledo. While I can say that I learned alot about ...more
Judi Mayer
Jul 24, 2016 Judi Mayer rated it it was amazing
I have read all of James Michener's books - all while he was still living so quite a while ago. Mexico and Texas were two of my favorites. All of his books are slow starters in that there is a lot of detail about the place and characters as they evolve but they are wonderful stories of both the people and the geography that shaped them. I have read that personally he was very fond of the southwest, particularly Texas
Sep 22, 2009 Alison rated it liked it
Michener was assigned for my graduate Geography in Literature course, I chose Mexico which is apparently one of the easiest to digest. It was a bit daunting to carry home a dictionary-sized book, but it was actually a fairly quick read.

To be straight, Michener is not a good writer. As my teacher put it, he's the best author that never got an editor. He has a lot of good ideas, but he also has plenty of boring and lame ones. He's a rambling man, and Mexico would have been better with half the num
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James Albert Michener is best known for his sweeping multi-generation historical fiction sagas, usually focusing on and titled after a particular geographical region. His first novel, Tales of the South Pacific , which inspired the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific, won the 1948 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.

Toward the end of his life, he created the Journey Prize, awarded annually for t
More about James A. Michener...

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