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Mexican Lives

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  109 Ratings  ·  17 Reviews
On the eve of the most significant trade agreement in recent Mexico-U.S. history, Judith Adler Hellman, a leading authority on Mexican politics, went into the homes and workplaces of a variety of Mexicans, from rich industrialists to poor street vendors. In bringing us their stories, Hellman puts a human face on the political and economic transformation currently under way ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 1st 1995 by The New Press (first published May 1st 1994)
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Mar 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
An excellent, short read about several different types of Mexicans (business owners, farm owners, seamstresses, psychics, etc.) and how they live their lives, hence the title of the book. Each chapter is a different character’s story about how that person lives in Mexican society and how he or she gets by in the inner workings of the economy. The stories are very real and describes how wealthy and poor, simultaneously, the country is and how because of this, each person utilizes different strate ...more
Sarah Donovan
Jul 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book for anyone seeking to better understand the economic crisis and other forces that resulted in the massive wave of Latino immigrants into the United States in the last two decades. You'll learn a lot, but I promise you won't feel like you're back in school because it is a great read!
Jill Logan
Mar 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
Oh wow. If there is any question in your mind about why Mexicans illegally immigrate to the U.S. or hardness in your heart about them doing so, then PLEASE read this book. It's a bit academic in places, but it's moving in many more.
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is an interesting book, and the individual approach gave a very different view of the situation. Obviously it’s a bit out of date by now and all kinds of changes likely have occurred, but there is a great deal here I felt I should have been familiar with and wasn’t.
Jul 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is mainly interviews with Mexicans ranging from day laborers to border runners to factory owners, written immediately before the passage of NAFTA. The treaty is feared to mute the voice of the individual in favor of corporate giants, and, well, shit I guess that came true.

I read this before I went to rural Mexico for a week to try to understand the life I would encounter. The book describes Mexico as a system that favors powerful patronage, one that event subsumes socialist labor movem
Dorothee Lang
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
The book is a collection of different life stories from different corners of Mexican society. Every story adds to a larger, more complex picture. The 15 life reports of Mexican men and women, from worker to street merchant to farmer to factory owner are based on longer interviews, and the book also includes chapters on the historical background, the political system, and the agricultural and rural development in Mexico.

It was a fascinating read, especially the contrasts and parallels of the lif
Sep 25, 2016 rated it liked it
I am very interested in Mexican culture and history, so this book caught my eye as I was browsing in a small independent bookstore last week. This is basically a collection of field interviews with Mexicans from all walks of life, conducted by a Canadian poli sci professor, in the early 90s. It captures a unique slice in time--the time after Mexico entered the GATT, but before NAFTA came into effect, before the internet, and before the so-called "war on drugs."
Mar 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Hellman explores the lives of particular individuals, and intersperses chapters on economic and historical realities with the chapters on those individuals. So, the reader comes away with an idea about the lives of people on all levels of the social classes, and with a sense of how the larger world (both US and Mexico) helped create those lives. A powerful and moving book.
Remington Krueger
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent work that utilizes numerous interviews to paint a broad picture of the economic burdens placed on Mexicans by the GATT and NAFTA from the 1980s into the 1990s. A great read for anyone wanting to understand the more recent influence the US and Canada have had on Mexico's economy. This comes through in the book through the many personal stories of Hellman's interviewees.
Jul 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in college. I regret selling it back to the bookstore. If you really want to know what life is like in Mexico, read this Canadian sociologist's account of the lives of various Mexicans, from the family that owns a factory and finds itself competing more and more with China to the woman who buys used T-shirts in Laredo and sells them in el D.F.
Aug 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Very good book containing true accounts from a handful of struggling Mexicans. Will give a whole new outlook on what many have to overcome living in Mexico and the reason for their immigration to the US.
Benjamin Plume
Jul 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Perspective that many could probably use.
Apr 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Somewhat repetitive but an enlightening look at problems Mexicans have been facing since the return of liberalism and the passing of NAFTA.
Mar 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Terrific....however, I am biased as Judith Hellman is my absolute favourite professor ever.
Jan 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A dense, but accessible collection of adapted interviews that are able to illustrate the suffering caused by neoliberal exploitation on a human level.
Oct 12, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: mexico
Some fascinating people, but the work does not cohere.
Dec 08, 2008 rated it liked it
Great book on how NAFTA impacted Mexico
Reid Craig
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