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3.72  ·  Rating details ·  3,868 ratings  ·  229 reviews
Paperback, 672 pages
Published March 2nd 1994 by Fawcett Books (first published 1992)
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3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,868 ratings  ·  229 reviews

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May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mexico by James Michener is a sweeping saga of the colorful and often tumultuous history of Mexico and its people. This takes place in the fictional city of Toledo, Mexico where Norman Clay, an American journalist, comes to explore his Spanish roots as well as to report on its Festival of Ixmiq-61 and its bullfights pitting two celebrated matadors in a decisive duel; the Spaniard Victoriano executing dramatic arabesques versus Juan Gomez, the relentless little Indian. Clay reports that it is "ap ...more
Jul 11, 2017 rated it liked it
Since I have read two of Michener's other works- The Source and Poland- and found them fascinating and riveting and found Michener to be a fine writer , , I had expected something similar with Mexico.
And he certainly shows his talent for fine historical narrative in parts of the book.
Taking us through a journey into the history of Toledo, in Mexico, through the decline of a great nation of builders, through their discovery the drug, pulque found in the Maguey plant, the rebellion by a brave Alto
May 18, 2013 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
Jul 14, 2015 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
Jul 02, 2009 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
I love historical fiction and have read a great deal on Asian and African history as well as North American and European (particularly the 20th century, that is World War II). I enjoyed the movie adaptation of Hawaii and for some reason never picked up a Michener book, though I had heard many great things. I have been struggling greatly to complete the first quarter of the book which focuses on the narrator, a half-Mexican Journalist Norman Clay, who is covering a bull fight in the fictional cit ...more
Bodosika Bodosika
Sep 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: mexico
A book about the history of Mexico and the art of bullfighting... An interesting book.
Jan 14, 2014 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
Matthew Gonio
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
If you thought Hemingway could tell a bullfighting story, wait until you read this epic story.
Sep 14, 2008 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.
Giles Moustache
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2018
Ever since meeting James Michener at Liz Carpenter's house in the Westlake neighborhood of Austin where I once heard Lady Bird Johnson and Jimmy Carter sing and play the piano--I was 15 or 16 and a playmate of Carpenter's nephew--I've wanted to give Michener a try; he seemed so legendary, like the others, a relic in a good way, a walking memento of another better time, a contemporary of John Huston, which puts me in mind of some of my favorite movies of Mexico (not Mexican movies) such as Night ...more
Carolyn Parker
Jun 13, 2018 rated it liked it
You have to admire the research put into this book. I learned a lot about Mexico and it's history and more than I wanted to know about bull fights!

The fictional story used to tell these historical facts is a little slow moving. Be warned: this book is 625 pages!
Robyn Harrison
Aug 09, 2017 rated it did not like it
I didn't really read all of this book. I read the first 100 pages but it was all about bull fighting. I don't like bull fighting. I quit reading it.
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
Oct 14, 2009 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
Dec 27, 2015 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
Judi Mayer
Jul 24, 2016 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
Oct 01, 2008 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.
Camille Willis
Sep 10, 2015 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 .
Jul 26, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-past
I enjoyed reading about historical events through the lives of a few families.
Feb 05, 2016 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
Dec 06, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
James Michener was an incredible author. Regardless of whether or not you liked the majority of his work, his research that he put into his books was simply breathtaking. Not only were many of his books in excess of 800-900 pages, but those pages were packed with information. His books were not for the novice, nor could one breeze through one of his works over a mere weekend.

The majority of his books were actually about places as opposed to people. Note titles such as Alaska, Poland, Texas, Che
Feb 18, 2018 rated it it was ok
This was my “intimidates me” book for the year. It’s been sitting on my shelves for years, literally being toted around the world and throughout the US. It was one of my late grandpas favorites so I felt I owed him the honor of reading it. I did. It’s long. It started out pretty good... this is not my genre so my expectations weren’t high, but it was better than expected. But then it just got long... too long.
It’s a lot of bullfighting... it says it right on the back so that was no shock, but I’
Andrew Nease
Oct 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Yet another Michener book of the historical epic variety (and, surprisingly, despite its early sixties setting, a rather late one), Mexico has the unusual distinction of having a conventional plot in combination with the usual historical overview. Not simply a frame narrative, like in Centennial and Poland: an actual story of its own taking place in a modern if not quite contemporary context which provides a perspective on the other stories from throughout Mexican (and Spanish and American) hist ...more
Celia Kaltenbach-crotteau
I came by this book in a-dollar-a-bag booksale at a public library. It provides a purported history of the colorful neighbor south of the Rio Grande with which the U.S. enjoys an uneasy relationship in these "they'll pay for the wall" days, as seen through the eyes of a fictional journalist returning to his hometown to report on a bullfight. Michener began this book in 1961, the year he also gave for its modern setting (like many of his other novels, he used lengthy chronological flashbacks from ...more
Shana Dines
Apr 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Because I have Mexican heritage. My father was born on the border of Mexico, in Brownsville. I am very curious about my heritage. I also had my DNA done, and have a lot of Spanish ancestry. This book is very informative, although a historical novel about Clay who is a journalist and also half Mexican ancestry.
I found it a little too wordy and very bloody. I knew about the human sacrifices and bullfighting but really had to skim over some of the descriptions. I really don't know how a person co
Jul 08, 2018 rated it liked it
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Jul 08, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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Marty Greenwell
Dec 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
WOW! I thought this might be a heavy tome, with hundreds of pages related to atzec and other indigenous carvings. Wrong! The entire story centered on the fictional city of Teledo, and a present day (1961) festival about the sport of bullfighting. The story goes from the 1400s to the present and has very interesting characters in all periods. Bullfighting is exposed as a highly ritualistic, yet very athletic and scientific sport, from the team of people supporting the matador to the people who pr ...more
John II
Oct 03, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed Mexico by James Michener. His bullfighting characters and descriptions of the bullfights and bullfighting history were great. I also enjoyed the history of Mexico Michener incorporates in his book, but it was hard for me know which characters and events were fictional and which were historically accurate.
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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