Books of Regional Interest: Drug Cartels, Tassel-Eared Squirrels, Bee Keeping, Golf, and National Parks

Manana Forever? Mexico and the Mexicans by Jorge G. Castaneda (Alfred A. Knopf, $27.95)Jorge G. Castaneda was Mexico’s foreign minister from 2000 to 2003. He currently is a member of the board of Human Rights Watch and a Global Distinguished Professor of Politics and Latin American Studies at New York University.In this insightful and provocative new book, the renowned scholar sheds much light on the puzzling paradoxes of his native country. Why, for example, are Mexicans so successful in individual sports but deficient in team play? Why do they hate living in skyscrapers and why is there so much violence in a country where so many of its people traditionally avoid conflict? The author also explores the rather complicated relationship between Mexico and its neighbor to the north including the fact that despite its resentment of foreigners, it is host of more American expatriates than any other country in the world.Castaneda’s narrative is crisply written. The text is accessible, lively, and meticulously researched. Even though there seems to be some pessimism in his arguments, there is also hope in this compelling portrait of a nation at a crossroads.

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