by Timothy J. Henderson
New York: Hill and Wang, 2009. Pp. xxiii, 246.
Illus., maps, chron., notes, biblio., index. $16.00 paper. ISBN: 978-0-8090-6923-
Prof Henderson (Auburn), also the author of A Glorious Defeat: Mexico and Its War with the United States
, fills a major void in the historiography of the Americas by giving us a well-written, comprehensive English account of Mexico’s protracted (1810-1821) and complex struggle for independence from Spain.
Henderson opens with a look at Mexico under Spanish rule, including a very good discussion of the complex caste system that dominated every aspect of life in the colony. He then looks at the stresses within Mexico and the Spanish Empire that, during the Napoleonic Wars, would lead to the revolution. Henderson then follows the unfolding of the revolution, braiding a discussion of the personalities, politics, and events of its several phases, to include events in Spain, that brought, after years of struggle and great loss of life, independence under a short-lived imperial regime. He concludes by observing that the protracted struggle for Mexican independence set the stage not so much for the peaceful evolution of the newly sovereign nation as for the generations of inner turmoil that resonate to the present.
An important book for anyone interested in the history of the Americas.