OVERRIDE

Opening Mexico

The Making of a Democracy

Julia Preston and Samuel Dillon

Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The Story of Mexico's political rebirth, by two pulitzer prize-winning reporters

Opening Mexico is a narrative history of the citizens' movement which dismantled the kleptocratic one-party state that dominated Mexico in the twentieth century, and replaced it with a lively democracy. Told through the stories of Mexicans who helped make the transformation, the book gives new and gripping behind-the-scenes accounts of major episodes in Mexico's recent politics.

Mexico's Institutional Revolutionary Party, led by presidents who ruled like Mesoamerican monarchs, came to be called "the perfect dictatorship." But a 1968 massacre of student protesters by government snipers ignited the desire for democratic change in a generation of Mexicans. Opening Mexico recounts the democratic revolution that unfolded over the following three decades. It portrays clean-vote crusaders, labor organizers, human rights monitors, investigative journalists, Indian guerrillas, and dissident political leaders, such as President Ernesto Zedillo-Mexico's Gorbachev. It traces the rise of Vicente Fox, who toppled the authoritarian system in a peaceful election in July 2000.

Opening Mexico dramatizes how Mexican politics works in smoke-filled rooms, and profiles many leaders of the country's elite. It is the best book to date about the modern history of the United States' southern neighbor-and is a tale rich in implications for the spread of democracy worldwide.

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Opening Mexico
1The Day of the ChangeNo one in the Garza family got any decent sleep the night before México's presidential election on July 2, 2000.In México City, Conchalupe Garza managed to doze off now and then, but her racing mind kept waking her up in the predawn darkness with anxious questions. "Why can't this country change?" she asked herself. "Why shouldn't it change? Why can't the change happen now, today? If it doesn't happen today, how will we ever work up the energy to try for it yet again?"She had volunteered to be a poll watcher, and she lay in bed making plans for
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REVIEWS

Praise for Opening Mexico

"The emergence of a vibrant democracy in Mexico is one of the underappreciated stories of our day. Opening Mexico details the political and democratic forces that moved our southern neighbor in this new direction, to the point where Mexico is now helping to set the standard for Latin American nations on the global policy stage. This book is an important analysis for anyone serious about policy-making and international relations in Mexico and the Americas." --Mack McLarty, former White House Chief of Staff and Special Envoy for the Americas

"Opening Mexico tells the fascinating inside story of how Mexico became a multi-party democracy after seven decades of single-party rule. Julia Preston and Samuel Dillon, two of America's finest investigative journalists, recount the events that transformed Mexican politics and strengthened democratic momentum at a crucial moment in the history of Latin America. Opening Mexico is indispensable reading for those seeking an understanding of contemporary Mexico and would be a valuable addition to the library of any student of how political power is used, abused or changed." --Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State

"Julia and Sam have produced one of the most important books on Mexico since the publication of Alan Riding’s Distant Neighbors nearly twenty years ago. It is a clear reminder to U.S. policy makers of why America needs to remain engaged with the destiny of its Southern neighbor, and a superb introduction to Mexico for all those who simply want to get to know, and understand, a fascinating country." --Jorge Castaneda, former Foreign Minister of Mexico

"This fascinating book is not the expedition of curious analysts into the archives and clippings of a country at change; it is the effort of two journalists to give their own version and cast lights on the shadows of a country full of secrets, untold stories and hidden compartments." --Adolfo Aguilar Zinser, writer Independent politician and former Ambassador of Mexico to the United Nations

"Opening Mexico takes us on a wonderfully humane and insightful journey, chock full of vividly portrayed villains and heroes, that brings to life Mexico's own troubled, triumphant journey toward a functioning democracy. Preston and Dillon introduce us to the worst and 0 best of humanity, locked in an historic struggle of entrenched privilege versus individual liberty. This book is a great read for all Americans who are curious about our awakening southern neighbor." --Richard Feinberg, Director, APEC Study Center, University of California, San Diego

"Americans who think of Mexico as principally an illegal immigration problem will have their eyes opened--and their minds changed--by this story of the heroic struggle Mexicans waged for more than three decades to finally bring democracy to their beautiful, but wounded land. Opening Mexico recounts the repression, violence, corruption, and inertia inherent in nearly a century of one-party rule. These roadblocks on the path to free elections were gradually overcome by students, intellectuals, journalists, opposition politicians, and even a few working quietly from within the ruling clique. Their crusade culminated with the election of opposition leader Vicente Fox in July 2000, opening a promising new century for Mexico." --Shirley Christian, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting, 1981

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Julia Preston and Samuel Dillon

  • Julia Preston and Samuel Dillon were The New York Times Mexico bureau chiefs from 1995 to 2000. Along with two other reporters, they won a Pulitzer Prize in 1998 for their coverage of Mexico's narcotics underworld.
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    Opening Mexico

    The Making of a Democracy

    Julia Preston and Samuel Dillon

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