La Capital

Jonathan Kandell

Read December 2002

An entertaining history of the capital city of Mexico, written by a journalist raised there. By virtue of its subject, it serves secondarily as a history of the modern country, too. An easy read that has enough footnotes to keep an amateur scholar satisfied. The book does suffer from Kandell's all-too-trusting acceptance of accounts such as Bernal Diaz's (which he justifies with fairly tortured logic). Also, the contemporary history of Mexico is too sensationalistic, weakening the book's end. The index is a let-down, especially in contrast to the endnotes.

[Supplement: Having just returned (January 2003) from Mexico (City), I recommend the book even more highly. It was superb background reading for what I saw there.]