True Tales from Another Mexico: The Lynch Mob, the Popsicle Kings, Chalino, and the Bronx

True Tales from Another Mexico: The Lynch Mob, the Popsicle Kings, Chalino, and the Bronx

by Sam Quinones

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As journalist Sam Quinones convincingly demonstrates, much of Mexico was already changing before the July 2000 presidential elections which ousted the PRI and presented the world with President-elect Vincente Fox. Fox's victory marked the triumph of another Mexico, a vital, energetic, and creative Mexico tracked by Quinones for over six years.

"This side of Mexico gets very little press. . . . yet it is the best of the country. . . . people who have the spunk to imagine something else and instinctively flee the enfeebling embrace of PRI paternalism. . . . newly realistic telenovellas show the gray government censor that the country is too lively to abide his boss's dictates. . . . Some twelve million Mexicans reside year-round in the United States. . . . [so] the United States is now part of the Mexican reality and is where this other side of Mexico is often found, reinventing itself."—from the introduction.

Quinones merges keen observation with astute interviews and storytelling in his search for an authentic modern Mexico. He finds it in part in emigrants, people who use wits and imagination to strike out on their own. In poignant stories from north of the border—about Oaxacan basketball leagues in southern California and the late singing legend Chalino Sánchez whose songs of drug smugglers spurred the popularity of the narcocorrido—Quinones shows how another Mexico is reinventing itself in America today. But most of his stories are from deep inside Mexico itself. There a dynamic sector exists. It is made up of those who instinctively shunned the enfeebling embrace of the PRI's paternalism, including scrappy entrepreneurs such as the Popsicle Kings of Tocumbo and Indian migrant farmworkers who found a future in the desert of Baja California. Here, too, are true tales from ignored margins of society, including accounts of drag queens and lynchings. From the fringes of the country, Quinones suggests, emerge some of the most telling and central truths about modern Mexico and how it is changing.

"This book expands our knowledge of modern Mexico many times over. Quinones unearths a wealth of material that has in fact gone unnoticed or been hidden."—Professor Francisco Lomelí, University of California, Santa Barbara

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780826322968
Publisher: University of New Mexico Press
Publication date: 06/01/2001
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 344
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Sam Quinones lived in Mexico for ten years writing freelance for a variety of U.S. publications. In 1998 he was a recipient of the Alicia Patterson Fellowship. In 2001 he published a highly acclaimed collection of stories about contemporary Mexico, True Tales from Another Mexico: The Lynch Mob, the Popsicle Kings, Chalino, and the Bronx (UNM Press). He now lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Sheila, and daughter, Kate, and is a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times.

What People are Saying About This

Kim Robinson

Teenage drag-queen prostitutes, cholos on low-rider bicycles, Oaxacan Indian basketball players these are some of the spirited characters inhabiting the modern Mexico chronicled in journalist Sam Quinones' new book, True Tales from Another Mexico. With careful interviews and compelling descriptions, Quinones treats tabloid-style subjects with respect, unobtrusively weaving in political and class analysis of life under the oppressive weight of the corrupt PRI, the party that maintained an iron grip on power until the historic presidential election in July 2000. In Nueva Jerusalen, for example, a psychotic priest trades the community's votes for the freedom to run a lawless town.

In Huejutla, the town's frustrated populace never sees justice from its sold-out legal system which helps explain the bizarre mob lynching of two men who were falsely accused of stealing body organs. Written over the past five years, Quinones' essays also reveal that, increasingly, Mexico doesn't end at the border. Traditional corridos, or ranch music, become narcocorridos when they move to L.A. As the challenges of the Vicente Fox era emerge, Quinones demonstrates that Mexico's porous culture will be its strength, with the Mexican diaspora continuing to borrow, to adapt and to thrive.

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