Most helpful critical review
on May 31, 2003
Since I have read two of Michener's other works- The Source and Poland- and found them fascinating and riveting and found Michener to be a fine writer , , I had expected something similar with Mexico.
And he certainly shows his talent for fine historical narrative in parts of the book.
Taking us through a journey into the history of Toledo, in Mexico, through the decline of a great nation of builders, through their discovery the drug, pulque found in the Maguey plant, the rebellion by a brave Altomec Queen against the diabolic human sacrifice rites to a strange and terrible deity, the story of conquistadors and robust émigrés in Mexico from the defeated Confederacy after the American Civil War, and the reign of terror of the blood thirsty revolutionary leader General Gurza, all add to a rich tapestry.
Alas, this part of the book is far too short, and Michener spends most of the novel with an endless saga about a bullfighting tournament.
I find absolutely nothing inspiring about this unfair and cruel sport, and do not find anything in bullfighting which reminds me ' of the principles by which life should be led' as remarked by one of the characters.
The characterization in these chapters, was glossed over, and only the bullfighting tournament itself was detailed, leading to huge gaps in the book which where not interesting to read, and only read to get to the shorter more interesting ride into history. A pity because there was rich material with which to work.
Although , to be fair he does artfully put it together again , in the last chapter.