The most recommended books about Mexico

Who picked these books? Meet our 217 experts.

217 authors created a book list connected to Mexico, and here are their favorite Mexico books.
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Book cover of The Death of Artemio Cruz

Alejandro Quintana Ph.D. Author Of Pancho Villa: A Biography

From my list on biographies of the Mexican Revolution.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Mexico listening to my father´s stories about the Mexican revolution. His storytelling abilities drew me in as he described his childhood memories and those of his father, who lived through the revolution. That's why I became a historian writing about the Mexican Revolution with a preference for biographies. As the Latin Americanist historian at St. John's University in New York City, I've written two books: Maximino Avila Camacho and the One Party State, Pancho Villa: A Biography, and edited A Brief History of Mexico by Lynn V. Foster. I hope you enjoy the list of books on significant personalities that shaped the first major social revolution of the twentieth century.

Alejandro's book list on biographies of the Mexican Revolution

Alejandro Quintana Ph.D. Why did Alejandro love this book?

This book is one of my all-time favorites. The Death of Artemio Cruz is a historical novel by one of the most acclaimed literary figures of the Spanish language, Carlos Fuentes. It is a captivating narrative of intertwined memories experienced by Cruz while on his deathbed; this novel is a harsh condemnation of the post-revolutionary political class. It shows the path of idealist revolutionaries becoming corrupt politicians once in power. While a work of fiction, the book describes real corrupt and abusive attitudes and straight-out crimes committed by numerous revolutionary leaders turned politicians. There were many Artemio Cruz among the revolution leaders, which helps explain why the revolution failed to achieve real social change. 

By Carlos Fuentes, Alfred MacAdam (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Death of Artemio Cruz as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the novel opens, Artemio Cruz, the all-powerful newspaper magnate and land baron, lies confined to his bed and, in dreamlike flashes, recalls the pivotal episodes of his life. Carlos Fuentes manipulates the ensuing kaleidoscope of images with dazzling inventiveness, layering memory upon memory, from Cruz's heroic campaigns during the Mexican Revolution, through his relentless climb from poverty to wealth, to his uneasy death. Perhaps Fuentes's masterpiece, The Death of Artemio Cruz is a haunting voyage into the soul of modern Mexico.


Book cover of The Cartel

John Houle Author Of The Siberian Candidate

From my list on political thrillers that teach you about real world events.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was a political consultant for much of the first half of my nearly 30-year career in communications. Having run statewide and local political campaigns, I experienced many of the personalities I write about today. What is behind the political decisions elected leaders make? Can you truly be a dedicated public servant in politics today? If you only play to win, how do you keep from becoming your own worst enemy? My writing and the works I gravitate towards explore these challenging issues, which are as prevalent today as they were analyzed by the Greeks, Shakespeare, and 20th-century writers.

John's book list on political thrillers that teach you about real world events

John Houle Why did John love this book?

Having read the series out of order, The Cartel was my first Winslow book. His story was so captivating that I needed to go back and read how it all started.

The fact that I could start with The Cartel without having read the origin story is an example of Winslow’s talent. The Cartel is a great stand-alone story, made even better when its two companion books are added together. Winslow has developed compelling characters, and it's enjoyable to watch how they evolve and face new challenges.

By Don Winslow,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Cartel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestselling second novel in the explosive Power of the Dog series—an action-filled look at the drug trade that takes you deep inside a world riddled with corruption, betrayal, and bloody revenge.

Book Two of the Power of the Dog Series

It’s 2004. Adán Barrera, kingpin of El Federación, is languishing in a California federal prison. Ex-DEA agent Art Keller passes his days in a monastery, having lost everything to his thirty-year blood feud with the drug lord. Then Barrera escapes. Now, there’s a two-million-dollar bounty on Keller’s head and no one else capable of taking Barrera…


Book cover of Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos

Karlin Gray Author Of Anne and Her Tower of Giraffes

From my list on picture-book biographies for young animal lovers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write picture-book biographies and my latest book focuses on the first giraffologist, Dr. Anne Innis Dagg. While researching this book, I learned about so many people who have dedicated their lives to studying and protecting animals. Almost always, their love of wildlife began in childhood. So why not inspire young animal lovers today with true stories about people who share their passion for wildlife?

Karlin's book list on picture-book biographies for young animal lovers

Karlin Gray Why did Karlin love this book?

I like biographies that approach a subject from a different angle and this book does that by focusing on the animals that influenced Frida Kahlo. By witnessing Frida’s relationships with her pets—a parrot, eagle, fawn, cat, dogs, turkeys, monkeys—kids will get to know Frida and learn how she became one of the world’s most beloved artists despite several challenges. The back matter explains that the artist often included her pets in her work. So when readers of this biography encounter one of Kahlo’s animalito paintings (perhaps in a museum or in another book), they will delight in recognizing Frida’s furry and feathered friends. A wonderful way to introduce kids to an artist’s work!

By Monica Brown, John Parra (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Pura Belpré Illustrator Honor 2018
ALA Notable Children's Book 2018
New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2017
Barnes & Noble Best Book of 2017
Smithsonian Top Ten Best Children's Book of 2017
2018 Bank Street Best Children's Book of the Year

Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos, written by Monica Brown and illustrated by John Parra, is based on the life of one of the world's most influential painters, Frida Kahlo, and the animals that inspired her art and life. 

The fascinating Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is remembered for her self-portraits, her dramatic works featuring bold…


Book cover of South to Freedom: Runaway Slaves to Mexico and the Road to the Civil War

Ann Marie Jackson Author Of The Broken Hummingbird

From my list on Americans learning to live in Mexico.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am fascinated by the places where cultures intersect and the means by which they do so. I am an American lucky to live in gorgeous San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, and previously in Hirakata, Japan; Shanghai, China; Suva, Fiji; and Oxford, England. Each move entailed a challenging but rewarding effort to absorb a new set of unwritten societal rules. A great way to grow is to immerse yourself in the unknown and have things you took for granted about how the world works suddenly come into question. Another is to learn from those who have gone before us, so I am delighted to share these wonderful books with you.

Ann's book list on Americans learning to live in Mexico

Ann Marie Jackson Why did Ann love this book?

South to Freedom tells the relatively unknown story of Americans who moved to Mexico for the most existential of reasons: to flee slavery in the 1840s-1850s.

Although Mexico has its own history of slavery, it abolished that evil earlier than the United States did, and this book provides accounts of Mexican officials and ordinary citizens risking their lives to protect fugitive slaves from pursuing slaveholders.

Southern states believed that annexing Texas and invading Mexico would ensure slavery's continuation, but as Baumgartner shows, those actions were instead among the proximate causes of the Civil War. Baumgartner’s important book enhances the sanitized version of Civil War history I learned in school and sheds light on this noble aspect of Mexican history.

By Alice L. Baumgartner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked South to Freedom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A "gripping and poignant" (Wall Street Journal) account of the coming of the American Civil War, showing the crucial role of slaves who escaped to Mexico

The Underground Railroad to the North promised salvation to many American slaves before the Civil War. But thousands of people in the south-central United States escaped slavery not by heading north but by crossing the southern border into Mexico, where slavery was abolished in 1837.

In South to Freedom, prize-winning historian Alice L. Baumgartner tells the story of why Mexico abolished slavery and how its increasingly radical antislavery policies fueled the sectional crisis in…


Book cover of Dead Mountain

Joan Hall Author Of Cold Dark Night: Legends of Madeira

From my list on mystery and suspense…with a bit of legends and folklore.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always enjoyed mystery and suspense stories—Agatha Christie and Mary Higgins Clark being two of my all-time favorite authors. Throw in some legends and folklore, and I’m hooked. I like well-crafted stories that keep me turning the pages. Those that stump me in figuring out the mystery are a plus for me. I love books with descriptive settings that place me, as the reader, in the heart of the action.

Joan's book list on mystery and suspense…with a bit of legends and folklore

Joan Hall Why did Joan love this book?

Real-life mysteries intrigue me, and one of the strangest unsolved cases involved a group of nine Soviet hikers in the area known as Dyatlov Pass. Preston and Child took this story, set it in the mountains of New Mexico, and weaved an enticing tale that kept me turning the pages and guessing right up to the end.

This is the fourth book of their Nora Kelly series, but it can easily be read as a stand-alone. 

By Douglas Preston, Lincoln Child,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Dead Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 2008, nine mountaineers failed to return from a winter backpacking trip in the New Mexico mountains. At their last campsite, searchers found a bizarre scene: something had appeared at the door of their tent so terrifying that it impelled them to slash their way out and flee barefoot to certain death in a blizzard. Despite a diligent search, only six bodies were found, three violently crushed and missing eyes and tongues. The case, given the code name “Dead Mountain” by the FBI, was never solved.
 
Now, two more bodies from the lost expedition are unexpectedly discovered in a cave,…


Book cover of Mexican Gothic

D.L. (Destiny) Soria Author Of Thief Liar Lady

From my list on fantasy by Latine authors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a half-Mexican author who grew up in a tiny Alabama town, where I spent my summers playing with sticks in the woods and exploring such distinguished careers as Forest Bandit, Wayward Orphan, and Woodland Fairy Princess. After college, I ran away to New Zealand for seven months and only pretended to be a character from Lord of the Rings on special occasions. Nowadays, I live and work in South Carolina with my clingy (and, unfortunately, non-magical) cat. 

D.L.'s book list on fantasy by Latine authors

D.L. (Destiny) Soria Why did D.L. love this book?

I’ve always loved a good Gothic novel, but Moreno-Garcia raised the bar with this book.

Part mystery, part romance, part haunted house story—this novel runs the gamut from eerie to enchanting. The menacing secrets of High Place, set against the backdrop of glamorous 1950s Mexico, drew me into an intriguing plot that was as captivating as it was frightening. 

By Silvia Moreno-Garcia,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Mexican Gothic as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The award-winning author of Gods of Jade and Shadow (one of the 100 best fantasy novels of all time, TIME magazine) returns with a mesmerising feminist Gothic fantasy, in which a glamorous young socialite discovers the haunting secrets of a beautiful old mansion in 1950s Mexico.

He is trying to poison me. You must come for me, Noemi. You have to save me.

When glamorous socialite Noemi Taboada receives a frantic letter from her newlywed cousin begging to be rescued from a mysterious doom, it's clear something is desperately amiss. Catalina has always had a flair for the dramatic, but…


Book cover of Surgery and Salvation: The Roots of Reproductive Injustice in Mexico, 1770-1940

Nora Jaffary Author Of Reproduction and Its Discontents in Mexico: Childbirth and Contraception from 1750 to 1905

From my list on unearthing abortion’s hidden history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began gathering stories about pregnancy and its avoidance in Mexican archives twenty-five years ago when I was working on my dissertation on religious history. This topic fascinated me because it was central to the preoccupations of so many women I knew, and it seemed to present a link to past generations. But as I researched, I also realized that radical differences existed between the experiences and attitudes of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Mexican women and the concerns, practices, and understandings of my own period that I had assumed were timeless and unchanging. For me, this was a liberating discovery. 

Nora's book list on unearthing abortion’s hidden history

Nora Jaffary Why did Nora love this book?

Elizabeth O’Brien narrates the unexamined history of obstetrical surgery in Mexico, beginning with the late colonial history of the Catholic-directed emergence of a mandate to perform caesarean sections on dying or dead women to access and baptise fetuses before to ensure their eternal salvation. O’Brien then treats various groups, medical procedures, institutions, and events delineating the conflicted history of obstetrical care through the 1930s.

The episodes are fascinating and disturbing and include such instances as the 1901 riot of a group of women forcibly confined to Hospital Morelos for suspected venereal infection and a new medical procedure–“vaginal bifurcation”—a medical student designed in 1932 to allow for the temporary sterilization of pregnant women deemed imperfect reproducers.

By Elizabeth Aislinn O'Brien,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Surgery and Salvation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this sweeping history of reproductive surgery in Mexico, Elizabeth O'Brien traces the interstices of religion, reproduction, and obstetric racism from the end of the Spanish empire through the post-revolutionary 1930s. Examining medical ideas about operations (including cesarean section, abortion, hysterectomy, and eugenic sterilization), Catholic theology, and notions of modernity and identity, O'Brien argues that present-day claims about fetal personhood are rooted in the use of surgical force against marginalized and racialized women. This history illuminates the theological, patriarchal, and epistemological roots of obstetric violence and racism today.

O'Brien illustrates how ideas about maternal worth and unborn life developed in…


Book cover of Lucia the Luchadora

Manuel Antonio Morán Author Of The Colors of Frida

From my list on books that are perfect for your kids during Hispanic Heritage Month.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a part of Teatro SEA,  promoting and strengthening the cultural identity of young latiné audiences is the main focus of our mission and everyone who works there. We have been around since 1985 as SEA (Society of the Educational Arts, Inc.) and are the premiere Bilingual Arts-in-Education Organization and Latino Children’s Theatre in the United States. We create and produce a combination of educational theater, in-school multidisciplinary arts instruction programs, art & cultural festivals/ events, online educational programming, and Theater Books, all intended to raise self-esteem, strengthen cultural identity, and provide educational advancement for our community of latiné children and youth. 

Manuel's book list on books that are perfect for your kids during Hispanic Heritage Month

Manuel Antonio Morán Why did Manuel love this book?

One thing I will never get tired of are books about girl power!

What I love so much about this book is its focus on a young girl chasing her dreams of being a Luchadora, which traditionally has been a male-dominated sport. I have a soft spot in my heart for books that encourage young women to go after their dreams despite whatever preconceived gender notions they may have. End then you set it in the world of Lucha Libre–forget about it!  

By Cynthia Leonor Garza, Alyssa Bermudez (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lucia the Luchadora as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Lucía the Luchadora named one of the Best Books of 2017 by NPR, Kirkus Reviews, Chicago Public Library and more! Lucía zips through the playground in her cape just like the boys, but when they tell her "girls can't be superheroes," suddenly she doesn't feel so mighty. That's when her beloved abuela reveals a dazzling secret: Lucía comes from a family of luchadoras, the bold and valiant women of the Mexican lucha libre tradition. Cloaked in a flashy new disguise, Lucía returns as a recess sensation! But when she's confronted with a case of injustice, Lucía must decide if she…


Book cover of Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry

Janet Sternburg Author Of Janet Sternburg - I've Been Walking

From my list on discovering how to see.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a writer and a late-life fine arts photographerFor eight years I had been writing a book set in the personal and historical past. I would sit at the computer, shut my eyes, and say to myself, “Go deeper.” Eventually, I was able to recall long-forgotten details. When I looked up from those years of writing, the memoir, entitled Phantom Limb, was finished and being published. However, I discovered that I could no longer see – really see – what was around me. Along the way, I had lost that alert attention to the way light falls, to colors that used to hit me between the eyes. I felt the loss deeply. I’ve always loved to look. I had to do something to summon it back.

Janet's book list on discovering how to see

Janet Sternburg Why did Janet love this book?

In order to retrieve my sense of seeing in the present, I went to my second home in Mexico, read a little each morning, and then went walking without any destination. This is the book I was reading those mornings in Mexico, before my walks. It may seem odd to start with a book about poetry, but this one opened the gate to seeing and to taking my first photograph.

By Jane Hirschfield,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nine Gates as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A Gate Enables passage between what is inside and what is outside, and the connection poetry forges between inner and outer lives is the fundamental theme of these nine essays.

Nine Gates begins with a close examination of the roots of poetic craft in "the mind of concentration" and concludes by exploring the writer's role in creating a sense of community that is open, inclusive and able to bind the individual and the whole in a way that allows each full self-expression. in between, Nine Gates illumines the nature of originality, translation, the various strategies by which meaning unfolds itself…


Book cover of A Ballad of Love and Glory

Michael Hogan Author Of The Irish Soldiers of Mexico

From my list on the Irish who fought for Mexico.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of 30 books. I live and teach in Mexico. I became interested in the St. Patrick's Battalion story when I moved here in 1990. The only book at the time was Shamrock and Sword, and while I enjoyed the book, I was dismayed that there were no Mexican or Irish sources. I did intensive research in the military archives of both countries and visited every battle site. Spurred on by the fact that one of my ancestors fought in the war, it became a passion. Later, I wrote my book and was a consultant for the film One Man's Hero. The rest, as they say, is history.

Michael's book list on the Irish who fought for Mexico

Michael Hogan Why did Michael love this book?

This author tells the story of the Irish Battalion and the Mexican War from the perspective of a female nurse who treated soldiers on both sides. It provides an element of compassion as the day-to-day conflicts unfold within and without.

I could sympathize with the plight of women, whether camp followers on the Mexican side or washerwomen and cooks on the American side. I especially liked the fact that she does not shy away from women of loose morals while at the same time showing the dignity and courage of those who helped heal and comfort the wounded.

By Reyna Grande,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Ballad of Love and Glory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2023 International Latino Book Award Winner
Finalist for the Texas Institute of Letters’s Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Fiction

A Long Petal of the Sea meets Cold Mountain in this “epic and exquisitely wrought” (Patricia Engel, New York Times bestselling author) saga following a Mexican army nurse and an Irish soldier who must fight, at first for their survival and then for their love, amidst the atrocity of the Mexican-American War—from the author of The Distance Between Us.

A forgotten war. An unforgettable romance.

The year is 1846. After the controversial annexation of Texas, the US Army marches south…