This book is the first in a three-volume history of Mexico, a major work that conveys the full sweep of Mexican history in all its social, economic, and political diversity. Volume 1 charts the development of Mesoamerica from roughly 25,000 BC down to the Spanish Conquest in 1519-21. Analysing the principal periods and ethnic groups - Olmec, Zapotec, Maya, Toltec, Teotihuacano, and Aztec - Alan Knight seeks to explain the basic processes of pre-conquest history: the formation of states and social hierarchies, the rise and fall of empires, the role of religion, 'markets', migration and ecology, patterns of settlement and consequent regional differentiation. Clear, comprehensive, and gracefully written, Knight's analysis illustrates the rich diversity of Mesoamerican history, while locating that history within a broader, comparative framework of historical change. The book concludes with the trauma of the conquest, the destruction of the Aztec empire, and the birth of colonial New Spain.
'... a history of Mexico which promises to become a major addition to the historiography of Latin America.' The English Historical Review
"The best Anglophone synoptic history of Mexico...Knight's volumes offer both unity of approach and authorial voice and a considerable level of detail...The dry humour and invocations of other histories, not to mention the sparkling writing, make the book a delight to read...a book that displays both high sophistication and accessibility." Eric Van Young, University of California at San Diego, The International History Review
"...an essential resource not only for historians of Mexico and Latin America but also of the European overseas expansion. Knight's work represents scholarly synthesis as its best: it offers both information and interpretation and is upheld by a massive body of documentation." Bulletin of the Society of Spanish & Portuguese History
"Mexico is a three-volume general history of Mexico that offers a comprehensive narrative and analysis of Mexican history, focusing especially on political, economic, and social organiztion." Cobblestone Publishing
"This work is that of a mature scholar who has a complete grasp of Mexican history and can explain it without getting bogged down in metalanguage or trivia.... an invaluable teaching tool. Highly recommended." Choice
"Knight presents a masterful distillation of the considerable sholarly literature that argues that the Bourbon era economy was limited in its expansion, underwent no transformation in character, and resulted in a rapid immiseration of the common people in the several decades preceding the outbreak of the independence movement."
Latin American Research Review, John E. Kicza