Why can't you be more like us? That's the first of a thousand questions that the author asks on behalf of the American reader. His answer is in the Introduction, where he explains that the Spanish conquered a vibrant indigeus people in what was to become Mexico while Anglo-Saxons settled the United States with people like themselves. The author introduces each of 28 chapters, ranging from pre-Columbian Mexico to wars and revolutions, drug trafficking and illegal immigration, with a brief background history. Then come the Q & A. Over 380 pages there are short biographies and drawings of the main characters, both Mexican and foreign, who march across the stage that is the drama of Mexico. Did you kw that Mexican agricultural engineering saved much of the world from starvation? Did you kw the Thanksgiving turkey traces its DNA to Mexico? Did you kw the Spanish conquistadors found in Mexico the third largest city in the world? Did you kw pre-Columbian Mexicans had books? Did you kw that Mexico published the first newspaper in the New World in 1541? Did you kw that Mexico's War of Independence lasted 10 years? Did you kw that Mexico t only lost half its territory in the Mexican-American War of 1846-48 but its richest half? Did you kw that slaves owned by American settlers in the Mexican province of Coahuila and Texas was one of the issues behind the war? Did you kw that Mexico and Canada used to have a common border, what is w the border between California and Oregon? Did you kw that the Civil War prompted France to invade Mexico? Did you kw that the United States invaded Mexico twice during the Mexican Revolution? Did you kw the Irish-born father of Mexican-American actor Anthony Quinn fought alongside Pancho Villa in the revolution? Did you kw Germany offered to return Texas, New Mexico and Arizona to Mexico if it kept the United States occupied during World War I - and if Germany won? Did you kw American oil companies broke a promise to abide by a decision of Mexico's Supreme Court, prompting the nationalization of its holdings? Did you kw Mexico felt obliged to sell its oil to Germany, Italy and Japan in the run-up to World War II when the United States and Britain boycotted it? Did you kw that Mexico was one of only two Latin American countries to fight on the side of the Allied forces in World War II? Did you kw that Mexico played a role in breaking baseball's color barrier in the major leagues? Did you kw that Mexico has more United Nations World Heritage sites than any other country in the hemisphere: 27? Did you kw Harry Truman is the most popular American president in Mexico - and why? Did you kw there's been a Mexican invasion of Hollywood in the twenty-first century? Did you kw that polls show that few Mexicans want to live in the United States? Did you kw that the vast majority of illegal immigrants hope to return to Mexico? Did you that Mexicans have been timed scaling fence along the border in less than 20 seconds on their first try? Did you kw that Mexican drug traffickers buy their guns in the United States because gun laws are so strict back home? There have been thousands of books written about Mexico, but this is the first one that asks questions and answers them in a straightforward, understandable way. The reader will come away with a better understanding of Mexico's contributions to mankind and the obstacles it has had to overcome to get to where it is today: a democratic trading partner of the United States and Canada under the North American Trade Agreement, commonly kwn as NAFTA.
John Virtue is an author, journalist and academic. A native of Canada, he is currently the director of the International Media Center at Florida International University in Miami. His latest book is What's to Know About Mexico: One Thousand Questions and Answers About America's Southern Neighbor. He explains the contributions Mexicans have made, including the pre-Columbian engineering of corn and the nineteenth century creation of the iconic American cowboy. This is the fifth book he has written that deals, in one way or another, with Mexico: Leonard and Reva Brooks: Artists in Exile in San Miguel de Allende; Model American Abroad: A Biography of Stirling Dickinson; Fred Taylor: Brother in the Shadows; and South of the Color Barrier: How Jorge Pasquel and the Mexican League Pushed Baseball Toward Racial Integration. The Pasquel book won the 2008 Robert Peterson Recognition Award for scholarship. Virtue spent 18 years as a foreign correspondent and news agency executive in Latin America for United Press International, based in Brazil, Mexico and Venezuela. He left the agency to become executive editor of the Spanish-language daily newspaper El Mundo in San Juan, Puerto Rico. At Florida International University he has led workshops on ethics and the role of the press in a democracy to 2,000 mid-career journalists in 16 Latin American countries. He gave a clandestine workshop in Havana in 2002 for independent journalists opposed to the Cuban government. Virtue, who is a naturalized American, is married to Anna Virtue, a former reporter/researcher in the Miami bureau of the Los Angeles Times. Their son, Mark, is a software engineer with Amazon.com who lives with his family in Port Orchard, Wash.