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Reviews of Jenkins of Mexico

“For a 400-page history book, it is that great rarity: a pleasure to read.” Benjamin T. Smith, Journal of Latin American Studies (Feb. 2020). [Full review]

“Paxman’s treatment of Jenkins serves as a salutary reminder that the life-story of one exceptional figure can provide a valuable perspective on a range of important historiographical questions. In addition to the insight it provides on the relationship between big business and the Mexican state, this study sheds light on such themes as the economic impact of the Mexican Revolution, the nature and extent of the structural changes wrought by the Revolution, and the dynamics of anti-American sentiment in post-revolutionary Mexico, to name a few.” Halbert Jones, English Historical Review (Aug 2019). [Full review]

“Paxman’s training as a journalist animates every page of this biography… [which includes] the most finely grained account of the Mexican film industry’s structure during the Golden Age that has been published in English to date.” Laura Isabel Serna, Studies in Spanish & Latin American Cinemas (May 2019). [Full review]

“Paxman writes in thrilling prose that combines archival rigour with novelistic style in ways rarely seen in academically-trained historians. He is a born biographer. … One of the most admirable aspects of this book is that it is based on research that has spanned for years and juggles with an archive that in some aspects is quite detailed and in others significantly incomplete (many of Jenkins’ papers are lost). The result positions Paxman as one of the top Latin Americanist historians worldwide, both in method and in quality of work.” Ignacio Sánchez-Prado, LSE Review of Books (Dec. 17, 2018) [Full review]

“Andrew Paxman has written the definitive account of William Jenkins—often considered the richest man in mid-twentieth century Mexico. … Paxman’s spirited writing style makes for a compelling read that will engage scholars interested in modern Mexico, bilateral relations, and the evolution of capitalism in the developing world.” John J. Dwyer in Diplomatic History (Nov. 2018). [Full review]

“Paxman’s early career as a journalist helps him to deliver well written, enjoyable prose… I have successfully used selected chapters of this story in my teaching, and I invite others to do the same.” Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo in Enterprise & Society (June 2018). [Full review]

“Paxman does exceptionally well at getting into Jenkins’s head. With access to family papers, he has woven an intricate quilt depicting a man of stubborn single-mindedness, sharp vision, utter ruthlessness, keen perception, and guilt. … Paxman has taken an enormously controversial figure in Mexican history and given him a fair hearing.” Mark Wasserman, Hispanic American Historical Review (May 2018). [Full review]

“Paxman has written a work that interweaves the personal and family tale of Jenkins with a broad examination of Mexican history from the early 20th century until the 1960s – a remarkable achievement. … Thoroughly researched, this book is written with outstanding elegance, skill, and persuasion. Jenkins of Mexico is both a major history of state-business relations … and a superb biography.” Wil Pansters in European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies (January 2018). [Full review]

“As Andrew Paxman reveals in this deeply researched and vividly written biography, Jenkins deserves remembering, not least because, despite being American-born, he embodies Mexico’s twentieth-century economic growth. … As a former journalist, Paxman is an experienced researcher, and few write with such verve, depth, and detail about local politics and business in Mexico. … Even more impressive are his stunningly candid interviews with Jenkins’s friends, family, and allies.” Susan Gauss in Business History Review (Winter 2017) [Full review]

Jenkins of Mexico is a well-researched, interesting, engaging biography of an enigmatic, conflicted, complex man… Highly recommended.” Irasema Coronado in Choice (October 2017)

“Given Jenkins’ aversion to publicity, Paxman’s biography is an impressive accomplishment, and readers interested in the evolution of the modern Mexican state will find a fascinating treasure trove here.” Sara Martinez in Booklist (April 15, 2017) [Full review]

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