The publication of RebeccaWest's Survivors in Mexicomarks an important literary event: the rescue from oblivion of a daring and provocative work by a major twentieth-century writer. This book is West's exhilarating exploration of Mexican history, religion, and culture-a work the author clearly conceived as a companion and sequel to her masterpiece about the Balkans,Black Lamb and Grey Falcon(1941). Although West never brought Survivors to completion, she left behind a series of extensive drafts and revisions that Bernard Schweizer has meticulously assembled and edited. The result is a welcome addition to the Rebecca West canon-a compelling travel memoir/history comparable to her best work, and one certain to gain readers and critical acclaim.West's narrative takes on all of Mexican history-the conquest by Spain, the Mexican Revolution, and the muralist movement-and explores the inner lives of such figures as Cortés, Montezuma, the Reclus brothers, Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo, Dr. Atl, and Leon Trotsky. Highlighting contradictions and paradoxes in the personal and public spheres, she offers brilliant insights into Mexican art and culture as well as human culture and destiny.
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