The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990

Book Revzews

Beautification Act of 1965. She helped to strengthen her husband's
support for the bill and coordinated lobbying efforts on its behalf.
While important primary sources-including most of Lady Bird
Johnson's White House diary-are not yet available, Gould's study is
based on a remarkably extensive range of research. He provides rich
detail and judicious argument in pointing out both the benefits and
limitations of environmental initiatives in the Johnson years and in as-
sessing the First Lady's precise role in those initiatives. Finally, Gould
examines his subject through a feminist lens, recognizing the con-
straints suffered by presidential wives and all women and validating the
particularly female concerns and values that women often brought to
public life.
Ohio State Unzverszty SUSAN M. HARTMANN
The Judrez Myth in Mexzco. By Charles A. Weeks. (University: University
of Alabama Press, 1987. Pp. ix+ 20o4. Acknowledgments, illustra-
tions, notes, bibliography, index. $24.95.)
In this slender volume, Charles Weeks examines the "myth" of
Benito Juarez, president of Mexico in the mid-nineteenth century and
leader of the Mexican forces that expelled the French and executed
Maximilian, the Austrian archduke that the French had imposed as
emperor of Mexico. Juarez was clearly a hero to his fellow countrymen,
and Weeks quite correctly recognizes that the politicians who have fol-
lowed have often sought status and legitimacy by invoking his name.
Weeks also correctly points out that at least initially there were both
good and bad images ofJuirez. The good image was based on his suc-
cessful attempt to throw out the French, the bad on his attempts to per-
petuate himself in office and on his persecution of the Catholic Church.
The author provides a chapter of background on Juirez's career,
which, though quite short, permits the reader to better understand the
kinds of uses for which Juirez's name was invoked. Weeks never makes
completely clear, however, what he means by myth, and he frequently
fails to show how the myth differed from the reality of Juirez's life. He
does at one point declare that "the Juarez myth in Mexico" consists of
"the political and ideological uses ofJuirez .. ." (p. io). Yet the author
should be more clear about which of these uses are indeed manip-
ulative and which reflect the reality of Ju~rez's political and ideological
legacy.
In the third chapter, Weeks describes at length the way in which
Juarez, after his death, was used by President Porfirio Diaz to legitimize
his own rule. Diaz was also from Oaxaca, Juirez's home state, and many

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101213/. Accessed October 25, 2014.