The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990 Page: 431
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Sonora is thus cast into Yankee "bondage" (p. 1); the dollar creates "an
economy, a class system, and a political, social and psychological milieu
subservient to the United States" (p. 5). Mexicans who collaborate are
excoriated as toadies, bootlickers, and sycophants. Suborned by the
dollar, they evince a "neocolonial mentality" (p. 212). The "rebellion"
of 1910o thus arises from nationalist resentment and xenophobia.
This is unoriginal and, worse, unsubtle. The theoretical/comparative
underpinnings are scant: some passing references to the New Imperi-
alism (during which Latin America was apparently "partitioned"!), a
travesty of Kipling, and a nod in the direction of dependency theory
(pp. 2, 59, 65, 228). The author's style compounds the problem. Though
he carps at a U.S. consul who "could have taken a lesson in writing"
(p. 226), Ruiz-and his editor-hardly elevate the literary tone. Cliches
and mixed metaphors abound. Telephones make a bow and blueprints
are torn apart on the rocks of reality. The streets of Nacozari resemble
a pretzel. Chapter 9, "The Errant Cattle Industry," is not concerned
with stray cows. Foreign capitalism "sew[ed] [sic] the seeds of cultural
change" (p. 249).
More important, however, is the basic interpretation. If Yankee
bondage was so extreme and offensive, why did so many Mexicans
readily succumb? Damning them as bootlickers suggests a lack of both
understanding and sensitivity. Collaboration, after all, spanned all so-
cial classes; it involved not only conservative elites but also Mayo In-
dians (an example Ruiz skips over) and Mexican workers who, bad con-
ditions notwithstanding (and such conditions of course existed north of
the border too, in the imperial metropolis), sought out better paid jobs
in the mines. Why? Push factors offer no explanation since, according
to Ruiz, who entertains a rosy image of "traditional," pre-industrial so-
ciety, miners quit "safe, familiar communities" (p. 90o) built on bucolic
extended families in order to enter the squalid degenerate domain of
the Yankee exploiter. The fact is that U.S. investment helped generate
growth, upheaval, and discontent, but in ways that were much more
complex, indirect, and subtle than Ruiz's polemic would allow; it did
not impinge upon a cosy, classless society; it did not abort a potential
industrial revolution; it did not provoke a widespread xenophobic and
revolutionary reaction, as Ruiz's examples on pages 236-242 attest.
The valuable and interesting data that are incorporated into this book,
which will be of interest to historians of Mexico, of mining, and of the
border, could have been more profitably and imaginatively employed.
University of Texas at Austin
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 93, July 1989 - April, 1990, periodical, 1990; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101213/m1/487/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.