Book Review: Narcocorrido by Elijah Wald

note: Click on links for music. Would you rather listen to gangster rap, country music, or polka?  If you cringed in horror at any of the three options, well, brace yourself. If you answered, “All three!” then you probably already know your Tigres from your Tucanes. Whatever your musical tastes, the blood-splattered accordion-happy world of the Mexican narcocorrido is a fascinating place to visit. In Narcocorrido: A Journey into the Music of Drugs, Guns, and Guerillas, folklorist and musician Elijah Wald explains […]

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Book Review: El Narco

I shouldn’t be reviewing this book or recommending it to our readers. As an editor for a travel site and managing editor for The People’s Guide to Mexico, one of my goals is to, you know, encourage people to go to Mexico. It’s my job to say that your fears about Mexico are overblown, that the media is mongering fear, that our vision of modern Mexico is skewed by the press, that vast portions of Mexico are still safe, that […]

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Mayan Backroads

Hello Carl and Lorena; Your book (The People’s Guide to Mexico) helped me on my very first trip through Mexico almost 30 years ago as a very naive young man.  Later, I passed it amongst my family and friends who read it like a novel (and all enjoyed it thoroughly).  I still have that original copy in surprisingly good condition.  My cousin had it for eight months and didn’t want tot return it to me.  In the end her sense of justice […]

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Book Review: Western Mexico: A Traveler's Treasury

From the shores of Lake Patzcuaro to the cloud forest of Manatatlán to the mines of Zacatecas, Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury takes the armchair traveler on a tour of western Mexico’s treasures, many of them little known. The author, geographer Tony Burton, gets off the beaten path time and time again, and provides detailed historical and cultural information about towns that many guidebook authors only mention in passing: La Barca, San Juan de los Lagos, Tamazula, and Lagos de Moreno, […]

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Flashback: Memories from the First Reviewer of The People's Guide to Mexico

Dane Pikkola: Hello Carl and Lorena…I was just listening to your interview with Rick Steves, and really wanted to connect on the air. But, alas, I couldn’t get the number. In fact, the program was probably pre-recorded anyway. Just the same, here’s my story. I was sitting at the bar in the Fairhaven Tavern in Bellingham, Wa. when you two came in with a stack of fresh off-the-press editions of your brand new travel guide. I happen to be on […]

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Great Overview of Mexico's Rivers

The folks over at Geo-Mexico point out, “Mexican rivers are not well suited for navigation and thus have had only a minor influence on Mexico’s historical development.” For some reason, despite my propensity to nerd out on both Mexican and US history, it never occurred to me to contemplate that vital difference. So much of US commerce and culture has evolved around our rivers as major thoroughfares. For example, as J.C. Furnas writes in his excellent book, The Americans: A […]

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Rick Steves Interview with Carl and Lorena

Rick Steves with mic and headphones.

Listen to the Rick Steves interview with Carl and Lorena. A couple months ago, Carl and I spent the afternoon visiting with an old friend, Rick Steves.  Schedules didn’t permit us to be sitting in a beach-side restaurant, eating Camerones al mojo de ajo, but we did get to talk about Mexico. We were in Rick’s recording studio at his Travel Headquarters in Edmonds, Washington, reminiscing about how we first met and discussing traveling in Mexico today.  Rick is a master […]

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Book Review: The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire

The story has plenty to lure the reader: banditry, kidnapping, hubris, madness; but it is a fine attention to detail, on both the factual and visceral levels, that distinguishes C.M. Mayo’s first novel, The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire. Drawing from original research and a nuanced understanding of Mexico, Mayo relates one of the country’s more fantastic historical episodes: Maximilian, an idealistic Austrian prince who, with French backing, is crowned emperor of Mexico in 1864. With his young wife, […]

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