Setting the Virgin on Fire: Lazaro Cardenas, Michoacan Peasants, and the Redemption of the Mexican Revolution

Category: Book
By (author): Becker, Marjorie
Subject:  HISTORY / Latin America / General
  HISTORY / Latin America / Mexico
  RELIGION / Christianity / Catholic
Publisher: University of California Press
Published: January 1996
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 194
Size: 9.00in x 6.00in x 0.75in
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Additional Notes

From The Publisher*In this beautifully written work, Marjorie Becker reconstructs the cultural encounters which led to Mexico's post-revolutionary government. She sets aside the mythology surrounding president Lázaro Cárdenas to reveal his dilemma: until he and his followers understood peasant culture, they could not govern.

This dilemma is vividly illustrated in Michoacán. There, peasants were passionately engaged in a Catholic culture focusing on the Virgin Mary. The Cardenistas, inspired by revolutionary ideas of equality and modernity, were oblivious to the peasants' spirituality and determined to transform them. A series of dramatic conflicts forced Cárdenas to develop a government that embodied some of the peasants' complex culture.

Becker brilliantly combines concerns with culture and power and a deep historical empathy to bring to life the men and women of her story. She shows how Mexico's government today owes much of its subtlety to the peasants of Michoacán.
Biographical NoteMarjorie Becker is Associate Professor of History at the University of Southern California.