This important book shows how a regional study can change our understanding of a larger national story. It opens when scores of Mexican soldiers pulled up to the house of 62-year-old agrarian leader, social activist, previous gubernatorial candidate, and former Zapatista Rubén Jaramillo. They abducted him, his wife, and three of their sons in broad daylight on May 23, 1962, and drove them to the outskirts of the Aztec ruins of Xochicalco, Morelos. They machine-gunned them all, leaving their bullet-riddled bodies behind, not even bothering to conceal their crime. The assassinations were meant to silence Jaramillo, crush the larger Jaramillista movement, and send a message to others who would challenge the government. This history of the Jaramillistas tells us a lot about mid-twentieth-century Mexico, shattering images of the “Pax-Priísta” and providing a sobering view of society during the “Mexican Miracle.”

Shaped by the revolution in Morelos, Jaramillo carried forward the...

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