Each year, thousands of trucks and billions of dollars in commerce cross the Rio Grande into the United States at Laredo. The second oldest chartered settlement in Texas has become one of the busiest ports of entry along the southern border, if not the busiest. The transformation of Laredo from a sleepy town on the far northern frontier of Spanish settlement in the Americas into a vital trade link between two of the principal participants in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is the focus of this detailed study by John A. Adams Jr. The author, who earned a doctoral degree in history, spent many years as the executive director of the Laredo Development Foundation. This shows in his focus on Laredo’s business history, though never to the complete exclusion of the social and political context. The result is a well-written and...

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