Mexico is indelibly imprinted in the collective imagination of the United States as a romantic playground and land of the exotic otherness. Neither the intensity of transnational migration of Mexican workers living in the United States and Mexico, nor the now millions upon millions of American tourists who have traveled, toured, and played in Mexico’s Spanish colonial cities, indigenous markets, pre-Columbian sites, and long tropical beaches have dulled these attitudes. How this came to be is a fascinating story that Dina Berger and Andrew Grant Wood begin to answer in their edited volume Holiday in Mexico: Critical Reflections on Tourism and Tourist Encounters.

Berger and Wood’s volume counteracts the overwhelming tendency of tourism scholars to focus their research on contemporary, synchronic case studies. Certainly there are exceptions, but most research fails to address tourism from a historical perspective. Over the course of...

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