Robert Alegre writes with palpable empathy. He cares for the railway men and women whom he portrays in Railroad Radicals in Cold War Mexico. The result is a thoughtful examination of the lives and times of railroad workers, especially in the years immediately following World War II until the massive strikes that rocked Mexico's railways in 1958 and 1959.

The book focuses on three interweaving themes. The first is the brief but important redemocratization of the Sindicato de Trabajadores Ferrocarrileros de México (STFRM) and the important strikes, particularly in the late 1950s, in which workers sought better wages, improved benefits, and greater autonomy. The second theme is gender. Alegre is primarily interested in including women in the male-dominated story and in framing Mexico's railway industry as ruled by patriarchal norms and machismo. Of these two themes, the political narrative is more...

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