Since Mexico has become a tourist mecca for Americans in the post-war period, the book industry, perhaps coincidentally, has published an increasing quantity of literary Mexicana. Particular emphasis naturally has been placed on the publication of Mexican guide-books, popular histories, and paperback fiction and nonfiction. It is therefore not surprising that these two semi-popular studies of our southern neighbor appear after Mexico was recently selected as the site of the next Olympic Games in 1968; Mexico from The Illustrated Library of the World and Its Peoples was produced late last year, while Life’s Mexico was initially published in 1961 and then reprinted in 1964.

Both of these informative surveys of Mexico are replete with maps, charts, statistics, and spectacular photographs of the Mexican panorama. The color photography is particularly outstanding. Actually, these picturesque volumes include analyses of almost every aspect of Mexican life accompanied by a variety of visual aids. The age of Indian pre-history, historic Mexico, and the modern nation are all accorded the same pictorial attention.

While Life’s Mexico stresses the significance of the contemporary human condition in its survey, the encyclopedic edition in The World and Its Peoples series provides a statistical and detailed study of Mexico’s people, production, culture, climate, and topography. Both books display beautiful representations of the art of Orozco, Rivera, Siqueiros, and Tamayo. Unfortunately, these colorful publications are both somewhat superficial, perhaps the inevitable price we must pay for popular and pictorial history.