Autobiographies or memoirs are not characteristic of Mexicans in general and specifically not of Mexican public men. Since 1970, however, some valuable historical testimony has appeared, beginning with the extensive five-volume work of the late public figure and poet, Jaime Torres Bodet. Eduardo Villaseñor, while not writing in such detail as Torres Bodet, has set down some personal observations that span more than forty years in public life. His comments on domestic and international financial policies affecting Mexico during the years 1936 to 1946, when he served consecutively as Director General of the National Agricultural Credit Bank, Subsecretary of the Treasury and Director General of the Bank of Mexico, are particularly important. His anecdotes about public life are equally valuable because he writes clearly and frankly about his youth and education, and his life as a public servant and government consultant.

Villaseñor’s youth in Morelia, Michoacán, typifies the struggle of the lower-middle class in the provinces during the throes of the 1910 Revolution. He records his observations of student life and activities at one of Mexico’s most notable provincial universities, the Colegio de San Nicolás de Hidalgo in Morelia. Later, in Mexico City, he became a part of the student generations from 1915 to 1925, who later dominated Mexican politics and arts through the next two decades. His writings are filled with comments about influential writers and educators and their impact on his youthful companions.

Perhaps what is most valuable about these memoirs is the vivid description of one man’s rise in public life in Mexico. Villaseñor gives us insight into personnel decisions within the Mexican political system, some of which reflect objectivity (p. 81), and others, extreme political considerations (p. 86). Villaseñor also sheds light on the personalities of most of the financial leaders of the 1920s and 1930s. Lastly, because of his interest and involvement in international finance, he contributes background information on Mexico’s participation in international economic agreements. All of this is enhanced by a general index and an index of proper names.

The book’s only weakness as a memoir is its brevity; Villaseñor himself points this out in his introduction, and suggests he will write a more-detailed work in the future. This reviewer hopes that he will do so, since Memorias-Testimonio cannot help but whet the intellectual curiosity of political and economic historians interested in Mexico’s development.