In The Last Good Neighbor: Mexico in the Global Sixties (Duke UP, 2020), Professor Eric Zolov retells the history of 1960s Mexico by focusing on the way that Mexican political leaders pursued a paradoxical foreign policy agenda. This agenda consisted reaffirming Mexico’s close and amicable relationship with the United States, while, at the same time, aggressively asserting a much more radical, anti-US conception of hemispheric and international relations. Zolov resolves this foreign policy paradox by setting this period of Mexican history within the larger framework of the global Cold War. In Zolov’s account, Mexico emerges not as a peripheral actor, but a leading voice in the reconfiguration of global alliances during this period. He shows that Mexican policymakers were able to skillfully draw on Mexico’s close relationship with the United States during the 1950s and 1960s while also satisfying the more radical demands of the New Left in Mexico in order to reposition the country as a leading geopolitical actor within an emerging global solidarity movement between nations of the third world. This richly textured and well-argued monograph reinterprets many aspects of Mexican, Latin American, and international history through a skillful re-reading of familiar sources, as well an impressive incorporation new sources.
Steven P. Rodriguez is a PhD Candidate in history at Vanderbilt University.