admin

Review by Dale Palfrey of “Mexican Kaleidoscope: myths, mysteries and mystique” for Guadalajara Reporter

 Book Reviews, Mexican Kaleidoscope  Comments Off on Review by Dale Palfrey of “Mexican Kaleidoscope: myths, mysteries and mystique” for Guadalajara Reporter
Dec 102016
 

This review, by Dale Palfrey, of “Mexican Kaleidoscope: myths, mysteries and mystique” appeared in the 24 November 2016 edition of the Guadalajara Reporter:

New tome uncovers obscure details about amazing Mexico

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

“Mexican Kaleidoscope,” the latest book by Tony Burton, takes readers on a delightful romp through Mexican history and culture, spanning 10,000 years from the Pre-Hispanic era to modern times.

“Mexican Kaleidoscope: myths, mysteries and mystique”

Where to buy this book

The author explains the genesis of the book in the first line of his preface: “My quest to find evidence of the past in Mexico’s present led me to some surprising discoveries.” It’s an observation that reflects his unquenchable thirst for “little-known facts, incidents or individuals plucked from the vaults of Mexican heritage.”

Indeed, over 165 pages broken up into 30 brief chapters, Burton reveals astonishing details about the people and events woven into the rich and colorful tapestry that is Mexico. All the better due to his knack for turning dry facts into to fluid prose. It’s the kind of book you can easily read straight through or jump from one vignette to another according to the appeal of the diverse topics.

The first three thematic sections are related to the centuries prior to the Spanish Conquest, proceeding chronologically through the era of New Spain’s settlement and the consolidation of independent Mexico.

Here he explores the foundations of Mexican farming and cuisine, the scientific genius of ancient astronomers and secrets unraveled through archaeological research. Further on he introduces the cradle of the Mexico’s wineries, the population’s African roots, great exploratory adventures by land and sea, and the ups and downs of the railway industry and military ventures.

Subsequent sections delve into people and society, and culture and popular beliefs, offering fascinating insights on the insular Huichol and Tarahumara tribes, true tales of eccentric characters who have left their stamp on the country, and the superstitions and common wisdom that make the people tick.

The text is complemented with handsome black-and-white illustrations designed for each chapter by lakeside artist Enrique Velázquez. The final pages are dedicated to a comprehensive bibliography and complete index to the contents.

The good news for lakesiders interested in acquiring “Mexican Kaleidoscope” is that Burton will launch sales at a public presentation and book-signing reception scheduled for Friday, December 2, 5 p.m., at the Centro Cultural de Ajijic. The books will be sold at discount price compared to the Mexican retail price of 300 pesos (US$19.99). Guests will also be able to view an exhibit of art works by Velázquez while enjoying wine and light refreshments.

About the author

Born in the United Kingdom in 1953, Tony Burton is a geographer who taught, lectured and guided specialist cultural and ecological trips in Mexico for 18 years. He and his wife Gwen currently reside on Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada and frequently travel back to Mexico.

His previous book titles include “Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury” (2014), now in its fourth edition, and “Lake Chapala Through the Ages, an Anthology of Travelers’ Tales” (2008). He is the co-author, with Dr. Richard Rhoda, of the landmark volume “Geo-Mexico, the Geography and Dynamics of Modern Mexico” (2010).

He has also written extensively on Mexico’s history, economics, tourism and geography, with bylines appearing in numerous magazines, journals and online publications in Mexico, Canada, the United States, Ireland and elsewhere. Look for his growing compilation of profiles on writers and artists tied to the Lake Chapala area at sombrerobooks.com and frequent contributions to the geo-mexico.com website.

Draw for FREE COPY of “Mexican Kaleidoscope, myths, mysteries and mystique”

 Mexican Kaleidoscope  Comments Off on Draw for FREE COPY of “Mexican Kaleidoscope, myths, mysteries and mystique”
Oct 012016
 

The print and ebook editions of Mexican Kaleidoscope: myths, mysteries and mystique will be published later this month. To be among the first to receive this new book, and for a chance to win your own FREE copy, please sign up below for publication updates via email.

UPDATE – 22 October 2016. This draw has been won by Emily G. of Canal Fulton, Ohio – congratulations, Emily!

mk-thumbnailSubscribe for updates about Mexican Kaleidoscope


I am mainly interested in the:

Please note that your email will be stored securely, will not be shared with any other party, and will only be used for messages relating to the publication of Mexican Kaleidoscope.

The lucky winner will be chosen at random when the print book is published and will receive a completely FREE copy of the book (format of their choosing; tax/shipping included). Depending on the number of people signing up for updates, we may offer additional prizes.

In Mexican Kaleidoscope author Tony Burton delves into Mexico’s colorful history and culture. He focuses on a fascinating selection of events, discoveries, individuals and intrigues to explore some of the reasons why Mexico has become such an extraordinarily diverse and interesting nation.

The 30 short chapters of Mexican Kaleidoscope span the centuries, from long before the Spanish conquest to the modern day. The topics considered range from the mysteries of Mexican food, Aztec farming and Mayan pyramids to mythical cities, aerial warfare, art, music, local sayings and the true origins of Mexico’s national symbols. Along the way, we encounter many unusual, strange, revealing and wonderful facts about Mexico.

Mexican Kaleidoscope unravels some of the many forces that have helped shape Mexico’s history and culture and helps us understand the appeal and mystique of this engaging country.

The text is enhanced by charming original illustrations by Ajijic artist Enrique Velázquez. This book includes an index and bibliography.

Dr. Michael Hogan, the best-selling author of The Irish Soldiers of Mexico and the recently released Abraham Lincoln and Mexico, was gracious enough to read an advance copy and commented as follows:

“In this lively interweaving of history, cuisine, culture, tradition and superstition, Tony Burton brings the reader refreshing and often startling insights into the forces that shaped Mexican culture. There is something for everyone in this eclectic collection. Burton’s style is friendly and hospitable to the homebody as well as enlightening to the veteran traveler. It is a book so generous-spirited and worldly-wise that it would make a suitable gift for the novice flying to Mexico for vacation, while at the same time being a cherished companion for the expat already comfortably at home there.”

Mexconnect publisher David McLaughlin, who also read an advance copy, writes that:

“Once again, Tony Burton has melded his incredible knowledge of Mexico into a masterful and very entertaining collection of perspectives into Mexico. Mexican Kaleidoscope is exactly what this book is: multiple views into the colorful and dramatic story of Mexico throughout its history.”

An official book launch is being arranged for early December, in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico. Full details of the book launch will follow in due course. Watch this space!

Sombrero Books welcomes comments related to any of our books or the posts published on this blog. Please email us or use the comments feature at the bottom of individual posts.

 Posted by at 5:11 am
Sep 022016
 

Sombrero Books is pleased to announce that the Kindle ebook version of Mexican Kaleidoscope: myths, mysteries and mystique has just been released [Click the link to purchase]. The print edition will follow shortly, with an official book launch event in late November, in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico. Full details for the book launch in Ajijic will be given here as soon as they are confirmed.

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

cover-front-onlyIn this new book, author Tony Burton delves into Mexico’s colorful history and culture. He focuses on a fascinating selection of events, discoveries, individuals and intrigues to explore some of the reasons why Mexico has become such an extraordinarily diverse and interesting nation.

The 30 short chapters of Mexican Kaleidoscope span the centuries, from long before the Spanish conquest to the modern day. The topics considered range from the mysteries of Mexican food, Aztec farming and Mayan pyramids to mythical cities, aerial warfare, art, music, local sayings and the true origins of Mexico’s national symbols. Along the way, we encounter many unusual, strange, revealing and wonderful facts about Mexico.

Mexican Kaleidoscope unravels some of the many forces that have helped shape Mexico’s history and culture and helps us understand the appeal and mystique of this engaging country.

The text is enhanced by charming original illustrations by Ajijic artist Enrique Velázquez. This book includes a bibliography. The print version includes a full index.

Dr. Michael Hogan, the best-selling author of The Irish Soldiers of Mexico and the recently released Abraham Lincoln and Mexico, was gracious enough to read an advance copy and commented as follows:

“In this lively interweaving of history, cuisine, culture, tradition and superstition, Tony Burton brings the reader refreshing and often startling insights into the forces that shaped Mexican culture. There is something for everyone in this eclectic collection. Burton’s style is friendly and hospitable to the homebody as well as enlightening to the veteran traveler. It is a book so generous-spirited and worldly-wise that it would make a suitable gift for the novice flying to Mexico for vacation, while at the same time being a cherished companion for the expat already comfortably at home there.”

Mexconnect publisher David McLaughlin, who also read an advance copy, writes that:

Once again, Tony Burton has melded his incredible knowledge of Mexico into a masterful and very entertaining collection of perspectives into Mexico. Mexican Kaleidoscope is exactly what this book is: multiple views into the colorful and dramatic story of Mexico throughout its history.”

We hope you will enjoy this book as much as these advance reviewers did!

Mexico by Motorcycle: An Adventure Story and Guide, by William B. Kaliher

 ZZzzz-other  Comments Off on Mexico by Motorcycle: An Adventure Story and Guide, by William B. Kaliher
Jul 132015
 

Sombrero Books is delighted to announce the publication of  Mexico by Motorcycle: An Adventure Story and Guide.

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Author William B. Kaliher is widely published and a regular contributor to Mexico Today. He has been traveling Mexico’s highways and byways since 1964. A born storyteller, he holds a BA in Cultural Anthropology from the University of South Carolina.

kalliher-motorcycle

Mexico by Motorcycle: An Adventure Story and Guide includes numerous photographs and describes Bill Kaliher’s travels off the beaten track in Mexico by motorcycle in 1971 and again in 1993. With travel tips and sound advice gained since his first trip in 1964, this is a book for the armchair traveler, the bike aficionado, and Mexico fans. Read it before you cross the border, then tuck it in your backpack or purse as a reference on the road.

Join the author as he chats about changes in Mexico over the years, cultural differences between the USA and Mexico, Mexican motorcyclists and Bike Clubs, and shares driving tips, historical facts about Mexico, the best cities, regions and sites you might want to visit, and his invaluable insights gleaned from six decades of visiting Mexico. This 272-page book also includes a handy fold-out map showing the routes described in the text.

Milford Burris (a retired businessman and South Carolina legislator) writes, “I am a Harley rider who has toured Mexico twice by auto with Bill Kaliher. On our first trip, Bill patted a thick book resting on the console and said, ‘If anything happens to me, call the people in here. They will help you.’ We lunched with multi-millionaires one day and squatted to talk with peasants in a shack the next, all Bill’s friends…. Everyone knew him in small towns like Catemaco, Puerto Escondido and Tapalpa.”

Mexico by Motorcycle: An Adventure Story and Guide is currently available as a regular softcover book (272 pages); an e-book version will be released shortly.

Initial reviews on Amazon.com are highly favorable. Buy your copy today!

Revisiones y adiciones: Si Las Paredes Hablaran: edificios históricos de Chapala y sus antiguos ocupantes

 Si Las Paredes Habrlaran: Edificois históricos de Chapala  Comments Off on Revisiones y adiciones: Si Las Paredes Hablaran: edificios históricos de Chapala y sus antiguos ocupantes
Apr 082015
 

Estas revisiones y correcciones (abril de 2023) se aplican principalmente a los libros comprados en México. Los libros comprados más recientemente a través de Amazon son los últimos impresos en el momento de la compra (verifique si hay revisiones posteriores), y las ediciones Kindle deberían actualizarse automáticamente cada vez que se realicen revisiones menores.

página 16: Fecha de foto de Villa Ana Victoria – debe decir “c. 1897″ (no 1905)

página 41: las cifras de los valores de herencia están en pesos. [y el tipo de cambio en ese momento era de 2 pesos por dólar estadounidense]

página 45: La antigua casa del músico Mike Laure (Acapulco 30) ahora es un museo en su honor.

página 56 párrafo 4: “Rafael de la Mora (Villa Carmen)” debe decir “Rafael de la Mora, hermano de Roberto de la Mora (Villa Carmen)”

página 74: Cuadro “George Edward King” – –  Cuadro “George Edward King” como archivo pdf
debe decir:
“George Edward King (1852–1912) fue un arquitecto británico progresivo que se mudó primero a los Estados Unidos y después a México. Ejerció en los Estados Unidos alrededor de veinte años y diseñó varias residencias particulares en Boulder, Colorado; el Old Main en el Colegio de Agricultura de Colorado (ahora la Universidad del Estado de Colorado) en Fort Collins; el teatro Tabor, la oficina de correos y el hotel, todos en Leadville, Colorado; y varias oficinas y residencias en El Paso, Texas. Muchos de estos edificios siguen en pie.2
En la década de 1890, King abrió un negocio llamado King & Johnson en la Ciudad de México, con Charles Grove Johnson. Posteriormente, King estableció oficinas en varias ciudades, incluyendo Guadalajara, Durango y Chihuahua. En 1908, King dirigió personalmente la oficina de Guadalajara, mientras que su hijo, Arthur, estuvo a cargo de la oficina de la Ciudad de México.3 King aceptó varios encargos. Diseñó la antigua aduana (ahora Museo Histórico) en Ciudad Juárez; teatros en Zacatecas, Durango y Chihuahua; y remodeló el Correo Mayor, la principal oficina de correos de la Ciudad de México; así como el Palacio de Gobierno y Teatro Degollado en Guadalajara.4
En Chapala, King fue el responsable de la Villa Tlalocan y Casa Braniff, y pudo haber intervenido en la construcción de otros edificios del mismo periodo. Cuando empezó la revolución en 1910, King y su familia huyeron a Texas, en donde tanto George como su esposa, Harriet, murieron dos años después.

página 139: La casa alquilada por el autor inglés D. H. Lawrence en 1923 pertenecía al hotelero Antonio Mólgora. En ese momento, la casa era una vivienda de un solo piso equidistante entre el borde de la villa y la playa. (Los ocho lotes residenciales inmediatamente al norte de la casa se vendieron solo unos años antes).

página 143: Paseo Ramón Corona 11 [diseñado por Castellanos Lambley] es ahora (2023) el Hotel Boutique Villa Guadalupe.

página 149: El dibujo del Hotel Plaza es obra del destacado arquitecto noruego-estadounidense Arne Dehli.

 Posted by at 11:37 am

Revisions and additions: Foreign Footprints in Ajijic: Decades of Change in a Mexican Village (2022)

 Foreign Footprints in Ajijic  Comments Off on Revisions and additions: Foreign Footprints in Ajijic: Decades of Change in a Mexican Village (2022)
Apr 082015
 

These revisions and additions (November 2023) apply primarily to books purchased in Mexico. Books purchased more recently via Amazon are the latest printing at the time of purchase (check for any later revisions), and Kindle editions should automatically update whenever minor revisions are made.

page 21, para 1: should read “bare red hillside scar shaped like an eagle on Cerro Colorado (aka Cerro del Aguila) near Rancho del Oro”

page 53, para 3: should read “He left school (Harrow) at 16, helped lay a telegraph cable up the Amazon at 18, and became an electrical engineer.”

page 54, para 2: should read  “The Sudden View

page 61, para 2: replace “their home’ by “the Posada”

page 63: (a) should read “The younger Millett, educated at Rugby School, studied …”
(b) should read “in several languages. In 1929, his debut avant-garde novel …”

page 67, last para: Should read “… in Mexico. The two men had been fellow students at Stowe School in England. This timing …”

page 68, first para: should read “… 1950, later becoming professor of art history…”

page 88, between paras 3 and 4: add “Retired illustrator Charles L Wrenn visited Ajijic and Chapala in about 1943. His known paintings of the area include what is believed to be the earliest plein air watercolor of historic Mezcala Island, the largest island in the lake.”

page 102, penultimate para: should read “The spa at Quinta Mi Retiro closed in about 1960; it may well be the “fountain of youth clinic” which ceased activity that year, according to the El Paso Herald-Post, for operating without a proper license. Not to be deterred, later that year Lytton-Bernard opened the Rio Caliente…”

page 113: para 2: should read “In 1950, Eileen and Bob Bassing left their Hollywood careers and moved to Ajijic with her two sons (then aged 11 and 14 respectively) to focus on their writing. The family lived in a $5 a month home in Ajijic, and supplemented their income by selling home-made fudge and operating a small lending library, “Simple Pleasures”, of English-language books they had shipped from California. Eileen later recalled …”

page 134, after para 3: add “Also in 1956, Donald Lewis, a writer, was held for questioning on suspicion of homicide after his wife’s death from an apparent overdose of sleeping pills at their home in Ajijic. According to police, Lewis refused medical aid for her and asked that she be left alone because she was “just sleeping.”

page 137, para 2: should read “… after killing his wife. His story inspired several books, including Love, Lies, and Murder (2007). In 2010…”

page 145, para 1 : should read “Preciado, and the wife of US vice-president Lyndon B Johnson.”

page 157, para 7: should read “Benjamin Shute, a co-founder of the Atlanta College of Art, and his wife, Nell, painted in Ajijic …”

page 188, para 5: should read “lifestyle”

page 205, after para 2: add “Zoë Mozert, reputedly the highest paid calendar artist of all time for her sensuous illustrations for pin-up calendars, painted at Lake Chapala in the mid-1960s.”

page 208, para 1: should read “… You Can’t Take It With You, staged in the open patio of a small inn in Chapala in 1953, produced and directed by Bob Bassing, and staged in August 1953 in the open patio of “La Playita,” a small inn in Chapala. The play, in which John Upton took the lead role, ended with spectacular pyrotechnics …”

page 219, after first para: add “Completing a trio of close friends with Goodridge and Sendis was a young Californian guitarist, Jim Byers, whose subsequent musical career included performing internationally as a classical guitarist.”

page 240, after para 5: add “Renowned Hollywood portraitist Richard Kitchin—a school friend of Peter Lilley and Anthony Stansfeld, the Dane Chandos duo—lived and painted in San Antonio Tlayacapan in the 1970s. He bequeathed many of his later works to the Instituto Cultural Cabañas in Guadalajara.”

page 259: should read “three blocks in each direction”

page 270, para 2: should read “Carnival (Carnaval) celebrations in the village are said to date back at least to 1880, pre-date those in …”

page 290: acknowledgments, add “Bob Bassing, James Catmur”

page 298, ch 9, ftnt 2: add: “James Catmur. 2023. “Tracing an ancestor down the Amazon!” https://engx.theiet.org/b/blogs/posts/tracing-an-ancestor-down-the-amazon

page 308, ch 25, ftnt 10: add “San Angelo Standard-Times, 30 July 1963, 18.”

page 323, ch 47, ftnt 1: add “Sofía Medeles. 2022. “El recibimiento y el desfile, los pilares del Carnaval de Ajijic.” Laguna, 28 February 2022.”

 

 Posted by at 11:36 am

Revisions and additions: Lake Chapala: A Postcard History (2022)

 Lake Chapala: a postcard history  Comments Off on Revisions and additions: Lake Chapala: A Postcard History (2022)
Apr 082015
 

These revisions and additions (April 2023) apply primarily to books purchased in Mexico. Books purchased more recently via Amazon are the latest printing at the time of purchase (check for any later revisions), and Kindle editions should automatically update whenever minor revisions are made.

page 10, Caption, Fig 1.9 should read “c. 1900. W Scott.”
“Mailed to France in 1906, this oval image is from a rectangular photograph first published in a 1902 book. A greatly cropped version was published as a postcard in about 1906.”

page 26, Caption, Fig 3.3 should read “c. 1901. J M Lupercio; Ruhland & Ahlschier.”

page 28, Caption, Fig 3.5 should read “c. 1901. C B Waite; Iturbide Curio Store.”

page 69, paragraph 3: “Juan Kaiser, the Swiss-born publisher”

page 95, first line should read “… extended to Jocotepec (1901) and Chapala and…”

page 143, Index of photographers and publishers:

  • Lupercio – delete 1.9; add entry for 3.3
  • Scott – add entry for 1.9
  • Waite – add entry for 3.5

 

 Posted by at 11:36 am

Revisions and additions: If Walls Could Talk: Chapala’s Historic Buildings and Their Former Occupants (2020)

 If Walls Could Talk  Comments Off on Revisions and additions: If Walls Could Talk: Chapala’s Historic Buildings and Their Former Occupants (2020)
Apr 082015
 

These revisions and additions (April 2023) apply primarily to books purchased in Mexico. Books purchased more recently via Amazon are the latest printing at the time of purchase (check for any later revisions), and Kindle editions should automatically update whenever minor revisions are made.

page 16: Villa Ana Victoria “c. 1905″ should be “c. 1897″

page 41: figures for inheritance values are in pesos. [and exchange rate at the time was 2 pesos to a US dollar]

page 45: Musician Mike Laure’s former home (Acapulco 30) is now a museum in his honor.

page 56: “Rafael de la Mora (Villa Carmen)” should be “brother of Roberto de la Mora (Villa Carmen)”

page 74: Box “George Edward King”Box “George Edward King” as printable pdf file
should read:
“George Edward King (1852–1912) was a progressive British architect who moved first to the US and then to Mexico. He practiced in the US for about twenty years, and designed a number of grand buildings there, including several private residences in Boulder, Colorado; Old Main at Colorado Agricultural college (now Colorado State University) in Fort Collins; the Tabor opera house, post office and hotel, all in Leadville, Colorado; and a number of offices and residences in El Paso, Texas.2
In the 1890s, King set up shop in Mexico City, with Charles Grove Johnson, as King & Johnson. King later established offices in several cities, including Guadalajara, Durango and Chihuahua. In 1908, King managed the Guadalajara office personally, with son Arthur in charge of the Mexico City office.3 King undertook numerous major commissions. He designed the former customs house (now Museo Histórico) in Ciudad Juárez; theaters in Zacatecas, Durango and Chihuahua; and remodeled the Correo Mayor, the main post office in Mexico City, as well as the Government Palace and Degollado Theater in Guadalajara.4
In Chapala, King was responsible for Villa Tlalocan and Casa Braniff, and may have had a hand in other buildings of the period.
When the Revolution began in 1910, King and his family fled to Texas, where both George and his wife, Harriet, died two years later.”

page 139: The first two paragraphs have been expanded to read:
“In the first block north on Calle Zaragoza is the house that English author D. H. Lawrence rented in 1923 from hotelier Antonio Mólgora. The original name for this street was Calle de la Pesquería (“Fishing street”) because it is where local fishermen repaired their nets and hung them out to dry.
The house, at Zaragoza 307, is thought to date back to the nineteenth century and is where the great novelist wrote the first draft of The Plumed Serpent. Lawrence and his wife, Frieda, rented the house—then only a single-story dwelling equidistant between the edge of town and the beach—from the start of May 1923 until early July. The eight residential lots immediately to the north were sold only a few years earlier.”

page 143: Paseo Ramón Corona 11 [designed by Castellanos Lambley] is now (2023) the Hotel Boutique Villa Guadalupe.

page 149: The drawing of the Hotel Plaza is indeed the work of noted Norwegian-American architect Arne Dehli.

 Posted by at 11:36 am

Revisions and additions: Mexican Kaleidoscope: Myths, Mysteries and Mystique (2016)

 Mexican Kaleidoscope  Comments Off on Revisions and additions: Mexican Kaleidoscope: Myths, Mysteries and Mystique (2016)
Apr 082015
 

These revisions and additions (April 2023) apply primarily to books purchased in Mexico. Books purchased more recently via Amazon are the latest printing at the time of purchase (check for any later revisions), and Kindle editions should automatically update whenever minor revisions are made.

page 2, paragraph 4: “potatoes” should read “sweet potatoes”

page 2, paragraph 4: “they also domesticated dogs, rabbits and turkeys for their meat.” should read “they also domesticated and/or managed dogs, rabbits and turkeys for their meat.”

page 73, paragraph 3: “15 million pesos” should be “15 million dollars” (though the peso and dollar were close to par at the time)

page 77, line 1: “Paso del Norte (now El Paso)” should read “Paso del Norte (now Cd. Juárez)

page 88, paragraph 3, line 4: delete the word “airport”

page 92, paragraph 2, line 11: “Tomás Braniff” should read “Thomás Braniff”

 

 Posted by at 11:36 am

Revisions and additions: Lake Chapala Through the Ages: An Anthology of Travelers’ Tales (2008)

 Lake Chapala Through the Ages, an Anthology of Travellers' Tales  Comments Off on Revisions and additions: Lake Chapala Through the Ages: An Anthology of Travelers’ Tales (2008)
Apr 082015
 

These revisions and additions (April 2023) apply primarily to books purchased in Mexico. Books purchased more recently via Amazon are the latest printing at the time of purchase (check for any later revisions), and Kindle editions should automatically update whenever minor revisions are made.

Click here for a single printable pdf file with revised versions of the following pages: 128, 157, 161, 188, 192, 199. This pdf file includes all the revisions in RED below.

page 128: page has been rewritten to read:

“A Gringo”, an English traveler about whom very little is known, arrived in Mexico in 1883. “A Gringo” is believed to be the pen name of Charles Manwell St Hill, born in Trinidad in 1849, who died in Mexico between 1891 and 1901. In the preface, he states that “my object is simply to give a plain account of several years experience in the country, to show its recent progress and to enable the reader to judge the future.” He also writes that “prolonged periods of travel over the greater part of its territory, by rail, stagecoach and steamer, on horseback and in canoes have afforded me exceptional facilities for studying the country and all classes of the people.”
One reviewer described this as an “interesting little book descriptive of life and travel in Mexico from 1883 until a recent date”. He continued “We congratulate the author on the felicitous manner in which he has performed his task” in presenting the “Mexico of today” to us. “His work is a pleasantly written handbook, its only defect is the want of a map, and this is really unpardonable.”
“A. Gringo” was an observant and enthusiastic visitor. He even saw fit to remark on the ready availability of lottery tickets “at every corner” with prizes from one to 100,000 dollars”. His acceptance of lottery tickets is in sharp contrast to the stance that Terry later felt obliged to adopt in the first edition of his famous handbook, when he wrote that, “mention of lotteries has been omitted intentionally because of the circulation of the Handbook in the United States–where anything in the nature of an advertisement of these games of chance is forbidden”. (Terry, 1909, p iv)
“A. Gringo”’s visit to Chapala definitely took place prior to 1889, though he did not write about it until later.
Taking a carriage, which ran weekly between Guadalajara and Chapala, a town on the border of the lake of that name, I set forth one morning, and, after climbing a hill, from which a grand view of the city and surrounding countryside was obtained, I reached Chapala.

page 129, source credit should read “A. Gringo.” 1892 Through The Land of the Aztecs Or Life and Travel In Mexico.

page 154, paragraph 2, line 1: should read “advertised”
page 154, paragraph 6, line 1: should read “first novel in English”

page 157, box, paragraph 1, lines 3-5 has been rewritten to read: “Crowe (1842–1903) was born in Kåfjord, northern Norway, and became British vice consul in Oslo on his father’s retirement from that position in 1875.”

page 157, box, paragraph 2, lines 5-7 should read “He built his home where the Montecarlo hotel is today, and also built Casa Albión (aka Villa Josefina and Casa Schnaider) and Villa Bela.”

page 161, box has been rewritten to read:
“Prior to 1898, visitors to the small fishing village of Chapala stayed either with friends or in the one small guesthouse belonging to Doña Trini. After 1890 or so, many well-to-do Guadalajara families and some foreigners, such as Septimus Crowe, built villas on the lakeshore. The village’s fame as a place to vacation grew steadily, boosted by a brief visit from President Díaz in 1896. Díaz returned in January 1904 to visit his in-laws, which only served to further boost Chapala’s appeal.
In the mid-1890s, Ignacio Arzapalo Palacios, who had recognized the curative properties of Chapala’s waters, and fallen in love with the natural beauty and favorable climate, began to build the village’s first major hotel.
The Hotel Arzapalo opened in March 1898 with 36 rooms, and acquired its own diligences, to ensure daily service between Chapala and the Atequiza railway station. Rates at the hotel, including meals, were between $2.50 and $4.00 a day, depending on the room, more than twice the daily rate across the street at the Posada Doña Trini.
Arzapalo’s businesses did so well that in 1908 he opened a second hotel, designed by Guillermo de Alba. This was first called the Hotel Palmera, later the Niza, and then the Nido hotel, before being occupied by municipal offices. Arzapalo died in 1909, leaving all his Chapala property to his seven-year-old granddaughter.
Several years earlier, Doña Trini’s guesthouse had been upgraded by Victor Huber to become the Hotel Huber (later the Gran Hotel Chapala). Located immediately opposite the church, it was demolished in about 1950 when Avenida Madero, the wide boulevard leading directly to the pier, was created.

page 168, First line should read “Ethel Brilliana Harley (1862-1940)” [Harley was born 1 June 1862.]

page 188, box, first paragraph has been rewritten to read:
“Guillermo de Alba (1874-1935) was the architect of many of the finest buildings in Chapala. Originally from Guadalajara, de Alba graduated as an engineer-surveyor before undertaking a trip to Chicago. Soon after his return, he began to build houses in Chapala.
In 1906 he completed his family residence, Mi Pullman, and was then commissioned by Ignacio Arzapalo (owner of the eponymous hotel) to design a second major hotel, the Hotel Palmera. By this time, de Alba had become the favored architect of many wealthy families from Guadalajara and designed several more noteworthy homes, including Villa Niza (1919).

page 191, last paragraph, line 2: “¾ hr.” should read “3-4 hr.”

page 192, box, lines 1-6 have been rewritten to read:
“One of the most dedicated promoters of Chapala as a resort was Paul Christian Schjetnan (1870-1945). Schjetnan, from Kristiansund in Norway, had several business enterprises in Mexico City, including the Norwegian-Mexican Company in 1901, prior to moving to Chapala in about 1908. His home in the village was the Villa Aurora.
Schjetnan later formed the Compañia de Fomento de Chapala, a company to promote and develop the village.”

page 199, box, has been rewritten to read:
“Porfirio Díaz had been President of Mexico for more than fifteen years when he visited Chapala in December 1896. When he revisited Chapala in January 1904, he stayed with Eduard Collignon, while his wife stayed with Lorenzo Elizaga, her brother-in-law. By this time, Díaz was in the twilight of his military and political career. Since he had first taken office in 1877, economic boom times had returned and the national budget had been balanced. Agricultural production had risen.
Massive investments, many of them emanating from foreign countries, had been made in mining and infrastructure, particularly railways. Politically, though, the country was in the hands of a dictator. Elections were rigged and public opinion ignored. A restricted, select group of advisors—called the científicos, but actually a group of lawyers and economists—had assumed more and more power. Nepotism was rampant. Massive land concessions had been made to foreign speculators and personal friends.
After his 1904 visit, Porfirio Diaz returned to Chapala at Easter time in 1905, 1908 and 1909, always staying with his in-laws at El Manglar. By that time, in gratitude for being given the concession of recently drained land, Manuel Cuesta Gallardo was reportedly planning to make a gift of Villa Tlalocán (designed by George Edward King) as a residence for the President and his family. However, when Díaz visited Lake Chapala in 1910, he did not stay at the town of Chapala but in several haciendas at the east end of the lake. In 1911, Díaz went into exile in Paris, never to return.”

 

 Posted by at 11:36 am

“Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury”, reviewed by James Tipton

 Book Reviews, Western Mexico, A Traveler's Treasury (4th edition)  Comments Off on “Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury”, reviewed by James Tipton
Mar 222014
 

For anyone who lives or travels in western Mexico, Tony Burton’s Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury is a “must have.” I own a well traveled copy of the third edition (2001) but I was delighted to see a fourth edition (2013) recently appear…in part because so many changes have taken place in the decade or so that has followed the third edition. For example, Guachimontones, the round pyramids west of Guadalajara, is described in far more detail than in the third addition.

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

There are lots of other changes as well. “A federal project to promote cultural tourism, called Pueblos Mágicos (Magic Towns), has brought much more publicity to no fewer than 15 towns featured in previous editions, including Tapalpa, Tequila, Mazamitla, San Sabastián del Oeste, Lagos de Moreno, Comala, Pátzcuaro, Santa Clara del Cobre and Angangueo.” In this past decade, the “quality of hotels has also improved, with the opening of excellent boutique hotels, some of them in quite unexpected places….”

New chapters have been added, new material has been added to existing chapters, maps and directions have been updated, new destinations, like Zacatecas, have been developed in detail.

Reading Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury, I felt that old desire rise up in me to be on the road, if only for a day or two. And so, even before writing this review, I called a young Mexican adventuress in Guadalajara. With the Kindle version of Western Mexico in hand we headed up a now modern highway to the charming old colonial town of Mazamitla, high in the mountains on the south side of Lake Chapala… and far more sophisticated than when I visited it twenty years ago. We even stayed in the inexpensive ($40US) boutique hotel Hostal Ciervo Rojo (a member of the Haciendas and Country Houses of Jalisco) recommended by Tony in his book.

A few days I went with a Chapala buddy on a day trip to Guachimontones, the round pyramids west of Guadalajara, passing trucks loaded with sugar cane, passing stands of a local potent drink called pajarete (a combination of milk, aguardiente, brown sugar, and sometimes chocolate) to arrive at what has become in a few short years, “one of the most astonishing archaeological sites anywhere n Mexico,” although only twenty years ago it was only “mounds of earth”. “The dramatic circular structures at Guachimontones, tiered in concentric terraces, are absolutely stunning….”

As Tony notes in his Introduction, this is “not intended to be a comprehensive guide to all the possible day trips and longer tours in the region…. Rather, it is a personal, idiosyncratic collection of my favorite places in Western Mexico….” The book is filled with whatever Tony finds fascinating… interesting and curious details of history and geography and geology and flora and fauna, and art and architecture and archaeology.

My kind of book!

Parts One and Two cover destinations within three hours of Guadalajara or the north shore of Lake Chapala…day trips. Part One begins with a history of the region from ancient times to the present, and discusses in detail Mezcala Island—“Lake Chapala’s National Monument”—and the “The Riviera communities: Chapala, Ajijic and Jocotepec,” although the spas at San Juan Cosalá, like the luxurious Monte Coxala with its large-scale pre-Hispanic replicas, are also included along with interesting places to stay, like the Los Dos Bed & Breakfast in Jocotepec, which was the home and studio of internationally famous Austrian artist Georg Rauch. Although Rauch passed away a few years ago, his charming wife Phyllis continues to operate their bed and breakfast.

Part One also takes us to the south shore of Lake Chapala, to places like Jiquilpan, a nondescript town that gave birth to two important Mexican presidents—Anastacio Bustamante and Lázaro Cárdenas), and several distinguished artists, like José Clemente Orozco, “one of the famous “Big Three” of Mexican Muralism.” Rafael Méndez (whom I heard when I was a teen, back in Ohio), “arguably the world’s greatest ever trumpet virtuoso,” was also born in Jiquilpan.

In Part Two we go west of Guadalajara to Guachimontones—those round pyramids—and to old haciendas (with concise histories of each), and to Tala, the sugar town, and to the giant stone spheres near Alhualulco. We also learn about mines…silver, opals, obsidian, and of course we visit the ever popular town of Tequila.

Part Three takes us on longer trips, best for overnight stays, to picturesque mountains towns like Tapalpa, and through pine forests to Mazamitla, and to Colima, a provincial state capital with important archaeological sites. Near Colima is Volcá de Fuego, sometimes called Volcán Colima, “the most active volcano in Mexico, and indeed one of the most active in the world, having erupted at least 30 times since 1576.”

Parts Four to Nine cover longer trips, to places like León, the “Leather Capital of Mexico,” and to Aguascalientes, and Zacatecas, and Bolaños, where the “old mining town revives its fortunes.” In Part Six we head west to the coast, to San Blas and Guayabitos (a youthful beach town for “a modestly-priced family holiday”) and even to Puerto Vallarta, “the resort that keeps reinventing itself.” In Part Seven, Barra de Navidad and Melaque—places once popular with pirates like Sir Francis Drake and Thomas Cavendish–are jewels not to be missed, and discovered by tourists only a few decades ago. Part Eight finds us on the road to Tzintzuntzan and to Pátzcuaro, a region where the first Bishop of Michoacán, Don Vasco de Quiroga, “based his approach on the Utopian principles espoused by Thomas More. He established a series of communities in the vicinity of Lake Pátzcuaro, the heart of Tarascan country, where the people would receive training in arts and crafts alongside religious instruction.” He allocated “specific crafts to specific places,” and thus today, Paracho is famous for its guitars, Tzintzuntzan (named after the sound a hummingbird makes with its wings) is famous for its pottery, Santa Clara for copper, and so on.

The final section, Part Nine, is mostly about the beloved monarch butterflies of Michoacán. “Every winter, some one hundred million monarch butterflies fly into Mexico from the U.S. and Canada. On arrival they congregate in a dozen localities high in the temperate pine and fir forests of the state of Michoacán.” Tony discusses the various reserves where visitors can witness the amazing number of monarchs, but Tony also insists that you sample the delicious local blue-corn tortillas. He also takes you farther west to Tuxpan and the country where John Huston shot Treasure of the Sierra Madre, staring Humphrey Bogart. The first bend on the narrow road from Tuxpan to Jungapeo is the bend to have a name on the official topographic survey map: La Curva de la Gringa, a rather dangerous 110-degree bend.

Leaving The Gringa’s Curve behind, you come to the best place to overnight or vacation in this “scenically-stunning part of Mexico,” at the Agua Blanca Canyon Resort, “a charming, small spa-hotel with just 20 rooms, its pools and lawns overlooking the deeply carved valley of the River Tuxpan.”

As in the earlier editions, Tony concludes with a useful appendix that has a “Table of elevations and approximate driving times,” for example from Chapala to Barra de Navidad is four hours and thirty minutes, from Chapala to Mazamitla is one hour and forty-five minutes. He also advises you to take a look at “online forums, such as those on MexConnect.com, to ask for up-to-date information and advice from people who have recently made the same journey or visited the same places.”

If you live in western Mexico or are thinking about living here or visiting here, make this the first book you buy. It has always been a favorite of mine and this latest edition of Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury is the best ever!

This review first appeared on MexConnect.com.

Ready to buy a copy?

The 4th (2013) edition of “Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury” is now available at select bookstores, and at:

Want to learn more?

San Sebastián del Oeste (Editorial Agata, Fotoglobo, 2001)

 ZZzzz-other  Comments Off on San Sebastián del Oeste (Editorial Agata, Fotoglobo, 2001)
Jan 072014
 

San Sebastián del Oeste (Editorial Agata, Fotoglobo, 2001).

san-sebastian-del-oesteFotografias del pueblo de San Sebastián del Oeste, con textos cortos. Muy interesante.

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Photographs of this magical town in the state of Jalisco, which is one of the most atmospheric mountain towns you could ever wish to see. Short texts (in Spanish) accompany the photos. A fine tribute to a wonderful place.

Softcover, 72 pages. Dimensions (in inches): 8.75 x 8.75 x 0.4. ISBN: 970-657-083-7 Price: US$20.00 (plus shipping, contact us for details)

Want to learn more about San Sebastián del Oeste?

 Posted by at 5:48 pm

Tapalpa Editorial Agata, Fotoglobo, 2001

 ZZzzz-other  Comments Off on Tapalpa Editorial Agata, Fotoglobo, 2001
Jan 072014
 

Tapalpa (Editorial Agata/Fotoglobo, 2001)

tapalpa-foto-globoShort articles on the locations set the scene for dozens of vintage sepia photographs of this historic village which has become a prime tourist destination (and is one of the “Magic Towns”) in Jalisco, Mexico. The book includes photos of Tapalpa, La Constancia, las Piedrotas, Los Frailes, Ferrería de Tula, Ojo Zarco, Arroyos, Buenavista, El Tacamo and Cascada el Saltito and Cascada de las Palomas.

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Softcover, 64 pages. Dimensions (in inches): 10.6 x 7.8 x 0.2; ISBN: 970-657-102-7 Price: US $15.00  (plus shipping, contact us for details)

Related books:

 

 

 

 Posted by at 5:31 pm

La Fiesta de San Andrés – Historia Visual

 ZZzzz-other  Comments Off on La Fiesta de San Andrés – Historia Visual
Jan 072014
 

La Fiesta de San Andrés – Historia Visual (Editorial Agata/SCJ/Conaculta, 2003). Visual history, with Spanish-language text, of the Huichol Fiesta de San Andrés, related and photographed by anthropologist Kal Muller.

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Famous photographer Kal (Kalman) Muller, who grew up in this Huichol Indian village in the sierras of Western Mexico, documents the relatively new tradition of celebrating the  fiesta of San Andrés. A highly unusual book, which could only have been produced by a great anthropologist-photographer.

fiesta-san-andresLa Fiesta de San Andrés nos muestra un rostro diferente del pueblo Wixarika (Huichol). La nación Wixarika famosa en todo el mundo por sus peculiares y arraigadas tradiciones, ritos, fiestas y cosmovisión, lo que ellos mismos llaman El Costumbre, se nos muestra inovadora, dinámica y adaptable. El antropólogo Kalman Muller, quien se crió en esta misma comunidad de San Andrós, y quien ha tenido contacto permanente con la misma durante toda su vida es el encargado de traernos estos vivencias. Mismas que nacieron por iniciativa de la propia comunidad, bajo la invitación de Rosalío Rivera Sánchez “Chalío”, para el legado histórico de las futuras generaciones Wixarikas y del mundo entero.

Language: Spanish. Softcover, 78 pages. Dimensions (in inches): 10.7 x 8.0 x 0.25 ISBN: 970-657-122-1 Price: US$20.00 plus shipping (contact us for details)

Want to learn more about the Huichol Indians?

 

 Posted by at 4:47 pm

The Jew with the Iron Cross: A Record of Survival in WWII Russia, by Georg Rauch

 ZZzzz-other  Comments Off on The Jew with the Iron Cross: A Record of Survival in WWII Russia, by Georg Rauch
Jan 072014
 

The Jew with the Iron Cross: A Record of Survival in WWII Russia, by Georg Rauch (iUniverse, Inc., 2006).

rauchPaperback: 269 pages; ISBN-13: 978-0595379873; dimensions: 8.8 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches; Price: US$15.00 plus shipping (contact us for details)

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

As a teenager, author Georg Rauch helped his mother protect the Jewish couples hidden in their Viennese attic. Officially classified as one-quarter Jewish, Rauch is drafted into Hitler’s army and sent to fight for causes he detests. Rauch finds himself near death many times, but his talents as a shortwave radio operator, chef, and even harmonica player all play a role in his survival. Captured by the Russians in the autumn of 1944, Rauch faces brutality and near-fatal illness as a POW. Recruitment for Russian espionage saves his life this time, but his story isn’t over yet.

Based on eighty letters sent home from the Russian trenches, The Wooden Spoon is a riveting tale of paradox and survival during World War II.

“A fascinating account of what it was like for a partial Jew to serve in the German military during World War II. Rauch’s experiences and hardships dramatically depict the physical and emotional struggles of a ‘Mischling’ during the Third Reich.”—Bryan Mark Rigg, author of Hitler’s Jewish Soldiers

“Not about combat tactics but about what it meant to be in an army at war. Rauch has put a human face on aspects of the war that are usually only referred to in passing.”—Tom Houlihan, WWII cartographer

Georg Rauch was a successful professional artist who exhibited extensively in Europe, the United States and Mexico. Rauch and his wife, Phyllis, made their home overlooking Lake Chapala in the central highlands of Mexico for more than thirty years.

Want to learn more about this very interesting artist?

Jalisco en el progreso de México (1947)

 ZZzzz-other  Comments Off on Jalisco en el progreso de México (1947)
Jan 072014
 

Jalisco en el progreso de México – aportación a la obra de gobierno del Lic. J. Jesús Gónzalez Gallo. 6. Estudios Fundamentales. Published in Guadalajara, Jalisco, 1947.

gonzalez-gallo-jalisco-en-el-progreso-de-mexicoPaper bound. Papel cultural. 287 pp. Some minor stains and marks, but no annotations, notes or signatures.

Includes chapters:

  • Cronología Jalisciense by Prof. Ramón García Ruiz
  • Estudio Demográfico by Srta . Aurora P. Magallon
  • Estudio Económico de la Industria by Juan Victor Verges
  • Economía Agrícola y Ganadera Forestal de Caza y Pesca by Lic. Francisco Arguellos Castañeda
  • Comercio y Transportes by Lic. Augusto Avalos Lemus
  • Politica Hacendaria by Srts. Lic. María Steimpress Esponda.

(1947)

RARE. Price US$20.00 plus shipping. Please contact us for rates.

 Posted by at 10:18 am

“A visit to Don Otavio, A Mexican journey” by Sybille Bedford (Eland, 1982).

 ZZzzz-other  Comments Off on “A visit to Don Otavio, A Mexican journey” by Sybille Bedford (Eland, 1982).
Jan 072014
 

A visit to Don Otavio, A Mexican journey, by Sybille Bedford  (Eland, 1982).

bedford-don-otavio-red319 pages. Price: US$8.00 plus shipping. Please contact us for rates.

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

This is the classic travel account based on a prolonged visit to Mexico (principally the area around Lake Chapala) in the early 1950s by the fine British travel writer Sybille Bedford. Slight crease to top right of front cover; tiny stain on frontispiece; otherwise a clean, tight copy with no apparent markings.

 Posted by at 10:14 am

A visit to Don Otavio by Sybille Bedford

 ZZzzz-other  Comments Off on A visit to Don Otavio by Sybille Bedford
Jan 072014
 

A visit to Don Otavio, A Mexican odyssey, by Sybille Bedford  (Eland, 2002).

bedford-don-otavio-grey312 pages. Price: US$8.00 plus shipping. Please contact us for rates.

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

This is the classic travel account based on a prolonged visit to Mexico (principally the area around Lake Chapala) in the early 1950s by the fine British travel writer Sybille Bedford. Former owner’s signature on frontispiece; otherwise a clean, tight copy with no apparent markings.

 Posted by at 10:06 am

Tapalpa – Pueblo mágico (Editorial Agata, Fotoglobo, 2001)

 ZZzzz-other  Comments Off on Tapalpa – Pueblo mágico (Editorial Agata, Fotoglobo, 2001)
Jan 042014
 

Tapalpa – Pueblo mágico (“Tapalpa – Magic Town”), was published by Editorial Agata/Fotoglobo in 2001.

tapalpaThis photo book with captions in Spanish has beautiful full-color photos of this magical mountain town. (Fotografias del pueblo mágico de Tapalpa con textos cortos).

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Softcover, 143 pages. Dimensions (in inches): 11.0 x 8.5 x 0.4.

ISBN: 970-657-088-8 Price: US$35.00 (plus shipping, contact us for details)

Related books:

Tapalpa  (Editorial Agata, Fotoglobo, 2001) -64 pp; sepia photos

 

 Posted by at 6:12 pm