Winner of the 2011 National Book Prize for Nonfiction from Grub Street and the 2012 International Latino Book Award for Best History / Political Book.
"Locals know the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, the 120-mile-wide strip of land
that connects the Yucatan Peninsula to Oaxaca and Veracruz, as
"Mexico's little waist." The region is a hotbed of environmental and
economic issues, such as the industrial shrimp farming that threatens
to leave behind "the coastal equivalent of a desert." Drawing on
research, extensive interviews, and firsthand experiences living there
in the early 2000s, Call, a translator of Mexican poetry and fiction,
portrays villagers' traditional ways of life in the throes of massive
change. (A Wal-Mart has already set up shop.) She cites Huatulco, a
former fishing village, as foreshadowing what may lie in store for the
isthmus: "more than 51,000 acres of beach, field, and forest became
federal government property, controlled by FONATUR, the national
tourism development agency." Villagers were expropriated, and two
residents who refused to leave their homes wound up murdered. Call is
never dry or academic; rather, she writes lively narrative, detailed
description, and engaging scenes that render her subjects--a
schoolteacher, fishermen, activists--three-dimensional. By relating the
lives and concerns of isthmus dwellers and the struggles they face, the
author raises awareness of globalization's effects on the village
-- Publishers Weekly
"Call's graceful movement between cultures demonstrates her
considerable skills as a writer, and especially as a translator. For
indeed she has a translator's ear.... Wendy Call's book is at once a
portrait and a piece of that resistance, and a warning to the rest of
the citizens of our global village."
-- The Iowa Review
"We should be grateful for Wendy Call's delightful, yet painfully
truthful, story of the challenges facing one of Mexico's lesser-known
-- Orion Magazine
"The book is full of color and life. When necessary, Call gives us
numbers, quantities, and economic analysis. But...the book is simple,
enlightening, and sensitizing. The economic discourse suggested by the
words 'Global Economy' in the title is in fact secondary to the
real-life stories of the 'Mexican Village.'"
-- Foreign Policy in Focus
About Wendy Call
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Published June 1, 2011
by University of Nebraska Press.
Business & Economics, History, Political & Social Sciences.