The Last Good Neighbor

Mexico in the Global Sixties

The Last Good Neighbor

American Encounters/Global Interactions

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Book Pages: 424 Illustrations: 34 illustrations Published: May 2020

Author: Eric Zolov

History > World History, Latin American Studies > Mexico, Politics > International Relations

In The Last Good Neighbor Eric Zolov presents a revisionist account of Mexican domestic politics and international relations during the long 1960s, tracing how Mexico emerged from the shadow of FDR's Good Neighbor policy to become a geopolitical player in its own right during the Cold War. Zolov shows how President Adolfo López Mateos (1958–1964) leveraged Mexico's historical ties with the United States while harnessing the left's passionate calls for solidarity with developing nations in a bold attempt to alter the course of global politics. During this period, Mexico forged relationships with the Soviet Bloc, took positions at odds with US interests, and entered the scene of Third World internationalism. Drawing on archival research from Mexico, the United States, and Britain, Zolov gives a broad perspective on the multitudinous, transnational forces that shaped Mexican political culture in ways that challenge standard histories of the period.


The Last Good Neighbor is the best and deepest account of Mexican politics and foreign relations in those key years of transition from the late 50s to the early 60s. It is the result of Eric Zolov's long years of work in these areas, and that deep knowledge shows in his deft combination of political and cultural analysis.” — Patrick Iber, author of Neither Peace nor Freedom: The Cultural Cold War in Latin America

“Beautifully written and engaging, The Last Good Neighbor offers a history of Mexico that is at once local and global, international and transnational. It is required reading for anyone interested in Mexican politics and foreign relations in the long sixties, within the Americas and beyond. In positioning Mexico at the heart of the global sixties, Eric Zolov adds significantly to our understanding of Latin America's relationship with the Third World during the Cold War.” — Tanya Harmer, author of Allende’s Chile and the Inter-American Cold War


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Eric Zolov is Professor of History at Stony Brook University. He is coeditor of Fragments of a Golden Age: The Politics of Culture in Mexico since 1940, also published by Duke University Press, and author of Refried Elvis: The Rise of Mexican Counterculture.

Table of Contents Back to Top
List of Abbreviations  ix
Acknowledgments  xiii
Introduction. Mexico in the Global Sixties  1
1. Mexico's "Restless" Left and the Resurrection of Lázaro Cárdenas  21
2. "Luniks and Sputniks in Chapultepec!": The 1959 Soviet Exhibition and Peaceful Coexistence in Mexico  55
3. Mexico's New Internationalism: Regional Leadership amid the Tumult of the Cuban Revolution  80
4. The "Spirit of Bandung" in Mexican National Politics  108
5. The "Preferred Revolution": Confronting the Crisis of Mexican Neutralism  140
6. New Left Splits: The Implosion of the Movimiento de Liberación Nacional  162
7. Apex of Internationalism: Pursuing a Global Pivot  197
8. The Last Good Neighbor  246
Epilogue. Into the Global 1970s  285
Notes  299
Bibliography  373
Index  389
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