This well-written, deeply researched book provides a fine-grained analysis of Mexico’s agrarian reform and how it shaped modern Mexico. Born out of social forces unleashed during the Mexican Revolution, the country’s resulting agrarian reform was the largest land redistribution program in the history of the Western Hemisphere. Engaging the messy process of implementing such a dramatic redistribution of landed wealth from its revolutionary impetus to its pragmatic implementation, the author provides a dynamic social, legal, and institutional history told from both the bottom up and top down.

One of the main objectives of the book is to explain how the executive branch emerged preeminent over the judiciary as the main arbiter and power behind the country’s historic agrarian reform. Unraveling the complicated history of land tenure in Mexico, the author succeeds in explaining in exemplary fashion how the authority to act on issues of land rights went from the usual...

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