Peregrina: Love and Death in Mexico

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University of Texas Press, Apr 1, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 347 pages
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In the Yucatán, they never forgot Alma Reed. She arrived for the first time in 1923, on assignment for the New York Times Sunday Magazine to cover an archaeological survey of Mayan ruins. It was a contemporary Maya, however, who stole her heart. Felipe Carrillo Puerto, said to be descended from Mayan kings, had recently been elected governor of the Yucatán on a platform emphasizing egalitarian reforms and indigenous rights. The entrenched aristocracy was enraged; Reed was infatuated—as was Carrillo Puerto. He and Reed were engaged within months. Yet less than a year later—only eleven days before their intended wedding—Carrillo Puerto was assassinated. He had earned his place in the history books, but Reed had won a place in the hearts of Mexicans: the bolero "La Peregrina" remains one of the Yucatán's most famous ballads.

Alma Reed recovered from her tragic romance to lead a long, successful life. She eventually returned to Mexico, where her work in journalism, archaeology, and art earned her entry into the Orden del Aguila Azteca (Order of the Aztec Eagle). Her time with Carrillo Puerto, however, was the most intense of her life, and when she was encouraged (by Hollywood, especially) to write her autobiography, she began with that special period. Her manuscript, which disappeared immediately after her sudden death in 1966, mingled her legendary love affair with a biography of Carrillo Puerto and the political history of the Yucatán. As such, it has long been sought by scholars as well as romantics. In 2001, historian Michael Schuessler discovered the manuscript in an abandoned apartment in Mexico City. An absolutely compelling memoir, Peregrina restores Reed's place in Mexican history in her own words.

 

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Contents

1 Yucatán Assignment
71
2 Southward
79
3 Antillean Interlude
87
4 Caribbean Reflections
97
5 The Road to Kanasín
107
6 Ultima Thule
123
The Thrice Rebuilt
131
8 Land and Liberty
147
14 The Arena
221
15 Flowers of Stone
235
16 Civil Liberties
241
17 Social Justice
249
18 Homeward Journey
261
19 Mexican Crusade in Manhattan
267
20 Platonic Love
277
21 Foreboding Moments
285

9 Motul
165
10 Conflicts and Amenities
183
11 City of the Learned Itzáes
193
12 Ritmos del Mayab
207
13 Well of Sacrifice
215
22 Martyrdom and Infamy
301
23 Never Forgotten
309
Notes
315
Index
331
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About the author (2007)

MICHAEL K. SCHUESSLER is currently an independent scholar residing in Mexico City, where he writes on Mexican culture and literature.

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