Thursday, January 23, 2014

M.M. McAllen's Maximilian and Carlota: Europe's Last Empire in Mexico

***Update January 2015:
Listen in to my interview with the author here.

M.M. McAllen has just published Maximilian and Carlota: Europe's Last Empire in Mexico, available from Trinity University Press. I read it in draft form and thought it a superb addition to the bibliography. If you happen to be anywhere near San Antonio, Texas, hie on over to The Twig for her book presentation on Saturday February 8, 2014 at 4 pm, and get your signed first edition. It is sure to be a gripping read-- and a collector's item.

(The Twig is a lovely little bookstore. I read there myself back in 2009 on tour for my novel, The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire. As I recall there are several good restaurants around the corner-- so why not make a night of it? The event at the Twig is free and open to the public, by the way, and does include refreshments.)

Check out these bodacious reviews for M.M. McAllen's opus:

"On the 150th anniversary of the installation of Austria’s Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian von Habsburg as emperor of Mexico, McAllen offers an authoritative, detailed, and engrossing account of the rise and fall of Mexico’s Second Empire... McAllen ably demonstrates how the Second Empire’s collapse was one of the most spectacular personal tragedies and political failures of the 19th century." — Publishers Weekly

"This is a thorough, complete history of Mexico’s second empire. The author leaves nothing untouched."
— William H. Beezley, professor of history at the University of Arizona
"Maximilian and Carlota is a deeply researched book about a period of Mexican history that, while vital for understanding modern Mexico and its relations with the United States and Europe, is of perhaps unparalleled cultural, political, and military complexity for such a short period."
— C. M. Mayo, author of The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire
“Mexican history offers a phantasmagoria that beggars the imagination. Most writers seem to focus on three distinct eras: Conquest, Independence, and Revolution. But perhaps the most surreal, tragic, yet oddly comedic era in Mexico has gone largely unexamined, until now. M. M. McAllen has written an important book that not only reads like a novel of fantastic inventions but is key to understanding the soul of Mexico today. ” — Luis Albertio Urrea, author of The Hummingbird’s Daughter

And with many thanks to Gayle Brennan Spencer, who blogs at Postcards from San Antonio, I have been alerted to what looks like an excellent show at the Witte Museum in San Antonio, to go along with McAllen's book. Here's the press release:

New Exhibit, Maximilian and Carlota: Last Empire in Mexico, Accompanies Book by Mary Margaret McAllen 
SAN ANTONIO— The Witte Museum presents a new exhibit, Maximilian and Carlota: Last Empire in Mexico, opening February 1 through March 30, 2014 in the Betty Coates Textile Gallery. The rule of Maximilian and Carlota, Emperor and Empress of Mexico in the 1860s, is examined in this exhibit and accompanies the release of the book, Maximilian and Carlota: Europe’s Last Empire in Mexico written by South Texas scholar Mary Margaret McAllen, published by Trinity University Press. 
The exhibition features art and artifacts that have never been exhibited from the Witte’s permanent collections and several important private collections. Formal portraits of Maximilian and Carlota that were recently donated to the Witte Museum will be on public view for the first time. Newspaper articles, vintage photographs and objects from the Mexican Royal Court of the Emperor and Empress of Mexico will also be displayed.
Maximilian and Carlota: Last Empire in Mexico is generously supported by the City of San Antonio Department for Culture and Creative Development. The exhibit is included with general museum admission.
With over 400,000 visitors annually, the Witte Museum promotes lifelong learning through innovative exhibitions, programs and collections in natural history, science and South Texas heritage. For more information visit 


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