Apparently Benito Juarez is considered a ‘Hero of Modern Mexico’… which is rather embarrassing, considering I’d never heard of him before picking up this book. But what Benito Juarez gave me was a perfectly succinct account of his life – and why he really was a hero.
Benito Juarez was born into 1800s Spain-controlled Mexico; he was the son of a poor villager who could not afford to give any of his children education. But Benito yearned to know how to read and write and dreamt of a day when he could go to school and learn these wonders.
The opportunity came when Benito, ashamed at having lost one of his Uncle’s sheep, decided to run away to the large city of Oaxaca. There he was taken in by the Don his older sister worked for and the man, feeling pity for and interest in Benito, agreed to pay for his education.
At first Benito wanted to be a Priest – a man of learning. But as he observed the heavy-handed way in which the people of Oaxaca were treated by their rulers, he decided to become a politician instead and see if he could make life easier and better for his people. For the next fifty years he labored in this capacity, rising to the office of President of Mexico, and always using his power to fight for the betterment of his people. Although often disgusted by the political entanglements he found himself in, he never gave up in the pursuit of his peoples’ freedom.
Review © 2015 Laura Verret