San Jose de Gracia: Mexican Village in Transition

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The village of San Jose de Gracia is not mentioned in any history of Mexico, nor is it referred to in any of the annals of the state of Michoacan. It is not to be found at all on most maps, and almost none show its correct location. It is an unknown point in space, in time, and in the consciousness of the Mexican republic. In Luis Gonzalez's classic history of the world of San Jose, he turns his attention in every direction: toward what is lasting and what is ephemeral, everyday and unusual, material and spiritual. The story is, to some extent, the story of rural life anywhere, in any age; to some extent it is peculiar to the world of the peasant all through Mexico's history; and to some extent it can be said to be true only of San Jose. The history of San Jose is also the history of the village as victim of the megalopolis, not only in Mexico but everywhere in our time. With the small community will be lost traditions and a sense of continuity that may prove irreplaceable and essential to human wellbeing. While Luis Gonzalez does not suggest that he knows what the fate of San Jose will be, one feels that he knows all too well, and that his questions are only How? and How soon?