C.M. Mayo will be in Austin Thursday, June 11, 2009 for a reading, discussion, and book signing event at Book People at 7 PM. Mayo’s new novel is based on a true history that perhaps only a few US readers know. The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire is a novel based on elusive history that even Mexicans might not all-together recall. I, myself, know pieces of this history only because I am often frustrated with the US celebration of Mexico’s Cinco de Mayo and attempt to educate myself on its history and significance from a country’s self-realization and social position. What is the US celebrating? Does anyone know? Maybe. Not certain. Vaguely. Oh yes, Mexico’s Fourth of July…, right?!?
Well no, not exactly. In brief, in 1861 Great Britain, France, and Spain joined forces in an attempt to punish Mexico for defaulting on its loans. It did not take long before the French army was the only one remaining in an attempt to conquer Mexico and establish an empire. During a heroic battle in the mountains of Mexico as far as the state of Puebla, Benito Juárez’s troops defeated the overpowering, well-fortified, and much bigger French army on the 5th of May, 1862. It did not take long for the French army to return and install Maximilian von Habsburg, Austrian archduke, to the restored Mexican throne. Maximilian’s arrival in Veracruz was received with violent aversion from the Mexican liberals refusing to recognize his rule. Despite the undesirable welcome Maximilian recognized the beauty of Mexico and its culture and accepted it as his own. Throughout his imminent downfall, capture, and sentence of death, Maximilian continued to fight for his Mexico, not wanting to give up for a beloved country that had become part of his Being. His last words reported as, “Mexicans! Today I die for a fair cause: the freedom and independence of Mexico. May God allow my spilling blood to put an end forever to the disgraces of my new homeland. ¡Viva México!”
I look forward to reading The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire as it promises to complete this brief French influence in Mexico’s cultural and social history. I am interested in C. M. Mayo’s viewpoint in this respect and anticipate a fascinating reading and discussion tonight at Book People. Join C. M. Mayo on the discussion and have an enlightening read.