El General

PBS Premiere: July 20, 2010Check the broadcast schedule »

Links & Books


El General
Visit the filmmakers' website to learn more about the film, the filmmaker and crew and upcoming screenings.


Plutarco Elias Calles

Mexconnect: "Plutarco Elias Calles: Crusader in Reverse"
An electronic English-language magazine, Mexconnect publishes articles on a variety of topics, including the history and culture of Mexico Read this brief portrait of Plutarco Elias Calles by historian Jim Tuck. (October 9, 2008)

Internet Archive: "Mexico Before the World"
A book collection of Calles' public documents and speeches, in English, is provided online by the Internet Archive.

Plutarco Elias Calles and the Mexican Revolution (Lanham, Md.: Rowman and Littlefield, 2006)
In this book, author Jüergen Buchenau draws on a rich array of archival evidence from Mexico, the United States and Europe to explore Calles' origins and political trajectory, which ultimately led to his reformist yet authoritarian presidency from 1924 to 1928. After his term as president, Calles continued to exert broad influence as his country's foremost political figure; indeed, many of the institutions and laws forged during his tenure survive today.

Mexican History and Culture

Mexican History
This website is rich source of information, timelines and links to other resources about Mexico history.

History.com: "Mexico Timeline"
History.com's section on Mexico offers a timeline spanning from 8,000 BC to the present as well as special sections on the Mexican Revolution, Plutarco Elias Calles and other prominent figures of the era.


The Course of Mexican History (New York: Oxford University Press, 2002)
A leading textbook on Mexican History, this easy-to-use 700-plus-page volume by Michael C. Meyer, William L. Sherman and Susan M. Deeds covers everything from pre-Columbian times to the present, and is richly illustrated with photographs, drawings and maps.

Mexico: Biography of Power: A History of Modern Mexico, 1810-1996 (New York: HarperCollins, 1997)
Author Enrique Krauze analyzes historical power struggles in Mexico, from insurgent priests in 1810 to the Mexican Revolution in 1910, to machinations of the 20th century. With a section devoted to Calles.

The Mexico Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 2003)
A diverse collection of more than 80 pieces, edited by Joseph M. Gilbert and Timothy J. Henderson, The Mexico Reader brings together poetry, folklore, fiction, polemics, photoessays, songs, political cartoons, memoirs, satire and scholarly writing. Works by Octavio Paz and Carlos Fuentes are included along with pieces about such well-known figures as the larger-than-life revolutionary leaders Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata. The book also highlights the perspectives of many other groups in Mexican society.

Villa and Zapata: A History of the Mexican Revolution (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2000)
Ostensibly a dual biography of rebels Francisco (Pancho) Villa and Emiliano Zapata, this lively, detailed volume by Frank McLynn also provides a careful analysis of the Mexican Revolution, giving special consideration to peripheral forces like economic trends, government corruption and foreign influence.

Mexico Today

The New York Times: "Mexico"
The Mexico topics page from the Times accrues the latest headlines from the country. It also highlights multimedia features about different aspects of Mexican culture and links to a variety of resources about Mexico.

BBC: "Mexico Country Profile"
The BBC profile provides basic current information about Mexico, including links to relevant news stories and information on current Mexican President Felipe Calderon.

Mexico Today
This blog is updated often with stories and news summaries from Mexico, giving an overview of current affairs in the country in English.

The World Bank: "Mexico"
The World Bank's Mexico country brief offers a general overview of the country, focusing specifically on Mexico's economy and the ways in which the World Bank is supporting its needs.


Mexico: A Country Study (Washington, GPO for the Library of Congress, 1996)
The Library of Congress has made available online the text from its 1996 publication, edited by Tim L. Merrill and Ramon Miro. The comprehensive resource covers everything from Mexican history to current government structure, social issues, and foreign relations.

Mexico (New York: Fawcett, 1992)
James Michener's sprawling novel, written over a 30-year period, gives the reader a picture of both contemporary and historical Mexico.

Electoral Reform in Mexico

Justice in Mexico Project
A research project dedicated to the rule of law and justice reform in Mexico, the Justice in Mexico Project is run by the University of San Diego's Trans-Border Institute. The website provides access to justice news and resources, maps highlighting drug killings, criminal charges and more, and answers to frequently asked questions about violence and justice in Mexico.

ACE: The Electoral Knowledge Network: "Mexico"
ACE is an organization that focuses on fair and transparent elections around the world. Its Mexico page provides information on the electoral process in the country, and links to reports and news articles about the topic.

Council for Foreign Relations (CFR): "Mexico"
The nonpartisan think tank's section on Mexico provides a trove of resources about the country, including articles and in-depth reports by CFR's experts on Mexico's elections, relationship with the U.S. and more.

Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars: "Mexico Institute"
The Wilson Center is a nonpartisan think tank and policy research institution, and its Mexico Institute provides research and scholarship about Mexico and its relationship to the United States. Explore publications and news articles about topics including Politics and Elections in Mexico and see a schedule of upcoming events about Mexico organized by the Institute.

Tracing Your Roots

This online resource offers historical records, photos, stories, family trees and a community of a million participants. Learn to build a family tree and search through archives, collaborate on with others on your project and search public records for your family's information.

TIME: "Reluctantly, Joel Stein Discovers His Roots"
In this article, columnist Joel Stein comments on the enduring fascination with family genealogy and embarks on a quest to discover his own family roots. (March 1, 2010)



POV: Presumed Guilty
Imagine being picked up off the street, told you have committed a murder you know nothing about and then finding yourself sentenced to 20 years in jail. In December 2005 this happened to Toño Zúñiga in Mexico City and, like thousands of other innocent people, he was wrongfully imprisoned. The award-winning Presumed Guilty is the story of two young lawyers and their struggle to free Zuniga. With no background in film, Roberto Hernández and Layda Negrete set about recording the injustices they were witnessing, enlisting acclaimed director Geoffrey Smith (The English Surgeon, POV 2009) to tell this dramatic story. (July 27, 2010)

POV: Al Otro Lado (The Other Side)
The proud Mexican tradition of corrido music -- captured in the performances of Mexican band Los Tigres del Norte and the late Chalino Sanchez -- provides both heartbeat and backbone to Natalia Almada's rich examination of songs, drugs and dreams along the U.S./Mexico border. Al Otro Lado follows Magdiel, an aspiring corrido composer from the drug capital of Mexico, as he faces two difficult choices to better his life: to traffic drugs or to cross the border illegally into the United States. (August 1, 2006)

NOW: "Obama's Border Fence"
n 2006, Congress authorized the Secure Fence Act -- a multi-billion dollar plan to build hundreds of miles of fencing along the southern border of the U.S. The plan has been billed as the way to stem the flow of undocumented immigrants and provide security from potential terrorism. But what was built to fight illegal immigration has turned into a nightmare for many Americans living along the U.S.-Mexico border. NOW Senior Correspondent Maria Hinojosa travels to Texas to meet border families who fear losing their property, their safety, and their way of life. (July 3, 2009)

American Masters: "José Clemente Orozco: Man of Fire"
The Mexican-born muralist Orozco (1883-1949) was a contemporary of Plutarco Elias Calles (1877-1945), and Orozco's complex, controversial work was indelibly affected by the hardships and strife of the era. (September 19, 2007)

Beyond the Border
The documentary film Beyond the Border - Más Allá de la Frontera traces the painful transition made by four sons in the Ayala family who leave their close-knit family in Mexico to see "una vida mejor" (a better life) in Kentucky. Struggling to fit in, they find a different version of the American dream. (2002)


"Mexico Drug Violence In Backdrop Of Major Elections"
Mexico's election season has been a violent one -- a leading candidate was murdered, and some candidates cast their ballots in bulletproof vests. Did the drug violence mar the elections? Was this an anti-incumbency wave, as some have portrayed it? Host Michel Martin speaks with Jesus Esquivel. He is a Washington correspondent for Processo; a political magazine about what is next for Mexico. (July 7, 2010)

Weekend Edition: "Mexico Drug War Leaves Hundreds Dead"
During the last two weeks in Mexico, drug violence has claimed more lives than at any time since President Felipe Calderon declared war on the cartels in 2007. Hundreds of people are dead and local politicians are calling for federal police to patrol the streets. (June 20, 1010)

Morning Edition: "Pain Of Global Downturn Persists In Mexico"
As the U.S. appears to be pulling out of recession, Mexico's economy is shrinking at its fastest pace since the Great Depression. The effects of the downturn are being felt across the nation, in all sectors of society and in most industries. (November 5, 2009)

All Things Considered: "Mexico City's Soundtrack A Symphonic Cacophony"
Mexico City is a noisy metropolis of more than 20 million people, known for its colonial church bells and relentless traffic. But amid the noise, it's also a place where sounds have meaning. (June 25, 2009)

Morning Edition: "Vendors Drive Mexico's 'Informal' Economy"
An estimated half of all jobs in Mexico City come from the informal economy. Millions of people work on the streets here doing odd jobs, selling and buying anything they can. (June 13, 2006)