Professor Kelly Lytle Hernández explores the linked histories of the U.S. and Mexico

A book cover and a picture of the author.
Kelly Lytle Hernández is a professor of history and African-American studies at UCLA. Her latest book is “Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire & Revolution in the Borderlands.”
Photo by Sebastian Hernández | Cover courtesy of W.W. Norton

Many Americans don’t know that the histories of the United States and Mexico are inseparably intertwined. But historian Kelly Lytle Hernández says you cannot fully understand one without the other.

We fought wars over the same territories, influenced each other’s politics, and remain deeply connected economically. Our stories circle around each other, shaping immigration policies and policing. And if we don’t know how we got here, says Hernández, we won’t know how to move forward.

Her new book, “Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, And Revolution In The Borderlands” tells the true story of a Mexican band of rebels, the magonistas, who helped launch the Mexican Revolution in 1910 and whose actions still affect the borderlands today. She talked about what she learned while researching her book and why she believes the U.S. ignores its history with Mexico at its own peril with host Kerri Miller on this week’s Big Books and Bold Ideas.

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