Epigraphs: Cosío Villegas, “La crisis de México,” 39; Rulfo, The Burning Plain and Other
1. Kourí, “Claroscuros de la reforma agraria mexicana,” Nexos en línea, http:// www . nexos
. com . mx / ? p = 14062, accessed February 22, 2016.
2. For a detailed history of the com pany and its operations, see Cerutti and Rivas Sada,
“El Grupo Industrial lala.”
3. Brunk, Emiliano Zapata, 43–44.
4. Clipping of Marshall Hail, “Cárdenas Hailed by Crowds as Messiah for Land Reforms,”
Washington Times, November 21, 1936, Archivo General de la Nación (agn), Ramo Presi-
denciales (rp), Lázaro Cárdenas (lc), 404.1/706, 922.
5. Enrique Vázquez Ávila, Laguna farmer and engineer, interview by the author, Torreón,
Coahuila, April 25, 2006.
6. As the general map at the front of this book shows, the Aguanaval River also waters the
Laguna; hence, the region is located in the Nazas- Aguanaval river basin (see map FM.1). The
flow of the Aguanaval River, however, is a fraction of that of the Nazas and will thus be men-
tioned only occasionally throughout this book. For a map of Mexico’s thirty- seven river
basins, see Comisión Nacional del Agua, Estadísticas del agua en México, 19.
7. I define environmental history as the study of the relationship between people—their
society, culture, and politics— and the environment, broadly defined, over time, and the his-
tory of technology as the study of how people have made and done things using diﬀ erent
kinds of techniques, objects, and materials that interact with society, culture, politics and the
environment over time.
8. Reuss and Cutcliﬀe, eds., The Illusory Boundary, vii, 1; Jørgensen, Jørgensen, and
Pritchard, eds., New Natures.
9. Mitchell, Rule of Experts, 34–35. For an explic itly envirotech history of the Rhône dur-
ing the late twentieth century, see Pritchard, Confluence.
10. Medina, da Costa Marques, and Holmes, eds., Beyond Imported Magic.
11. Latin American environmental historiography is now large and growing rapidly. For an
overview, see Carey, “Commodities, Colonial Science, and Environmental Change in Latin