Books for changing the world
In Combat
The Life of Lombardo Toledano

Vicente Lombardo Toledano was the founder of numerous labour union organisations in Mexico and Latin America between the 1920s and the 1960s. He was not only an organiser but also a broker between the unions, the government, and business leaders—an almost singular figure able to disentangle difficult, seemingly irreconcilable conflicts. He cooperated closely with the governments of Mexico and other Latin American nations and worked with the representatives of the Soviet Union when he considered it useful. This willingness to work across ideological divides meant that he was alternately seen as a government stooge or a communist, even though he was never a member of the Communist Party nor of any Mexican government administration.

Daniela Spenser's rousing new biography of Lombardo Toledano is the first to be based on his extensive private papers. In addition to this unprecedented access, Spenser also draws on primary sources from European, Mexican and American archives, and on extensive personal interviews. Her even-keeled portrayal of the man counters both previous hagiographies and vilifications that have come before it.