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Author John Ross to speak at NMSU Library

Author, journalist and activist John Ross will read from his new book "El Monstruo: Dread and Redemption in Mexico City" at 2 p.m. on Feb. 23 in Room 225 in Zuhl Library. The free presentation is sponsored by the New Mexico State University Library and NMSU's Center for Latin American and Border Studies.


The book is a personal and phantasmagorical retelling of Mexico City's history. Ross has lived and worked in this "mother of all mega-cities" for 25 years while covering momentous, tragic and hopeful events from Mexico for readers all over the world.

Born in Greenwich Village in 1938, Ross grew up in a lively cultural ambiance informed by jazz, abstract expressionism painting, radical politics and Beat poetry. At 18, Ross was a younger member of the Beat Generation, reading his poetry in Village bars with the great bass player Charles Mingus.

In 1957, Ross hit the road, following the Beat trail that Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg and other had blazed to Mexico City. He soon took up residence in an indigenous community in Michoacan, where he settled down to write the Great American Novel.

Upon his return to the U.S. six years later, Ross became an activist in tenant organizing, building anti-racist coalitions and civil disobedience against the Vietnam War. He then took up freelance journalism, reporting on environmental politics and social movements around the world.

Following the 1985 earthquake in Mexico City, Ross returned to the city and took up residence on the ancient Aztec island of Tenochtitlan, where he still lives.

Now the dean of foreign correspondents in Mexico, Ross continues to report for Noticias Aliadas (Peru), the San Francisco Bay Guardian and the Texas Observer, and is a regular contributor to the Progressive, the Nation and the online publication Counterpunch, as well as the Mexican Left daily La Jornada. He broke the story of the Zapatista rebellion weeks before it occurred.

His books include the cult classic "Murdered by Capitalism" and several books about the Zapatistas, including the 1995 American Book Award winner "Rebellion from the Roots." He continues to publish chapbooks of poetry, and has appeared with Beat poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti at readings in both Mexico City and San Francisco.

Now an elder in his seventh decade, Ross has never considered ceasing his life as an activist, and said "Movement is what keeps me alive. I'm going to keep marching until I drop. I believe another world is possible."

For more information contact NMSU Latin American and Border Studies Librarian Molly Molloy at (575) 646-6931 or mollymolloy@gmail.com.