How effective are the books The Alienist by Caleb Carr and The Underdogs by Mariano Azuela in recreating the temper of the times in New York and Mexico respectively?
Mariano Azuela's The Underdogs, published in 1915, is now recognized as the "classic story of the Mexican Revolution." It follows the story of Demetrio Macías as he works his way up to the rank of a general in Pancho Villa's army, with Villa and his forces positioned as heroes fighting on behalf of the poor people of Mexico. The novel accurately depicts and speaks out against post-revolutionary corruption in the Mexican government and examines the poverty that has impacted Mexican citizens well into the twenty-first century.
Caleb Carr's The Alienist, published in 1994, is set in New York City in 1896. Although a work of fiction, this novel is a historical one in the sense that it identifies the new ideas of the time around detective work, particularly the creation of the term "serial killer." The narrative also follows the sophisticated (and very new) forensic investigational methods that had not yet become popular, including fingerprinting and the Bertillon system, and introduces a character as the one of the first female additions to the New York Police Department.