Like Mexico itself, the McNab family story tells of a rich mix of cultures—French, Scottish, Zapotec. The Thistle and the Rose captures that complexity, providing a unique lens through which to view a magnificent, complicated country during critical years of change.
In The Thistle and the Rose, author Catherine Nixon Cooke narrates the story of John George McNab, a handsome Scotsman, and Guadalupe Fuentes Nivon McNab, a beautiful Oaxacan, and how they fell in love against the impossible challenge of building the famous Tehuantepec Railroad across the malaria-ridden isthmus of Mexico.
Cooke weaves a rich tapestry using multiple threads—research by renowned Latin American scholar Teresa Van Hoy, documents and photographs found in the Pearson Archive in the United Kingdom, rare Mexican historic texts, personal interviews, family letters, diaries, photographs, and genealogical data from Ancestry.com.
The author provides a sense of the rough-and-tumble country in early twentieth-century Mexico and the danger and challenge of building a link between the two oceans. She gives further insight into the McNab family’s role in shaping Mexico’s oil and transportation infrastructure. A story about love and courage in revolutionary Mexico, The Thistle and the Rose narrates the journey of self-discovery for a family that dared to embark on this quest.