The village of San José de Gracia is not mentioned in any history of Mexico, nor is it referred to in any of the annals of the state of Michoacán. It is not to be found at all on most maps, and almost none show its correct location. It is an unknown point in space, in time, and in the consciousness of the Mexican republic.
In Luis González's classic history of the world of San José, he turns his attention in every direction: toward what is lasting and what is ephemeral, everyday and unusual, material and spiritual. The story is, to some extent, the story of rural life anywhere, in any age; to some extent it is peculiar to the world of the peasant all through Mexico's history; and to some extent it can be said to be true only of San José.
The history of San José is also the history of the village as victim of the megalopolis, not only in Mexico but everywhere in our time. With the small community will be lost traditions and a sense of continuity that may prove irreplaceable and essential to human wellbeing. While Luis González does not suggest that he knows what the fate of San José will be, one feels that he knows all too well, and that his questions are only "How?" and "How soon?"