Villa and Zapata: A History of the Mexican Revolution

Overview

Recounting the decade of bloody events that followed the eruption of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, Villa and Zapata explores the regional, international, cultural, racial, and economic strife that made the rebels Francisco (Pancho) Villa and Emiliano Zapata legends. Throughout this volume drama colludes with history, in a tale of two social outlaws who became legendary national heroes, yet?despite their triumph and only meeting, in 1914, in the Mexican capital?failed to make common cause and ultimately fell ...

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Overview

Recounting the decade of bloody events that followed the eruption of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, Villa and Zapata explores the regional, international, cultural, racial, and economic strife that made the rebels Francisco (Pancho) Villa and Emiliano Zapata legends. Throughout this volume drama colludes with history, in a tale of two social outlaws who became legendary national heroes, yet—despite their triumph and only meeting, in 1914, in the Mexican capital—failed to make common cause and ultimately fell victim to intrigues more treacherous than their own. 16 pages of black-and-white photographs bring this gripping narrative to life. "McLynn ... tells it so well ... you can hear the strains of he Mexican patriotic standard ‘Zacatecas' as you read it."—Austin American-Statesman "An admirably clear account of the chaos of revolution, its rivalries and bloody struggles...."—The Spectator "Informative and insightful ... feels less like a history than a great story, as exciting as a Saturday serial Western."—Publishers Weekly

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The Mexican Revolution began in 1910 and lasted for over a decade, a bloody and confusing saga of betrayal, corruption, misshapen politics and mislaid trusts that, in the end, accomplished little for lower- and lower-middle class Mexicans. Historian and biographer McLynn (Carl Gustav Jung; etc.) reconstructs the revolution through the biographies of its two most important figures, Francisco (Pancho) Villa, the bandit-turned-revolutionary, and Emiliano Zapata, whose declaration, "It's better to die on our feet than to live on our knees," later became La Pasionaria's Spanish Civil War slogan. Comprehensive almost to a fault, McLynn also devotes many pages to other key players: the revolution's first leader, Francisco Madero, who, having defeated President Porfirio D!az, stopped short of killing the president and members of the fallen government; and the ambitious Pascual Orozco, a controversial revolutionary figure believed by some (his pal Villa later among them) to have been on D!az's payroll. Having moved briskly and clearly through the disorganization and obfuscation of one of the bloodiest (and longest) revolutions in history, the author makes this informative, insightful study even more compelling with his witty and fluid prose. In his exhaustive research, McLynn plumbed "the ranks of the apocrypha," compared conservative histories to liberal ones and accounted for trends (economic, cultural, agricultural, industrial) concurrent with and pertinent to the revolution. McLynn grasps so completely and communicates so deftly the nuances of government corruption, the U.S. stance toward a long succession of Mexican autocrats, infighting between Zapatistas and Villistas, that this book feelsless like a history than a great story, as exciting as a Saturday serial Western. Three maps, 16 pages b&w photos. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
In a rare accomplishment, McLynn, a biographer of Sir Richard Burton, Carl Jung, and Napoleon, here presents his topic in a logical and understandable manner for almost every level of reader while also incorporating the latest research. While claiming to be writing a dual biography of Mexican rebel-outlaws Francisco (Pancho) Villa and Emiliano Zapata, McLynn has actually produced a judicious analytical account of the Mexican Revolution of 1910-20. He discusses the roles of the U.S. government, Gen. John J. Pershing's troops, German secret agents, and corrupt Mexican officials, drawing on a wide reading of English and Spanish studies and document collections. At the same time, his narrative is lively and gripping, leading the reader into this thoughtful study. Students and instructors of Mexican history at all levels will find the bibliographical essay invaluable. This belongs in all libraries whose patrons have even the most casual interest in Mexican history. Stephen H. Peters, Northern Michigan Univ. Lib., Marquette Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Villa rides again, but this horse limps. At the outset, heavily published pop biographer McLynn (Carl Gustav Jung, 1997, etc.) points to three books that he calls a "lodestar" in studying the lives of Mexican revolutionaries Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata: Alan Knight's two-volume Mexican Revolution, John Womack's Zapata and the Mexican Revolution, and Friedrich Katz's recently published Life and Times of Pancho Villa. He is right to rely on those books, which historians regard as standard texts. Sadly, he hasn't done much with this densely written tome to match their accomplishments, except, as an English writer, to add some side notes on Winston Churchill's curious involvement in the internal affairs of faraway Mexico. (Churchill had his reasons: after all, McLynn notes, the British held 55 percent of all foreign investments in Latin America, and 29 percent of foreign investments in Mexico.) As befits a student of Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud, McLynn has a tendency to psychologize when writing about the likes of Porfirio Diaz and Francisco Madero, who, admittedly, had their issues. He captures well the infighting, personal as much as political in nature, which complicated the Mexican Revolution, as well as the international intrigues surrounding a decade of civil war. But while he gives a serviceable account of the lives of Villa and Zapata, among other revolutionary leaders, McLynn omits several important players and factions in the Revolution, makes frequent misstatements of fact (McLynn: "Like the Plains Indians of North America, the Mexican Indians never made common cause against their white rulers," and he's wrong about both), and offers dubious interpretations ofthe historical record. All in all, an amateurish entry in a literature already dominated by outstanding professional work.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786710881
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 8/28/2002
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 459
  • Sales rank: 262,242
  • Product dimensions: 6.08 (w) x 9.18 (h) x 1.32 (d)

Table of Contents

Illustrations
Preface
Thc Mexico of Porfirio Diaz 1
The Rise of Zapata 33
The Rise of Villa 53
The Rise of Madero 72
The Fall of Diaz 88
Madero and Zapata 105
Villa and Madero 127
The Revolt Against Huerta 160
Villa at his Zenith 187
The End of Huerta 213
The Convention of Aguascalientes 244
The Convergence of the Twain 264
Civil War 286
The Punitive Expedition 313
The Twilight of Zapatismo 335
The Decline of Villismo 363
Epilogue 386
Conclusion 399
Sources 407
Index 441
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2005

    From a Student

    Frank McLynn recaptures Zapata¿s And Villa¿s personality very accurately. The book begins with a background information on Mexico and the wars that eventually led to the rise of the dictator Porfirio Diaz and his iron fist rule over Mexico. During this time, the rich were getting richer; and the poor could not come out of debt. Eventually one man from the farm lands spoke his mind. Emiliano Zapata, a man who was for land reform from the south, spread his belief to the peasants and urged them to fight back. While this was going on, a stubborn, hot headed, ladies man was stirring up trouble in the north. These two opposite¿s, one peaceful acting on thought and the other short tempered acting on gut, were to set Mexico free. But after the revolution was over, neither of them would have suspected that it had only just began. I personally enjoyed this book very much. I have read many Mexican revolutionary books but neither of them have had such a detailed history of the revolutionaries as this book. Frank McLynn describes them and their personality very accurately and it gives you a deeper understanding of them and their motifs for fighting against Diaz. As you read the book, Villa¿s and Zapata¿s personalities are unveiled and their troubles are told. McLynn also explains how Villa¿s and Zapata¿s personalities are reflected in their battle tactics and politics. I highly recommend this book to those who want to know a better understanding of the Mexican revolution, and its reasons for starting. This book is very detailed and everything is explained making it easy for everyone to read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 9, 2010

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