Villa and Zapata: A Biography of the Mexican Revolution

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Random House, Sep 1, 2001 - Mexico - 459 pages
11 Reviews

The Mexican Revolution (1910-19) was the first seismic social convulsion of the twentieth century, superseded in historical importance only by the Russian and Chinese revolutions. Tierra y Libertad (Land and Liberty) was the watchword of the revolutionaries who fought a succession of autocrats in Mexico City. But the revolution was fired by a confusing multiplicity of issues: local, national, international, cultural, racial and economic. The two greatest rebel leaders were Francisco (Pancho) Villa and Emiliano Zapata, and Frank McLynn here tells the story of the Revolution through a dual biography of these legendary heroes.

The great ten-year struggle that devastated Mexico was essentially a war on two fronts: in the north waged by Villa and a mobile army of ex-cowboys and ranchers; and in the south carried on by Zapata and an infantry army recruited from the peons of the sugar plantations. Villa was the Revolution's great military hero, but Zapata was its soul and the only rebel whose revolt was aimed at a genuine root-and-branch transformation of Mexican society. The two men reached the peak of their careers in 1914 when they met briefly in triumph in Mexico City. Failing to make common cause, over the next five years they gradually fell victim to their great rivals, Obregon and Carranza.

Mixed up in the turbulent melting pot of the Revolution were the US government, American oil interests and German secret agents, and among the dramatic events McLynn discusses are Villa's raid on Columbus, Pershing's punitive expedition south of the border and the Zimmermann telegraph. Villa and Zapata is an enthralling biography and a remarkable work of history.

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Review: Villa and Zapata: A History of the Mexican Revolution

User Review  - Alex - Goodreads

Not terribly engaging, so I'm calling this one before I actually finish it. The author knows his stuff, clearly, but creates a very dry narrative and seems to put too much distance (almost condescension at times) between himself and the historical figures. Read full review

Review: Villa and Zapata: A History of the Mexican Revolution

User Review  - Marti - Goodreads

Although the names are famous throughout the USA, the details of the Mexican Revolution were very sketchy in my mind (and I am sure, to most Americans). Two things made me more interested in this epic ... Read full review

About the author (2001)

Frank McLynn is a highly regarded historian, who specializes in biographies and military history. He has written over 20 books, including critically acclaimed biographies of Napoleon and Richard the Lionheart. Other books include 1066, Stanley, 1759, and Marcus Aurelius. He is a graduate of Wadham College, Oxford, and London University, where he obtained his doctorate.

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