The Life and Times of Pancho Villa
Alongside Moctezuma and Benito Juárez, Pancho Villa is probably the best-known figure in Mexican history. Villa legends pervade not only Mexico but the United States and beyond, existing not only in the popular mind and tradition but in ballads and movies. There are legends of Villa the Robin Hood, Villa the womanizer, and Villa as the only foreigner who has attacked the mainland of the United States since the War of 1812 and gotten away with it.
Whether exaggerated or true to life, these legends have resulted in Pancho Villa the leader obscuring his revolutionary movement, and the myth in turn obscuring the leader. Based on decades of research in the archives of seven countries, this definitive study of Villa aims to separate myth from history. So much attention has focused on Villa himself that the characteristics of his movement, which is unique in Latin American history and in some ways unique among twentieth-century revolutions, have been forgotten or neglected. Villa’s División del Norte was probably the largest revolutionary army that Latin America ever produced. Moreover, this was one of the few revolutionary movements with which a U.S. administration attempted, not only to come to terms, but even to forge an alliance. In contrast to Lenin, Mao Zedong, Ho Chi Minh, and Fidel Castro, Villa came from the lower classes of society, had little education, and organized no political party.
The first part of the book deals with Villa’s early life as an outlaw and his emergence as a secondary leader of the Mexican Revolution, and also discusses the special conditions that transformed the state of Chihuahua into a leading center of revolution. In the second part, beginning in 1913, Villa emerges as a national leader. The author analyzes the nature of his revolutionary movement and the impact of Villismo as an ideology and as a social movement. The third part of the book deals with the years 1915 to 1920: Villa’s guerrilla warfare, his attack on Columbus, New Mexico, and his subsequent decline. The last part describes Villa’s surrender, his brief life as a hacendado, his assassination and its aftermath, and the evolution of the Villa legend. The book concludes with an assessment of Villa’s personality and the character and impact of his movement.
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Review: The Life and Times of Pancho VillaUser Review - Heribert Von Feilitzsch - Goodreads
Friedrich Katz was one of the great historians on the Mexican Revolution. His whole professional life was dedicated to illuminate the facts of this first social revolution of the 20th century. The ... Read full review
Review: The Life and Times of Pancho VillaUser Review - Stephen Jones - Goodreads
At a cat-squashing 900 + pages, Katz' biography weighs in as the definitive study of Villa and in a broader context, the Mexican Revolution. Katz leaves few leads unexplored in his attempt to separate fact from legend. Purely sweeping! Read full review
From the Frontier to the Border
The Revolution That Neither Its Supreme
Disillusion and Counterrevolution
An Unrequited Love
From Exile to Governor of Chihuahua
Four Weeks That Shook Chihuahua
His Relations with the United States
The Resurgence of Villa in 19161917
Villas Darkest Years
Villa and the Outside World
The Attempt to Create Villismo with a Gentler Face
From Guerrilla Leader to Hacendado
The End and the Survival of Villa
On the Archival Trail of Pancho Villa