“There is no doubt that history is written by the victors,” spoke a eulogizer at Pancho Villa’s funeral, “but it is also true that legends are written by the people. For that reason the name of Francisco Villa has remained enshrined forever in the heart of the poor.” This book, coupling noted historian Friedrich Katz’s text with 42 archival photographs, provides a deep insight into this revolutionary who was a hero for some, a villain for others. The scholarship of Friedrich Katz has forced Pancho Villa back into historical conversations as a pivotal and complex figure in the Mexican Revolution.
The 42 photographs of Soldaderas and Elena Poniatowska’s remarkable commentary rescue the women of the Mexican Revolution from the dust and oblivion of history. These women are valiant, furious, loyal, maternal and hard working; they wear a mask that is part immaculate virgin, part mother and wife, and part savage warrior; and they are joined together in the cruel hymn of blood and death from which they built their own history of the Revolution. The photographs are culled from the vast Casasola Collection in the Fototeca Nacional of the National Institute of Anthropology and History in Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico.
David Romo’s Ringside Seat to a Revolution is a fascinating glimpse into unknown scenes of the Mexican Revolution of 1911. He takes us into El Paso and Juárez—facing one another across the Rio Grande—in the years just before and just after the exciting events of the revolution itself. It is close up and personal history—through the eyes of an extraordinary cast of characters. It is “people’s history” at its best.