In Insurgency, Counter-insurgency and Policing in Centre-West Mexico, 1926–1929, Mark Lawrence attempts to discern what led communities in Mexico to join the pro-Catholic uprising of the mid-1920s known as the Cristero Rebellion, to oppose it, or to remain neutral. The book focuses on greater Zacatecas—an area that, here, extends beyond the state into Durango and parts of Jalisco. Lawrence thus adds to the rich Cristero historiography, the scope of which has been necessarily regional because motivations varied widely across Mexico's so-called “Rosary Belt.” Lawrence's task is a difficult one, and the responses to the Cristero Rebellion do not lend themselves to neat classification. Lawrence disregards as “simplistic” Zacatecan Cristero veterans' own explanations for their participation in the insurgence: to defend Catholicism from government anticlericalism (p. 25). The statement is jarring, but his research in often-overlooked municipal and state archives clearly uncovered a plethora of causes.

Some rebel regions were...

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