Keith Brewster provides us with the fascinating story of Gabriel Barrios, cacique of the Sierra Norte de Puebla from 1917-1930, whose “Indian battalion” pacified and stabilized a remote area during a period of political turmoil. Brewster sees Barrios as a politico-cultural power broker who mediated issues of revolutionary politics, patronage, and firepower between his largely Indian clients and mestizo politicians in Puebla City and Mexico City, including presidents. Barrios was neither an agrarian reformer in the mold of Saturnino Cedillo in San Luis Potosí nor a radical with a socialist agenda, as was Felipe Carrillo Puerto in the Yucatán. Rather, he was a pragmatic strongman who provided his clients with security, federal funds for development projects, and political and military representation. He secured crucial military support in the region for presidents Alvaro Obregón and Plutarco Elias Calles at a time when strongmen in Puebla City were preoccupied with personal feuds....

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