Thirteen years after writing a major biography on Emiliano Zapata, Samuel Brunk has produced a thoughtful sequel that weaves the struggle over Zapata’s legacy into the course of modern Mexican history. Brunk documents how the Mexican Revolution’s most ideologically consistent protagonist in life became its most malleable and manipulated symbol in death. Although some of the material in this book will be familiar to scholars who have followed Brunk’s output closely, this clearly written, provocative study should find its way onto many graduate and scholarly reading lists just in time for the centenary commemorations of the revolution.

The dispute over Zapata’s legacy began in 1911, in the opening months of the Mexican Revolution. A hero to most campesinos in Morelos, Zapata received rough treatment at the hands of Mexico City’s dailies, which quickly labeled him “the Attila of the South.” The myth making...

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