This book offers an illuminating narrative of the political and military history of the 1879–1884 peasant rebellion in the Huasteca Potosina. Mark Saad Saka argues that the worldview of rebel villagers facing dispossession during the railroad construction and land revaluations associated with later nineteenth-century capitalist modernization was shaped by their earlier militancy in struggles to create an independent nation and defend it from US and French invaders. In doing so, he seeks to provide further support for arguments about the contributions of peasants to nation building and state formation made by scholars such as Paul Hart, Florencia Mallon, Peter Guardino, and Chalmers Johnson. Challenging the reading of the rebellion by Huastecan elites as a “caste war” declared by infantile barbarians resisting modernity, Saka argues, paraphrasing Mallon, that defense of the patria produced peasant guerrillas “who had internalized nationalist consciousness as a means...

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