Scores of Mexicans fled to the United States from the violence of the Cristero Rebellion, in which Catholic partisans combated anticlerical reforms enacted by the government of Plutarco Elías Calles in the late 1920s. Their flight abroad and subsequent activism—smuggling arms, distributing propaganda, and working to consolidate opposition—gave the rebellion a transnational dimension overlooked in the local-level studies of the conflict. Julia Young's Mexican Exodus explores the circumstances of their emigration, the beliefs and practices that they carried abroad, and their persistent legacy in Mexican American communities.

Mexican Exodus reconstructs the experiences of relatively minor figures who constituted the bulk of what Young calls the “Cristero diaspora.” Simón Tenorio, for instance, was a Texas resident arrested by the Mexican government for planning a border revolt against Calles's “Bolshevik tyranny” (p. 3). In San Antonio, Tenorio had met with exiled priests and lay...

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