There are few compact time periods in the early years of the Mexican Revolution as historically significant as the month of February 1913. Within these twenty-eight days the decena trágica occurred, the “Pact of the Embassy” was negotiated, President Francisco I. Madero and Vice-President José María Pino Suarez were assassinated, General Victoriano Huerta assumed the presidency, and the Constitutionalist revolution was conceived. The ninth volume of the Documentos históricos de la Revolución Mexicana (and the fifth on the Madero period) is a compilation of some 200 documents the large majority of which treat this month.

The documents comprising Volume IX have been gleaned from three archival collections familiar to investigators interested in the military phase of the Revolution: the Archivo General de la Nación, the Archivo de la Secretaría de Relaciones Exteriores, and the private archive of Isidro Fabela. Each document is preceded by a brief synopsis and the name of the repository from which it was taken. The introductory essay and explanatory commentaries appended to some of the previous volumes have been omitted in this tome. The arrangement of the documents is chronological except for one rather long series consisting of correspondence of the governor of Sonora.

Only in one respect is the volume disappointing. Mexicanists will search in vain for any new information concerning the role of Ambassador Henry Lane Wilson in the fall of Madero and the rise of Victoriano Huerta to the presidency. Documentation on the United States ambassador is limited primarily to source material already in print. The portrait which emerges is the traditional one—that of the Yankee ogre who must bear a large measure of guilt for the demise of the first constitutional government to emanate from the Revolution and at least an indirect responsibility for the assassinations themselves. It would appear that no disrespect to the Apostle of the Revolution would have been implied by the inclusion of some pertinent data from the other side. Since published documentation was included in this section, Mr. Wilson’s own representations from his Diplomatic Episodes in Mexico, Belgium, and Chile could have been used to provide some perspective. Although it can be argued that the ambassador’s memoirs obviously are too biased, it is equally certain that the interpretations of events given by Señora Sara Pérez Madero (the president’s widow) do not meet the rigorous demands of scientific detachment (pp. 163-168).

Approximately one third of the book is devoted to an analysis of the assassinations. The testimony of the drivers of the two cars, the guards of the penitentiary in front of which the assassinations occurred, and one of the guards accompanying the prisoners will enable the careful student to reconstruct the momentous events with a degree of accuracy hitherto impossible without direct access to the original documents. At the same time the question of ultimate responsibility must be treated with even greater candor. Nowhere in the one hundred pages of testimony is there any direct evidence linking Huerta to the assassins. Although the recorded testimony will not convince many historians that Madero’s successor is exculpable, it should nevertheless remind them that the body of evidence intimating Huerta’s guilt remains circumstantial and should not be represented as incontrovertible.

The present volume is a welcome addition to the steadily growing body of published documentation on the Mexican Revolution.