Ignacio Muñoz’ four volumes on the Mexican Revolution defy simple classification. They do not constitute either a chronicle or a diary. They are neither monographic nor autobiographic. They do not follow any discernible chronological or institutional pattern. They are certainly not to be considered a reference work. For the lack of a handier label perhaps they can best be classified as a series of historical anecdotes held together by two pervasive themes: opposition to Yankees and opposition to the Revolution. As the title clearly implies, the author’s purpose is to set the record straight: “Es tiempo de que acabemos con el mito de la Revolución” (I, 22). That the record is in need of reexamination many would admit. Fewer would agree, however, that this work responds adequately to the challenge.
During the entire period between 1876 and 1940 Muñoz finds only two Mexicans worthy of the name: Porfirio Díaz and Pancho Villa. These two unlikely paladins stand in sharp contrast to the apostates: Francisco Madero, Emiliano Zapata, Venustiano Carranza, Álvaro Obregón, José Vasconcelos, and especially Plutarco Elias Calles. Among the myths which the author seeks to explode is that Victoriano Huerta was responsible for the assassination of President Francisco I. Madero. Since the complicity of Huerta has never been proved, this would appear to be a good target. According to Muñoz, General Aureliano Blanquet must bear the responsibility. The only support for this argument, however, is the opinion of Lic. Querido Moheno (Huerta’s secretary of foreign relations and a great admirer of the dictator), the testimony of an unidentified army officer, and the conjecture of Colonel Porfirio Díaz, Jr., that “Huerta era incapaz de cometer semejante barbaridad” (I, 339-356).
Not only does the author undertake his demolition tasks with insufficient explosives; in the process he constructs an entire new group of myths. Among those which stand out most blatantly are the following: Madero had the Texas Rangers fighting with him at the battle of Casas Grandes (I, 75); Pascual Orozco accepted the Plan de Ayala as his banner (I, 205); 820 Americans were killed during the landing at Veracruz in April 1914 (II, 180); Thomas A. Edison was born in Chihuahua of a Mexican father (I, 271-272); and President Woodrow Wilson ordered the assassinations of Victoriano Huerta and Pascual Orozco (I, 292; II, 384-385).
Less significant historically but even more of an affront to the reader’s sensibility is the author’s obstreperous anti-Semitism. In a section of the fourth volume entitled “Judaizando a México” President Calles is accused of fomenting an utterly fantastic Jewish-Communist plot to take over Mexico and perhaps even all of Latin America. The author concludes: “El pulpo judío avanzaba. Sus tentáculos ahogaban todo. El poder del callismo tiránico y destructor, se ponía al servicio de los hijos de Israel para esclavizar aun a los mismos hijos del país” (IV, 151).
The kindest thing that can be said about the work under consideration is that it is properly titled. Even the most cursory reading, however, will reveal that it contains considerably “mas mito que verdad.”