This careless little book is a waste of intellectual time. Its publishers consider that it exemplifies the new history of the Revolution, “dispassionate and authentic, at once critical and constructive,” a handy version for the new reading public in Mexico; but it is the same old string of names and dates and irrelevant details.
The general interpretation is that the Revolution began and proceeded not for social or economic but for political reasons, which is interesting. But the author practically ignores how the political struggle wrought social and economic change and lapses instead into a political chronicle, which is soporific. There are seven chapters—Los Antecedentes, La Revolución, Gobierno de Madero, Venustiano Carranza, Gobierno de Carranza, Obregón y Calles, and La Revolución Actual.
Each contains its own misprints and errors. For example, Reyes was appointed to the War Department “in 1889”; Madero and Pino Suárez were nominated by the “Partido Nacional Progresista”; and the Flores Magóns moved into Baja California “as soon as they recognized that Carranza would not follow their radical ideas.” Other passages refer to the acts of the “American Secretary of War . . . José Daniels”; Carranza’s release of the Plan de Guadalupe “when in 1914 the American forces invaded the port of Veracruz”; Carranza’s installation of the Querétaro Convention “in 1917”; Villa’s amnesty “in 1917, on the death of Carranza”; and the death of Zapata’s assassin, “José M. Guajardo.” More reprehensible is the resort to gossips who, “se dice,” know that Limantour ran off with 20 million pesos or that “troops . . . receiving direct orders from Obregón assassinated Carranza.”
The last chapter is an attempt at analysis. It is significant as evidence of the contemporary Mexican middle classes’ wistful claim that they should grow. Greater than the waste of producing this book is the waste of writing and publishing a special review of it. Beginning students of the Mexican Revolution had better stay with Silva Herzog’s Breve historia.