The unwary tourist to Mexico who has already purchased the authentic skull of Pancho Villa or the one reliable map locating his treasure will most certainly want a copy of Haldeen Braddy’s The Paradox of Pancho Villa. For this slim book, like mounted bullhorns or velveteen paintings of toreadors, is a curio of the border. It has no more relation to history or folklore than the Juárez strip to Mexican culture. Braddy has indiscriminately combined hearsay, gossip, oral tradition, a few facts, allegations of Villa’s enemies and detractors, and recollections from random interviews. The historical references are often wrong—Luis Terrazas was not a wealthy Spaniard (p. 6), Porfirio Díaz did not abdicate in 1910 (p. 17), and Villa did not finish the unexpired term of Governor González (p. 17). Attempts at folklore are offhand—a comparison to Robin Hood (p. 17) and reference to the thunderstorm at Villa’s birth as an indication of a tempestuous love life (p. 30). The scant analysis simply begs the question; Villa’s biography is like a desert mirage (p. 16). Villa’s life may be a chimera but the book’s price is not: “ten dollars each, gringo, no bargaining.”
Book Review| August 01 1979
The Paradox of Pancho Villa
The Paradox of Pancho Villa. By Braddy, Haldeen.
Texas Western Press. . Pp.
95. Cloth. $10.00.
Hispanic American Historical Review (1979) 59 (3): 578.
William H. Beezley; The Paradox of Pancho Villa. Hispanic American Historical Review 1 August 1979; 59 (3): 578. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182168-59.3.578
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