Here is a brief book, eighty-six pages of text and an eleven-page appendix, embodying several editorials and a speech. The author, wife of the famous John Kenneth Turner, the author of Barbarous Mexico, was a close associate of Ricardo Flores Magón and the liberal Junta before, during, and after the events of Baja California in 1911. This work has an editor, Rey Devis, an admirer of the author, of Ricardo Flores Magón, and of the Liberal party struggle.
In 1960 Turner published Ricardo Flores Magón y el Partido Liberal Mexicano. Before its publication, she had been at work on a more restricted effort, a recounting of the events in the Baja California revolution of 1911. The present booklet is that enterprise, unearthed through Devis’s diligence. The 1960 book, too, covered the 1911 events, albeit somewhat more briefly. It embodied the entire history of the Liberal party, the Junta, Flores Magón, and his newspaper, Regeneración. Hence, it is superior to the present publication in comprehensiveness and perspective, but rather difficult to obtain.
Both Turner’s rough draft and her Partido Liberal Mexicano book were done before the rather extensive scholarly work that has come forth on Flores Magón in the last two decades. Her viewpoint amounts to Magonismo puro. Had it been possible to incorporate information and points of view contributed soon afterward by others, the outlook would have stayed essentially the same—because it is substantially correct—but tempered, qualified, and therefore deepened. As it is, the chief value of this recollection is that it captures for our time the attitude—close to a half century afterward—of a semiparticipant in the events described. This is no small merit. Yet the reader gains little impression of why Flores Magón’s cause, in contrast to Madero’s, ran into such overwhelming obstacles. That his then secret anarchism invited conflicts is entirely unmentioned. That a leader who was completely absent from the scene of action could not expect much coordination in his movement likewise is omitted. The references to the repeated splits in the liberal ranks, accompanied by lame explanations, are likely to increase, rather than satisfy, curiosity. Finally, the old filibuster story, laid ever since at the liberals’ door by the Porfiristas, is to be found, but with General Otis, Harry Chandler, and Dick Ferris offered as the rascals who victimized Flores Magón.