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The Diezmo: A Novel
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The Diezmo: A Novel

3.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  174 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
The Diezmo tells the incredible story of the Mier Expedition, one of the most absurd and tragic military adventures in the history of Texas -- a country and a state, as Rick Bass writes, that was "born in blood." In the early days of the Republic of Texas, two young men, wild for glory, impulsively volunteer for an expedition Sam Houston has ordered to patrol the Mexican b ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published June 15th 2006 by Mariner Books (first published May 13th 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 242)
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Kirk Smith
Jun 22, 2016 Kirk Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a good Western and a fascinating bit of history. A great reminder of why Texans are always so Big on their independence! A land paid for in blood, in the time period 1836 to 1846 disputes over the border were cause for marauding and frequent skirmishes between Texians and the armies of Santa Anna. The book follows the fate of a band of Texas militia recruits who make a foray across the border into Mexico. That is just the beginning of the misadventures that will keep them from home soil ...more
Josh
Sep 13, 2013 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a war book, but not in a "black hawk down" way. It's a history book, but not in the "four score and seven years ago" way. It is a wilderness book but not in the "look at all the beauty of nature" kind of way. For some readers, this may seem to drag on a bit, but for me, the Epilogue gave the entire text a meaning, a purpose, an emotion. I think Bass is masterful in the way he bridges huge points within a somewhat simple story about suffering, key decisions, and the raw gut level human em ...more
Heather C.
Oct 26, 2008 Heather C. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic story with an ancestor of mine in it, so all the more interesting, as I grew up knowing the story of the diezmo in regards to this man. But this is a novel, with the real expedition woven into it.

I love just about anything Rick Bass writes, and this was no disappointment. It would be hard to not draw a comparison between The Diezmo and Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses--two young Texans, looking for adventure, head south of the new border and get more than they bargained for i
...more
Alison Looney
Jan 25, 2010 Alison Looney rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't normally gravitate towards war stories, but this was a good one. The novel follows the members of the failed Meir Expedition, in which volunteer soldiers from the Nation of Texas (ah, those were the days) attempted to pillage their way through Mexico. But the Texans are caught and the story mostly details their subsequent time as prisoners of the Mexican army.

There are some incredibly intense scenes - the Diezmo being chief among them - but also plenty of quiet reflection from the narrat
...more
Christy
Oct 01, 2008 Christy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well-known outdoor writer Rick Bass tells the story of the infamous Mier Expedition, a group of wildcats who, in 1842, crossed the Texas border into Mexico, attacked a village, and were captured. They were marched across Mexico, and most of them died. At one point, Santa Ana ordered that 1/10 of them should be executed, so black beans and white beans were put into a jar, a tenth of them black. (Hence, the "diezmo") The men who drew the black beans were taken out and shot. My great-great grandfat ...more
Neill Goltz
Attended a "conversation" with Montana-based author Bass in Bozeman in early June, hosted by editor of The Montana Quarterly, Scott McMillion.

Quite Wonderful.

All his many books were sold out at across-the-street bookstore afterwards, but managed to check out this early novelette out of local library. It was alright, but I'm more interested in his other books, including the one about his dog!

Gonna get there, I promise.
Charles
Oct 25, 2013 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first half of The Diazmo is flawless, engrossing and exciting. Then it begins to read like a cribbed, poorly integrated quotes from a stack of index cards.

Whaaa happened? I was mortified and high expectations were dashed. The facts were interesting in an academic sense, but as a novel it was an essay.

The plot has been recounted by others, so I'll pass. It bears some resemblance to Blood Meridian and All The Pretty Horses if not all The Border Trilogy both in story elements, character ele
...more
Patricia Johnson
Just after the battle at the Alamo and the defeat of the Mexican army in San Jacinto, Texas became a 'Republic'. Sam Houston became the President of this independent country and as sentiments were still high against the Mexicans a band of mercenaries, unofficially sanctioned by Sam Houston, crossed the Rio Grand to annex Mexico to the 'Republic' of Texas. After a dismal defeat in Ciudad Mier, Mexico the entire band of Texans were captured. The book tells of the treatment of these prisoners, atte ...more
Rose
Nov 15, 2014 Rose rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A close look at the coming of age of two boys who go to war. Very credible snapshots of their thoughts and actions.
Jeff
Mar 09, 2009 Jeff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009
I really enjoyed the first half of the book, it was similar to Blood Meridian (which I never finished), but toned down, and with more heart and humanity from the narrator.

But the second half dragged. This review captured my thoughts: "The most tellling aspect of my experience with this read was that I wanted it to be over so I could move on to something else."
Shaun
Jan 31, 2011 Shaun rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a decent book about a kid from Texas who volunteered to fight Mexico in the mid 1800's during the Mexican-American war. He and his friend went out with an idea of how things would turn out, but it ended with a much different, unexpected outcome than the protagonist anticipated. It was a well written novel. This was my first book by this author (Rick Bass), but I'll probably check out more books by this author.
Will E
Jan 16, 2016 Will E rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I knew I wasn't bound to love everything Rick Bass has ever written, and so while I liked this fine, it's certainly my least favorite, and it's my least favorite because the language didn't feel quite the same- it felt a little shallow and not nearly as beautiful. Perhaps because he felt the need to keep throwing bits of his research in? Just wasn't quite the same, somehow.
Brian
Jul 27, 2010 Brian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A literary exploration into Historical Fiction about a raid into Mexico for revenge on bandits that raided Texas. The main character relates the story of their adventures, capture, escapes, and imprisonment. A wonderful read. Every time I pick up Rick Bass, I am left happy that I have read his work.
Kae Cheatham
Billed as a novel, it was more like a chronicle about ill-fated volunteers who invaded Mexico in the 1830s. A narrative of facts and descriptions told first person from the perspective of 40+ years later. Interesting concept. Very well written.
Monica
Jul 06, 2012 Monica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was reading In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson alongside of Rick Bass' Diezmo. No comparison- In the Garden of Beasts is a much superior historical fiction novel. I was never really engaged in the story or character for Diezmo.
Megan
Oct 27, 2007 Megan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not my favorite Rick Bass work, but well-written nonetheless. The most tellling aspect of my experience with this read was that I wanted it to be over so I could move on to something else...
R.W.W. Greene
Rick Bass is a genius with short stories. He can show characters in such subtle ways it takes your breath away. Of his novels, I've read only one, this one. Meh.
Travis
Jul 18, 2011 Travis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I understand Bass's need to expand his horizons a little past the nature loving books... I just don't enjoy them as much. Still, worth reading.
Kerry Gavin
Feb 11, 2008 Kerry Gavin rated it it was amazing
Another great historical western; both literary and gutsy in the spirit and tradition of Cormac McCarthy and Larry McMurtry.
Rosemary
Aug 12, 2012 Rosemary rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Technically, I tried to read it. It just wasn't my cup of tea. I gave it to my brother.
Paul
Jul 25, 2009 Paul rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertaining but it essentially reads like a poor man's Cormac McCarthy novel.
Jared Neal
It's the sort of book I should like, but I certainly didn't love it.
David Kessler
Adv story about 1842 Texas and two young men join up
Mike
Jun 16, 2009 Mike rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Pretty damn good. Could have been better somehow.
Clayton
Jul 08, 2009 Clayton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rick Bass tries historical fiction.
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Jul 07, 2016
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Rick Bass was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up in Houston, the son of a geologist. He studied petroleum geology at Utah State University and while working as a petroleum geologist in Jackson, Mississippi, began writing short stories on his lunch breaks. In 1987, he moved with his wife, the artist Elizabeth Hughes Bass, to Montana’s remote Yaak Valley and became an active environmentalist, wo ...more
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