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The Diezmo: A Novel
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The Diezmo: A Novel

3.36 of 5 stars 3.36  ·  rating details  ·  141 ratings  ·  22 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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Heather C.
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
Alison Looney
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
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
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
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
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
A close look at the coming of age of two boys who go to war. Very credible snapshots of their thoughts and actions.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Another great historical western; both literary and gutsy in the spirit and tradition of Cormac McCarthy and Larry McMurtry.
Technically, I tried to read it. It just wasn't my cup of tea. I gave it to my brother.
Entertaining but it essentially reads like a poor man's Cormac McCarthy novel.
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
Pretty damn good. Could have been better somehow.
Rick Bass tries historical fiction.
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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
More about Rick Bass...
Winter: Notes from  Montana The Watch The Ninemile Wolves The Sky, the Stars, the Wilderness The Hermit's Story: Stories

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