Jason Brown (Toastx2)'s Reviews > The American Alarm Clock

The American Alarm Clock by Glen Wright
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Jan 05, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: reviewed, rated-4-four-star
Read in August, 2010

The American Alarm Clock. An alarm to “[...:] wake these people from their sleep!”. Historical Fiction, published in 1972, detailing the overhaul of Central American social structures.

In 1810, Mexico was an unsettled country. Manhandled and abused by Spain, they were in the midst of a hostile takeover by the Napoleanic French. Spain was relatively powerless.

300 years of oppressive rule had left the people (native born, immigrants, and those in-between) restless for a change. The Gachupine, those born in Spain, were blamed for most wrongs, including the national famine, high taxation, and violations of basic Human rights (referred to as the “Rights of Nature”).

This aptly sets the scene for the first Mexican revolution.

The American Alarm Clock (source of the book’s name) was the newspaper that was the primary voice for this revolution. Edited by Padre Francisco Severo Maldonado, it chronicled the ideas and core beliefs of the freedom fighters.

The Clock was the first independent newsrag in the region, all others were under the control of the Gachupines and Royalists. Inked in a confiscated print house based out of Guadalajara called the “House of Dogs”, the Alarm Clock spoke to the people but did not detail only Liberator/General Hidalgo’s proclamations. It was an outlet for revolutionary thoughts and theory, ideas that would call down the Inquisition and ultimately destroy a man.

This book is Maldonado’s story. As Maldonado was the editor of the Alarm Clock, he was also chief writer and instigator of the ideas put forward. It shows the changes in his thoughts and attitude as the war waged. Beginning with his dreams of an Utopian country, and ending in a call for a socialist republic, Maldonado shows himself as a master of political theory. Unfortunately, via both the ignorance of those in power and the start/stop nature of the civil upheaval, his ideas were barely recognized (including his proposed constitution). Maldonado was anxious to see all of the Americas joined together in a fight against oppression, from north pole to south pole. United States of America side by side with the United Mexican States.

Glen Wright did a fantastic job with this book. He spent a few years in Mexico doing research, and ended up in West Samoa discussing theory and historical text with Catholic Diocese. The Alarm Clock is based purely on fact, with conversations and speculation interspersed to make it readable as a story, but it does not feel as if Wright imposed his own feelings. It felt true to the revolutionary nature of the tale.

It should be noted that out of its 252 pages, 70 of them are appendices. The American Alarm Clock (the newspaper) only published 7 issues before they were shut down. All seven are listed in the appendices along with other relevant texts from the time. Though incredibly important to the story, I believe that most readers should ignore these appendices until after they have finished reading. The dense political theory in said appendices could deter many readers from finishing the book if are not in the people mindset.

Note to readers: Copies of this book are available at a fair price from various online retailers and small bookstores. I suggest searching alibris.com as a first attempt.

I would like to suggest that a limited reprint of this book would be advantageous. A lot of great information in here that would be a shame to have reburied..

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