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Zapata and the Mexican Revolution

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  287 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Zapata and the Mexican Revolution
John Womack, Jr.

". . . It is certainly the definitive study of Emiliano Zapata, and it places him in his proper context."
—Frank Jellinek, The New York Times Book Review

"A feat of historical writing . . . Womack has an uncanny feeling for the infinitely complex strains of Mexico as a civilization.... Because he understands that historical pr
ebook, 480 pages
Published July 27th 2011 by Vintage (first published December 1st 1968)
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Czarny Pies
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: North Americans.
Shelves: lat-amer-hist
"Zapata and the Mexican Revolution" is John Womack's Harvard doctoral dissertation and a stunning example of the high standards of this great university. While the style is always very good and at times dazzling, the book is not easy to read. Womack writes with care and deliberation understanding that every line will be scrutinized very carefully by a stellar panel of academic examiners.
In this book Womack tells the story of how Emiliano Zapata led the Campesinos of the state of Morelos during t
May 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is pure historical narrative, but it reads like a novel. I read it in a college history class and knew all along what fate Zapata would eventually face yet found myself racing through the pages to find out "for sure." Might be too much detail for those who don't truly care about Mexican history, but if you like to read history, this is as good as the writing of it gets.
Jun 27, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very thoroughly researched ode to Zapata. I read most of it in a history class in college and have gone back to re-read it. Womac depicts the Mexican revolution in the state of Morelos largely as a struggle of good versus evil, and he isn't shy about worshiping certain historical figures - which I see as a byproduct of his bias. He attempts to write from the narrow perspective of poor rural Mexicans. He succeeds in producing a convincing explanation of how Zapata developed a strong following, ...more
Mar 11, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
VERY detailed account of Zapata and the Mixed up Mexican Revolution. Not a nail bitter but lots of info, names and dates that anyone interested in the Mex Rev should know.
Very simply--- a bravura account of the Mexican Revolution of 1911, told through the career of Emiliano Zapata, the southern general, warlord, and populist reformer. Thoughtful, insightful, and full of relevance for anyone looking at how peasant rebellions and their moral economy operate--- or interested in the history of Mexico and US-Mexican relations.
Riley Feldmann
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I admit it: I’m a hypocrite. I’ve long been dismayed by the average American’s lack of knowledge of the history of his closest international neighbors, Canada and Mexico, and have preached a need for citizens and policymakers to familiarize themselves accordingly. And what did I do to correct my own shortcomings in this field of history? Reverted back to my European-centric readings with no books on Canadian or Mexican history on my “to read” list. For shame!

It was only upon laying eye’s on John
Sep 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: resistance, latinx
Womack is as uncompromising as Zapata himself. I loved it.
Jul 31, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una biografía clásica que, en su momento, fue de las mejores disponibles. La apertura de nuevos archivos ha modificado algunos datos, por lo que sería conveniente una actualización.
Zachary Martin
Sep 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cultural-history
One of, if not the best, book on Zapata. This book should be required reading for every academic social science student as proof that good writing does not make for bad scholarship.
Womack's timeless dissertation on Zapata is still the authority on one of the most interesting men of the Mexican Revolution. Zapata never wanted power for himself and fought for the peasants of Morelos. His desire for land reform is exposed here as well as his strategy and life. It is an excellent biography and presents a small facet of the revolution. If you have not read anything on the revolution this is not the book to start with. It assumes that you have a working knowledge of the revoluti ...more
Aug 23, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Morgan thought I should read this so I can better understand the context of A is for Activist, and so I can explain to Sam what a Zapatista is.


One year later, I'm trying again, but this time, I'm making a glossary.


And yet, for all my careful note taking, it wasn't until page 270 that I made the connection that Francisco Villa is the same person as Pancho Villa.
Dec 24, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A meticulously researched history, using primary sources. It focuses on the Zapatista movement, treating the rest of the Mexican revolution in no more than broad strokes. Colored by an evident romantic attachment to the cause of farming villages' rights. Sometimes bogs down in the swirling mix of politicians, military chiefs, and realigned loyalties.

Still, it has a strong and useful focus, and does its job well.
Terry Jarrett
Very thorough examination of Zapata's role in the Mexican Revolution. Appropriate for a history class or those who love history enough to slog though a typical history tome. A perfect example why the vast majority of readers do not read history books. Unfortunately, it is very common for the historian to take a very exciting and dramatic period and make it a hard read. I would say the author is a better historian than writer.
Nov 19, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: latin-america
Womack focuses more on the local political history of the state of Morelos, than on military and social developments there and elsewhere in Mexico. He assumes much more knowledge of the revolution than I had, and so I enjoyed the social and economic history more than the rest. It has an excellent index, but the bibliography consists largely of primary sources in Spanish.
Daryl Schmidt
Oct 30, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Extremely informative and answered a lot of questions I had. It was exciting to have already been most of the way through the book when I visited Mexico. I saw a statue of Zapata in Cholula, Puebla and actually knew what it meant, and was sitting in Mexico City's Zocalo when I read about the battle there.
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Viva Zapata" my birth name Zapata Y.Que. with Pride
Mills College Library
972.08109 W87211 1970
Chris Radjenovich
Dec 03, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I am resolved to struggle against everything and everybody."
Jun 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very well researched. About the agrarian reform movement in Mexico in early 20th Century and life of Zapata, Zapatista movement and state of Morelos.
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Bill Kenkel
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Aug 18, 2011
David Myers
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