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Villa and Zapata: A History of the Mexican Revolution
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Villa and Zapata: A History of the Mexican Revolution

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  260 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
Recounting the decade of bloody events that followed the eruption of the Mexican Revolution in 1910, Villa and Zapata explores the regional, international, cultural, racial, and economic strife that made the rebels Francisco (Pancho) Villa and Emiliano Zapata legends. Throughout this volume drama colludes with history, in a tale of two social outlaws who became legendary n ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published August 15th 2002 by Basic Books (first published 2000)
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May 31, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Mexican Revolution is a subject I knew very little about before I picked up this tome. Therefore the challenge of the book was to give me a detailed account whilst never underestimating the depths of my ignorance. Undoubtedly it was successful on both counts.

Focusing on the dual stories of the passionate rogue Villa (who fought in the North) and the humourless son of the soil Zapata (who fought in the South), McLynn takes the readers through the many twists and turns of the Mexican Revolutio
Simon Wood
Aug 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing

I presume Frank McLynn is a workaholic of Stakhanovite proportions. The range of subjects, both historical and biographical, and the number of books he has written is astonishingly large. Nor is he limited to a particular period, or place, as is testified by the diversity of his output which includes books on the Norman Conquest, the Young Pretender, Napoleon, the 1756-63 Franco-British War, the opening of the American West and Henry Morton Stanley. In "Villa and Zapata" he set
Mar 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anna by: Simon Wood
I blithely started reading ‘Villa and Zapata’ thinking it would be fun to learn about a revolution I had no familiarity with at all. As I got into it I realised that, a) when you know practically nothing about the history of a country, much more concentration is required to understand what was going on, and b) Mexico’s revolution could just as accurately be described as a decade of bloody and unremitting civil war. As a consequence, I found this book very interesting and informative, as well as ...more
Jun 16, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This is a historical non-fiction book packed with an incredible amount of detail, but it reads like a novel. It is clear that the author spent a significant amount of time researching his subject, and was able to mold those details into a fascinating read. In the Conclusion Frank McLynn compares the Mexican Revolution to the Iliad, and it really was an epic tale!
Mar 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
It was a bit of a challenging read for me. Mexican history, written by a Brit with occasional British slang or colloquialisms—e.g. cocked a snook—and the fact that I know very little about Mexican history. The Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920 was brought about primarily by the fact that President Porfirio Diaz, ruling from 1876-1911 could not come up with a succession plan. Approaching 84 he was exiled to Paris one year into the revolution, and a chain of Presidential changes that would last for ...more
Mike Nemeth
Dec 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Francisco "Pancho" Villa and Emiliano Zapata were two of the most colorful revolutionaries of their time. They both were impressive horsemen, military strategists and womanizers. But they took on the establishment to improve the lot of their countrymen. Mexico back in 1910 under strongman Porfirio Diaz was backward almost to the point of medieval Europe. Debt peonage still existed, where poor workers were forced to work to repay debts that ever could be repaid. The hacienda system prevented the ...more
Mar 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant! Before I started this book, I had a general working understanding of the Mexican Revolution and a basic idea of both Villa and Zapata. For 400 pages, this was a page turner. The descriptions and revelations of both Zapata and Villa and how their lives played out in the context of the Mexican Revolution were terrific. Highly regaded for anyone interested in the Mexican Revolution.
with barely any mention of Ricardo Flores Magon or his PLM (save for one or two paragraphs), I found this history to be sorely lacking. But it was fascinating to learn about these two figureheads of the Mexican Revolution of 1910.
Jefferson Coombs
Mar 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
I learned from this book. I came to respect Zapata more and Villa less. Interesting read.
Rachel Jackson
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
The Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920 is one of those events in history that I'd heard about vaguely but never with much detail, despite Mexico being next-door neighbors with the United States. Somehow still, despite being interested in the modern Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) indigenous movement, I never knew anything about its namesake, Emiliano Zapata. I picked up Villa and Zapata: A History of the Mexican Revolution hoping to change that and learn more about the man who inspired ...more
Neil Crossan
Sep 28, 2010 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
Given that Mexico is our nearest neighbor, it’s crazy how little I knew of their history. This book went a long way towards remedying this. Historical figures like the two in the title went from being names I recognized into living figures, men of action and ideas.

The book concentrates on the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920, although it gives a nice thumbnail of how the country got to that point, particularly on the administration of Diaz from the 1880s until 1910. While it concentrates on the a
Apr 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
It may be a difficult task to write a short and interesting version of the Mexican Revolution that focuses in its two main figures: Francisco Villa and Emiliano Zapata. For one thing, the author with mastery contends against the long time the social movement lasted and with the impressive array of events and personalities that gave form to the conflict. For another, with an impartial view he will closely follow these two figures in their struggle to achieve their goals. The author does not desis ...more
Sep 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Although the names are famous throughout the U.S.A., the details of the Mexican Revolution were very sketchy in my mind (and I am sure, to most Americans). Two things made me more interested in this epic struggle. The first was Damon Runyon's biography which recounts the famous newspaper columnist's encounters with Pancho Villa and his ne'er do-well, arms-dealer, playboy brother Hippolito during baseball spring training on the Texas/Mexico border. The second is the fact that I was once the publi ...more
Nov 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: revolutionary history nerds
I think that the author's method of writing may be somewhat dubious, but this is a really engaging perspective on two of the heroes of the Mexican Revolution. It seeks to give context to the careers and subsequent asassinations of these men, each of whom captured the imagination of a nation in the throes of a lengthy civil war.
Oct 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
Very disappointed in the corruption and the US involvement in Mexico's politics. Had it not been for Villa's death, I believe Mexico would be a much better place. The Revolution was a mess that was never solved, only controlled. Until this day, much of what went down in the Revolution is happening today. It was a great book with vivid details that will take you to the battle field if you let it.
Glenn Robinson
Oct 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
The period of 1910 to 1924 in Mexico appears to be a very confusing time with many shifting armies, governments and leaders. This is a well researched and written book that went into all the key leaders, the many battles, the changing political climate and the regions of Mexico.
Apr 27, 2014 rated it liked it
Not terribly engaging, so I'm calling this one before I actually finish it. The author knows his stuff, clearly, but creates a very dry narrative and seems to put too much distance (almost condescension at times) between himself and the historical figures.
Frazer Gowans
Apr 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
As usual with McLynn an excellently written book - the details of the Mexican revolution are themselves quite depressing - endless slaughter of innocents and prisoners. Senseless carnage all round but still very much worth a read.
Dec 30, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ten very tumultuous years in Mexico's history whose effect lasted well into the twentieth century... Very interesting read... I may go back and read it again...
Sal Valdez
May 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
one of the best books i've read on the mexican revolution. one of those hard to put down books. alas the ending is all too familiar in mexican history; treachery and betrayal.
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Mar 10, 2012
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Feb 14, 2012
Joe Riley
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Aug 08, 2012
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Sep 20, 2007
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Sep 21, 2012
Laura LeAnn
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Jul 13, 2012
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Dec 21, 2008
Tom Fox
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Feb 04, 2014
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Frank McLynn is a British author, biographer, historian and journalist. He is noted for critically acclaimed biographies of Napoleon Bonaparte, Robert Louis Stevenson, Carl Jung, Richard Francis Burton and Henry Morton Stanley.

McLynn was educated at Wadham College, Oxford and the University of London. He was Alistair Horne Research Fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford (1987–88) and was visiting p
More about Frank McLynn...

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