Mark Picketts's Reviews > The Underdogs

The Underdogs by Mariano Azuela
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's review
Jan 10, 2012

really liked it
Read in January, 2012

So my foray into Mexican writing and history continued with another book suggested to me by the school librarian. The Underdogs was a book on the Mexican revolution and follows a small militia leader through his fall from idealistic revolutionary to thieving general who has become exactly that which caused him to rise up in the first place. Azuela spins this tale brilliantly and we can feel the band's transition as a whole as well as some of the variances from man to man. With the educated and manipulative "city slicker" (Luis Cervantes) feeling the winds of change and taking his spoils on to a new venture while the more rural personalities are consumed by the violence of the revolution and eventually devoured by it.

The writing does an fantastic job of depicting a rugged, bloody, and macho conflict.

"You ask me why I am still a rebel? Well, the revolution is like a hurricane: if you're in it, you're not a man ... you're a leaf, a dead leaf, blown by the wind." p. 73

"To champagne, that sparkles and foams as the beaded bubbles burst at the brim of the glass, Demetrio preferred the native tequila, limpid and fiery." p. 84

"Soldiers don't sleep in hotels and inns any more ... where do you come from? You just go anywhere you like and pick a house that pleases you, see. When you go there, make yourself at home and don't ask anyone for anything. Whta tthe hell is the use of the revoluition? Who's it for? For the folks who live in towns? We're the city folk now, see?" p. 89

"Don't think it's wrong to kill, because when you kill it's always out of anger. But stealing -- BAH!
Of course - there's no use denying it, I've stolen too," Blondie confesses. "But ask any one of my partners how much profit I've got. I'm a big spender and my purse is my friends' to have a good time on! I have a better time if I drink myself senseless than I would have sending money back home to the old woman!" p.127

"Villa? Obregón? Carranza? What's the difference? I love the revolution like a volcano in eruption; I love the volcano because it's a volcano, the revolution because it's the revolution! What do i care about the stones left above or below after the cataclysm? What are they to me?" p.136

There are definite parallels of the Azuela's bandits of the revolution and the Narcos currently receiving so much press. Go and and get all you can, grab whatever is there ... what's tomorrow? Get what you can now.

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