The life of Mexican revolutionary Emiliano Zapata was the stuff that legends are made of. Born and raised in a tiny village in the small south-central state of Morelos, he led an uprising in 1911 - one strand of the larger Mexican Revolution - against the regime of longtime president Porfirio Diaz. He fought not to fulfill personal ambitions but for the campesinos of Morelos, whose rights were being systematically ignored in Don Porfirio's courts.
Expanding haciendas had been appropriating land and water for centuries in the state, but as the 20th century began things were becoming desperate. It was not long before Diaz fell. But Zapata then discovered that other national leaders - Francisco Madero, Victoriano Huerta, and Venustiano Carranza - would not put things right, and so he fought them, too. He fought for nearly a decade until, in 1919, he was gunned down in an ambush at the hacienda Chinameca.
In this new political biography of Zapata, Brunk, a noted journalist and scholar, shows us Zapata the leader as opposed to Zapata the archetypal peasant revolutionary. In previous writings on Zapata, the movement was covered, and Zapata the man got lost in the shuffle. Brunk clearly demonstrates that Zapata's choices and actions did indeed have a historical impact.
"An excellent book.... Brunk has produced an essential work on Emiliano Zapata." (The Americas )
"Samuel Brunk is to be applauded.... [His] style and scholarship are unimpeachable, confirming.... [A] solid, well-researched, narrative history.... " (Latin American Studies)
"Perfect for the history buff or someone simply interested in learning more about Zapata." (Hispanic Link Weekly Report)
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The Man Who Inspired a Revolution.
I have not read the book, so I can't make that comparison. However, I really enjoyed Charles Norman's narration. He has a Tex/Mex delivery of a classic story teller.
Emiliano Zapata was my favorite character, not only because he was the focus of the story, but for the complexity of his character and the times he lived. My wife grew up in a town named "Emiliano Zapata", so naturally, when I came across this book, I had to see who Emiliano Zapata was, and why there are so many towns named after him in Mexico. Having lived in Mexico and reading this book, I now have a better understanding of why owning land is so important to rural Mexicans. Land ownership for campesinos was the main reason for the Zapata revolution. Many of the land reforms that have taken place in Mexico have been because of Zapata and his revolution. Mexico is also a country mired in class warfare. The haves, and have nots. Zapata was from the uneducated have nots, that the educated class looked down upon. To his followers he was a revolutionary leader. To the moneyed class he was a bandit.
As mentioned above, Emiliano Zapata was my favorite character.
Are today's conflicts any different that those of 100 years ago?
Disclaimer. I was offered this book in exchange of a fair unbiased review. For folks looking for a good historical novel, related to turbulent times during the Mexican revolution, this is a great read. This book gets into great detail on the progression of the Zapata revolution. Mexico is a very complicated country with a rich history of varied influences. On a base level, the conflicts in Mexico reflect other conflicts worldwide. I could not help but compare the Mexican revolution with current world developments. Can you compare the evolution of a revolution between Zapata's time and modern upheavels in the Middle East? How do these revolutions get subverted and hijacked by other parties? Only by looking at history can you get a better perspective on the present. I loved the narration. Charles Norman has a nice Tex/Mex story telling delivery. A lot of names and words in Mexico are from Spanish and indigenous indian orign,so pronunciation is a challenge. Charles gave it the right level of Mexican pronouniciation without losing an English listening audience. The big surprise for me was the fact that the U.S. sent troops to Veracruz, Mexico in 1914. Interesting times. For me, esta novela es muy bueno!
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