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"Pancho Villa," people whispered at the beginning of the 20th century, "can march 100 miles without stopping, live 100 days without food, go 100 nights without sleep, and kill 100 men without remorse." The legend of Francisco Villa is full of heroism, tragedy and romance. It is the story of a poor farmer boy who became a bandit out of necessity, after avenging an injustice on his family; a military genius who flew from an oppressive government to lead the largest revolutionary army in his country's history, and defeated dictatorship to become Mexico's liberator, only to fall again in disgrace when his troops abandoned him or were massacred by the enemy. Pancho Villa and his cavalry, Mexicans point out with a certain amount of pride, invaded the United States, and although they came and tried to capture him, they never found him. This is, at least, the version that most of them know, but it's certainly not the same as in their textbooks. The story of Francisco Villa bypassed official censorship from generation to generation, like leaves sailing at full speed on the surface of a stream. But the historical reconstruction is full of nuances. Was he a freedom fighter, or a bandit? Was he a Mexican Robin Hood, or a thief and a murderer? Was he present when his troops invaded US territory? Was the advance of his famous "Dorados" (the "golden ones", the name of his troops) the cause for joy, or terror among the people as they passed the countryside towards Mexico City?
©2016 Charles River Editors (P)2017 Charles River Editors