The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973

Book reviews
ROBERT A. CALVERT, Editor
Huerta: A Political Portrait. By Michael C. Meyer. (Lincoln: Univer-
sity of Nebraska Press, 1972. Pp. xvi+272. Notes, appendices,
bibliographical essay, index. $9.50.)
Michael Meyer is an historian of courage and integrity. He has
demonstrated both characteristics by undertaking the first scholarly
study of Victoriano Huerta and huertismo based on archival research.
It takes courage to undertake what the author describes as a "political
biography" of the man labeled the "usurper" and of the regime viewed
as counterrevolutionary as a tenet of revolutionary faith in Mexico.
However, Meyer remains true to his craft, refusing to go beyond what
the evidence will support whether it is damning or supportive of his
subject.
Against a background of Huerta's service during the Dfaz regime
and his debatable conduct under De la Barra (Meyer suggests that
Huerta must have been following orders in the absence of any evi-
dence of official reprimandsl, the author examines his subject's role
during the decena trdgica and in the assassinations of Madero and his
vice president. However, the major portion of the volume is devoted
to Huerta's stormy administration, its struggles on the military, diplo-
matic, political, and financial fronts, its erratic and often abortive do-
mestic policies, and its final collapse with an epilogue on the "revolt
of the exiles."
His major thesis is that polemicists and partisans, not to mention
some historians, not content with justifiable condemnation and criti-
cism have created an historical ogre. Regarding the regime, he argues
that while counterrevolutionary in a political sense, it was not an effort
socially to turn back the clock to the Porfirian era, but rather repre-
sented an effort by Huerta's advisors to moderate the winds of revolu-
tionary change. Meyer concedes that these efforts lacked an integrated
character and may well have reflected expediency.
In advancing his corrective or revisionist view, Meyer frequently
employs terms like "immediate and ultimate responsibility," "alleged
complicity," and "circumstantial guilt," insisting that the absence of

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101202/. Accessed July 31, 2014.