The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Nook ,otes
The Memoirs of Pancho Villa, by Martin Luis Guzmin, has
been translated by Virginia H. Taylor and published by the Uni-
versity of Texas Press (Austin, 1965). Guzmin, whose book The
Eagle and the Serpent is a classic of the Mexican Revolution, has
combined the techniques of novelist and biographer in the present
work, first published in Mexico in 1951. Guzmin's purpose in
the Memoirs is to write the life of Pancho Villa in autobiograph-
ical form while defending the latter's reputation as a genuine
revolutionary. He has relied on documents from Villa's archive
and on his own experiences as a participant in the Revolution
during 1913 and 1914, when he knew Villa personally. The first
chapters of the Memoirs are based largely on Villa's reminiscences,
dictated to his secretaries. To complete the book Guzmin has
continued the narrative style, capturing Villa's way of speaking
and thinking.
Although it begins when Villa became an outlaw in 1894, most
of the book deals with his career between 191o and 1915, the
period during which he achieved renown as a revolutionary gener-
al. Matters such as Villa's efforts to maintain friendly relations with
the United States are discussed, but the Memoirs is essentially an
account of the military campaigns which swept Villa into prom-
inence and of the subsequent struggles among the victorious
revolutionists. El Paso, Texas, is mentioned both as a refuge and
as a source of supplies for Villa. The narrative ends abruptly in
April, 1915, when Villa was suffering a series of disastrous defeats
at the hands of General Obreg6n. Guzmin thus leaves untold
the last eight years of the revolutionary chieftain's eventful life
but succeeds in presenting him as a vibrant personality capable
of acts of generosity as well as of heinous crimes.
Virginia H. 'Taylor, translator of the Memoirs, is to be com-
plimented for preserving the flavor of the Spanish version. The
book is a valuable addition to the literature in English on one
of the most controversial figures of the Mexican Revolution.
CHARLES H. HARRIS, III

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117144/. Accessed September 2, 2014.