The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998

Book Reviews

More significant, however, than whether Guerrero was, as Ward asserts, "the
most important [magonista] insurrecto" between 1907 and 1910, is the broader
and fiercely debated question about the importance of the Mexican Liberal
Party (PLM) to the 191o Mexican Revolution (p. 45).
Albro traces the trajectory of Guerrero from his family hacienda in
Guanajuato to his stints as a proletarian in San Luis Potosi and throughout the
U.S. Southwest. Guerrero finally joined the PLM as a writer and organizer while
working in a smelter in Morenci, Arizona. He quickly ascended the party's ranks,
and by 1907 he was named second secretary to the junta. As well as writing for
radical periodicals published in the United States, Revoluci6n, Regeneraci6n, and
Punto Rojo, Guerrero served the magonista cause as a military tactician. Using the
training he had received in Mexico's civilian militia, Guerrero organized and led
two guerrilla incursions into Mexico from points near El Paso, including one
three-pronged attack in June 1908 and another at the end of 1910 which cost
him his life.
To reconstruct Guerrero's story, Albro relies heavily on one Spanish-lan-
guage account written in i935. Primary sources from Mexico's foreign min-
istry archive and several magonista periodicals fill in some of the gaps, but
Albro's dependence on Guerrero's own poetic descriptions prevents a more
complete view of events and how they may have been interpreted by others.
Such a focus on revolutionary discourse, the journalistic writings, and mani-
festoes continues to be a severe limitation of virtually all of the scholarship on
the magonistas. Furthermore, although Albro recognizes the importance of the
magonistas to Mexican American history, he provides little in the way of analysis
to help situate Guerrero within that context. The value of the Albro's book lies
in its synthesis of published accounts and translation into English of docu-
ments heretofore available only in Spanish; the last part of the book provides
useful English translations of selected articles written by Guerrero for
Revoluci6n and Regeneraci6n.
Finally, Albro corrects the misperception that the famous phrase, "It is better
to die on your feet than to live on your knees," originated with a 1936 Paris
speech by the Spanish republican "La Pasionaria," or even with Zapata's calls to
revolution in Mexico. Albro attributes the slogan to Guerrero's writings in Punto
Rojo, first published in 19o8. While it is ultimately insignificant who said it first,
the phrase was used as early as 1906 as the motto for El Ferrocarrilero, a Mexican
railroad union newspaper. When one goes looking, precursors to the Mexican
Revolution abound.
Lewis & Clark College ELLIOTT YOUNG
The Caddos, the Wichitas, and the United States: z846-9goz. By F. Todd Smith.
(College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1996. Pp. xviii+190.
Illustrations, acknowledgments, introduction, notes, bibliography, index.
ISBN 0-89096-708-3. $29.95, cloth.)



Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 101, July 1997 - April, 1998. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed November 25, 2015.