The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983 Page: 575
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brings to it the perspective of a biographer who is sympathetic to but
not blinded by her subject. The reader is shown Alvaro Obreg6n as a
political pragmatist within the context of the Revolution.
Obreg6n proceeded to build alliances separate from those made by
Carranza; Hall demonstrates that her subject was not a mere imitator
of the First Chief. These new alliances triumphed over the older ones
of Carranza during the Constitutional Convention at Queretaro in De-
cember, 1916-January, 1917. While not a delegate, Obreg6n became
the prime force behind the ultimate radicalization of the Constitution
Although Hall attempts to separate Obreg6n from the image of cau-
dillismo, she achieves only partial success. Obreg6n certainly depended
heavily on political manipulation and alliance, but he still used cha-
risma as a major part of his approach to power. Obreg6n needs to be
viewed, then, as a blend of the old-style caudillo and the more modern
political wheeler-dealer. In the end, this characterization emerges in
At the same time, Obreg6n's more humane side springs from the
pages of the book. His ready wit, a sincere compassion, and dedication
to the Revolution combined with his pragmatism to help him achieve
the ends of the decade-long struggle. Probably the most celebrated gen-
eral in Mexico, Obreg6n nonetheless began to professionalize the mili-
tary and to deemphasize its role in Mexico.
When Obreg6n left the office of minister of war in 1917, he resumed
his early life as a garbanzo dealer in Sonora and revivified that industry
while at the same time keeping an eye on the presidential chair. His
ultimate ascension to power in 192o, preceded by the Sonora rebellion
under the Plan of Agua Prieta, close the study.
On this point, the work is slightly disappointing. Obreg6n's much
vaunted pragmatism did not reach full fruition and applicability until
he became president. Yet Hall merely asserts that this characteristic be-
came more apparent during Obreg6n's presidency. A brief analysis of
when this factor became apparent between 192o and 1924 is needed.
Hall's presentation is well written and balanced within the context
of her stated objectives. While she may raise more questions than she
answers, these arise more from perception than from omission.
Both works demonstrate the great diversity of information available
in the field of twentieth-century Mexican history. They also show that
there remain substantial lacunae to be filled by additional research.
MANUEL A. MACHADO, JR.
University of Montana
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 86, July 1982 - April, 1983, periodical, 1982/1983; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101209/m1/633/: accessed October 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.