The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985 Page: 226
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
lished sources and archives, Oscar J. Martinez depicts the lives of men,
women, and children caught in the cross fire of the Mexican Revolu-
tion. In vivid and poignant tales, participants, observers, and bystanders
drawn into Mexico's twentieth-century civil war graphically detail the
all-too-common scenes of bloody battles, frightening tortures, anguish-
ing near-executions, sickness, and death. Some accounts and interviews
also portray the dangers to which United States citizens exposed them-
selves by standing on the river banks and the roof tops to view battles
in Ciudad Juairez, Nuevo Laredo, and other Mexican border towns.
Without settling the controversies involved, various selections present
different aspects of the enigmatic Pancho Villa and describe the inter-
ference of United States officials who took sides in the conflict and of
troops that crossed the international line. A good part of the book re-
lates the spillover of the revolution onto United States soil in the Plan
de San Diego (a 1915 program, drafted by followers of Victoriano
Huerta, to encourage an uprising among Mexican nationals and Mexi-
can-Americans along the border), the 1915 raids in South Texas, and
Villa's famous attack on Columbus, New Mexico. Stories narrated by
Mexicans, Mexican-Americans, Anglo-Americans, and some Europeans
also tell of personal losses and triumphs amidst the great turmoil.
Many of the interviews chosen were conducted by Martinez and his
associates at the Institute of Oral History at the University of Texas at
El Paso; others are from the Archivo de la Palabra at the Instituto
Nacional de Antropologia e Historia in Mexico City. These are com-
plemented very well by personal narratives taken from newspapers,
memoirs, and government documents. Martinez's brief but excellent
introductions to the book, to the four sections (Fighting the Revolu-
tion; Excitement along the Border: Early 192os; Border Crises: Mid
and Late 191os; Victims of the War), and to each of the selections
provide both general and specific background and explain the under-
lying issues involved in the stories presented. In this Martinez demon-
strates his acquaintance with the latest research on the Mexican Revo-
lution and the border crises.
The book is not without some drawbacks, but these are few and
minor, most of them shortcomings of the genre. For example, a few
of the experiences are similar, making some accounts appear repe-
titious. Occasionally narratives overlap with periods different from
those outlined and consequently the chronology of the Revolution at
times becomes confusing. Also, the book's scope and focus may appear
hazy. Some students of the Mexican Revolution will be disappointed
in Martinez's concentration on the border, while those interested in
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 88, July 1984 - April, 1985, periodical, 1984/1985; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101210/m1/260/: accessed September 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.