The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001 Page: 314
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
this demand. Katz explains that while Villa hated the Mexican oligarchy,
believed in the redistribution of income from the rich to the poor, saw the need
for social reform, including land reform, and, especially, universal quality educa-
tion for Mexico's neglected school-age children, military necessities hampered
him. While Zapata was fighting a mainly defensive war in the south, Villa was
often on the march and could not distribute land because it would have eroded
his army when his men returned to get their share of land. Operating near the
U.S. border, Villa was further constrained because he could not divide the great
estates among the peasantry or rural working class because it might have under-
cut his support in the United States by making him seem like a radical revolu-
tionary unwilling to respect private property. As a result, although he probably
overestimates the Wilson administration's support for Villa, Katz argues persua-
sively that for Villa to distribute land before victory would have undermined his
own army. Ultimately, though, Villa was defeated anyway because of tactical
blunders and the fact that the U.S. aided his enemies.
The intriguing question remains however: what would have happened if the
popular forces of Zapata and Villa had won the Revolution? Katz postulates that
a vast redistribution of land and income in Mexico emanating from the bottom
up would have ensued on a national scale, as it did in Morelos, and that this
more egalitarian society would have resulted in a more democratic one. This is
of course debatable, but Katz makes a good argument. The Carrancistas allowed
hacendados to take their land back. Villa expelled the old oligarchy. Land
reform was most extensive in Chihuahua and Morelos where Villa and Zapata
operated respectively, and local-level democracy in the decade after the
Revolution was greater in Morelos than in the rest of the country. This book pro-
vides a tremendous amount of new information and raises interesting questions.
It offers an excellent biography of Pancho Villa as well as a comprehensive history
of the Mexican Revolution in the North. The work represents a gigantic step for-
ward in the level of knowledge and it will be the standard piece on Villa for
some time while also stimulating further study and future debate.
Claron University of Pennslyvania Paul Hart
Borderlander: The Lfe of James Kirker, 1793-1852. By Ralph Adam Smith.
(Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999. Pp. ix+319. Maps, preface,
notes, bibliography, index. ISBN 0-8061-30441-5. $32.95, cloth.)
Most notorious as a scalp hunter, James Kirker was a figure central to the
nineteenth-century Southwest. Kirker's days as a seafaring profiteer, merchant,
fur trapper, miner, and gunrunner serve as a preface to his more famed role.
Working under both private and governmental arrangements, Kirker served as
an intermittent mercenary against Apache groups in Chihuahua, Sonora, and
New Mexico from 1838 to 1842. Here, constantly changing Mexican officials,
policies, and even governmental structure made for contradictory and overlap-
ping approaches to Apache raiding. The tenuous nature of Mexican control
over these northern provinces is quite evident in the face of Apache, Comanche,
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 104, July 2000 - April, 2001, periodical, 2001; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101221/m1/366/?rotate=270: accessed November 18, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.