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Friends of pancho villa Mass Market Paperback – March 1, 1998


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Mass Market Paperback, March 1, 1998
$101.52 $5.03

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; 1St Edition edition (March 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425162354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425162354
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 4.2 x 2.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,105,853 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"I loved the Revolution," says Rodolfo Fierro, the main character of Blake's new historical novel. "It set free the man I truly am. It let me do what I do best as well as it can be done." With these noble sentiments out of the way, Fierro gets down to what it is he does best: slaughtering?rich and poor, male and female. The ex-convict and train robber certainly was in the right place at the right time. During the roughly 10 years the Mexican Revolution tore across the land, it unleashed a human catastrophe unparalleled in that country since the Conquest. Fierro teams up early on in the action with Pancho Villa the bandit/revolutionary, one of the few who seem to revel in love as much as in death. He, for example, dislikes torturing prisoners, because it takes too long. "The time you spend torturing a man is time you could spend dancing and making love," he tells Fierro, who has just witnessed fellow revolutionary Emiliano Zapata's followers roasting an old man to death. Blake (The Pistoleer) blends fact and fiction into one of the few novels that risk political incorrectness by frankly describing the murder, betrayal and deceit that turned a revolution against dictatorship into a civil war that cost the country nearly a third of its population and left psychological scars that last to this day. He deftly follows the political twists and turns that prod Villa to continue as a leader even after his beloved Francisco Madero?Mexico's first president after the dictator Porfirio Diaz?is brutally betrayed and killed by vying revolutionary factions. This is not for the faint of heart, but then, neither is revolution.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 27, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first book by James Carlos Blake that I have read, but it certainly won't be the last. How have I missed this author until now? I simply couldn't put this book down. This is an unflinching and uncompromising look at the Mexican revolution and at the men who fought in it, told from the viewpoint of one of Pancho Villa's 'Generals'. It is an absolutely driving narrative that never lets up from beginning to end. It is told in a surprisingly modern tone and language, yet still seems authentic in every nuance. Early on, the first person narrator remarks that the difference between a revolutionary and a murdering bandit is the difference between war and peace...and therefore how necessary it is to have the war. There are no real heroes here, treachery is a daily occurence, prisoners are murdered as a matter of course, villages and their civilian populations are destroyed without mercy. "As we pulled out of Zacatecas, the air was thick with the odors of smoltering ash, bloody dust, putrefying flesh. The rich ripe smells of triumph." This book is not for the squeamish; there is murder, cruelty and mayhem on virtually every page. But there is incredible bravery here, too. And victory in the face of overwhelming odds and hardship. After literally shooting an old-friend-turned-traitor to pieces, the General says, "Like Villa, I believed that even though some men did not deserve to go on living, they still deserved to be remembered at their best." That seems an apt epitaph for all of The Friends of Pancho Villa.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By David W. Nicholas on October 19, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've never read a James Carlos Blake novel before. I bought this, hesitantly, off a remainder shelf... Frankly, I'm amazed it was there. This is a tremendous book, replete with wonderful characters, an interesting plot, and wonderful atmosphere. The author has recreated the time of the Mexican revolution wonderfully, and the main character, and narrator, is someone you'd like to sit and have a conversation with...though not in a dark alley.
Rudy Fierro is there, throughout the whole of the Mexican revolution, and Pancho Villa's fight with the various people in power in Mexico City. The various people involved are tremendously depicted, and there's a parade of minor characters, some historical, some not. Both Ambrose Bierce and George Patton, not to mention John Pershing, make appearances. The author does a marvelous job of portraying men for whom it is nothing to shoot several hundred people, and then go have dinner.
Frankly, I was surprised by how good this book was. I found another one on the same remainder shelf, and after that I'll be hitting the used bookstore.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Douglas S. Wood on June 18, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
James Carlos Blake takes the reader through the Mexican Revolution (and civil war) beginning in 1910 when Rodolfo Fierro, the narrative voice, joins Pancho Villa's small gang during a train robbery. Villa's fortunes rise and fall rapidly and Fierro has the ultimate insider access. Thirteen years later political opponents ambush and gun down Villa, by then retired, on the streets of Parral.

The book is filled with historical characters including Fierro, who carries the well-earned sobriquet "The Butcher", Felipe Angeles, Villa's best poltical general, as well as Porfirio Díaz, Francisco Madero, William Benton, Victoriano Huerta, Emiliano Zapata, Venustiano Carranza (whitebeard) and Alvaro Obregón (One-Arm). Fierro relates in the book that contrary to rumor he did not really drown when he got stuck in quick sand with gold loaded in his pockets - I have found reports that he did drown, but in 1913 and in 1917!

In Blake's telling, Villa and his friends had a grand time fighting, drinking, dancing, screwing, and loving (except for Pancho who rarely drank - he seemed to get married instead). At times the book is laugh-out-loud funny, which is a bit disconcerting because the bodies are piling up quickly. The confrontation between the Scotsman William Benton and Villa is hilarious in a profane and violent way. Pancho and Rodlfo inhabit a brutally violent world that frequently turns murderous almost without warning.

One paragraph captures the sense of history, the humor, and Villa's somewhat vague political identity when Pancho describes the impact of his brief invasion of New Mexico.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By David J. Brienza on January 3, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Blake does it again! After reading "The Pistoleer," one of the finest biographies-turned-adventures ever written, I picked up "Friends of Pancho Villa." Another extraordinary effort by James Carlos Blake. Blake paints great landscapes, and you can feel the both the heat of battle and the coldness of the Mexican mountains in his writing. A great adventure that tracks the life of one of history's great outlaw-heros.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 12, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I THANK THE AUHOR,JAMES CARLOS BLAKE FOR MAKING THIS BOOK OF PANCHO VILLA SO ACCURATE MOST OF THE INFORMATION U SEE ABOUT HIM IN A HISTORY BOOK OR A ENCYCLOPEDIA TELLS OF HIM OF A KILLER WITHOUT A CAUSE AND PUT HIM DOWN IN SO MANY WAYS AND GIVE UNACCURATE INFORMATION OF WHAT THE REVOLUTION WAS ABOUT.YES THE AUTHOR DID PUT A LITTLE FICTION IN THE BOOK PROBABLY TO MAKE THE AMERICANS HAPPY.BUT NEVER THE LESS THE BOOK IS 90 PERCENT FACT I HAVE RESEARCH ALOT OF BOOKS OF PANCHO VILLA AND EVEN FIERRO. I JUST NEED A FEW MORE COURSES TO BECOME A HISTORY TEACHER IN A MIDDLE SCHOOL. WHEN I DO I WILL INTRODUCE THIS BOOK INTO THE CLASS. U DID A EXCELLENT JOB SIR.I HOPE U WRITE ANOTHER BOOK ABOUT OF OTHER PEOPLE THAT HISTORY BOOKS IN SCHOOLS TELL ANOTHER STORY ABOUT THEM BECAUSE THE GOVERMENT OF THE COUNTRIES OF THOSE PEOPLE PUT DOWN CAUSE THEY FOUGHT AGAINST THEM FOR A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE.
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