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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1994, as a guerrilla group of indigenous people calling themselves "Zapatistas" rose up in armed rebellion in the poor Mexican state of Chiapas, the writings of their enigmatic spokesman, Marcos, began being published in various Mexican journals and newspapers. They have since been disseminated around the world via the Internet and by Cinco Puntos press in the U.S. This collection of Marcos's work clearly shows--no matter one's stance on his politics--why he has become an international phenomenon: he is a writer of rare ability. As a political analyst and propagandist, Marcos offers trenchant analyses of the plight of the native people of Mexico, their neglect by a corrupt national government and the exacerbation of their poverty and marginality, according to him, as "neoliberalism"--i.e., international finance--permeated that nation. But he moves easily to romantic realist musings on his life in the remote mountains of Chiapas and the path that led him to the role of rebel. Finally he becomes a fabulist, writing his own brief tales--at times achingly poetic, at other times laugh-out-loud funny--and retelling the ancient myths and legends from Mexico's Mayan past. Though the pieces here are, in the end, difficult to categorize, what connects them is Marcos's commitment to making the indigenous people visible, revealing the poverty of their lives and the richness of their traditions. He writes, "Being silent, our voice was passing away." Marcos has broken that silence in language as strong as dignity and as subtle as love. To read this collection is to discover that rare animal: an original voice.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

On January 1, 1994, an indigenous guerrilla group, the Zapatistas, named after the early 20th-century revolutionary Mexican leader Emilio Zapata, seized several key towns in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. The most significant uprising in Latin America in the last 20 years, this act focused Mexican military and political attention on the region and caught the imagination of the world's leftist community. A major reason for the international interest centers partly on the elusive figure of its spokesman leader, known only as Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos. This mysterious character, who has remained unidentified and appears in public with his face partially hidden, declared that this movement would focus not on the battlefield but on winning worldwide public opinion and support over the airwaves and Internet. As a result, Marcos's poetic and articulate writings, including an awarding-winning children's book, Story of the Colors, are essential elements in understanding this movement. A good compilation of translations of his more important writings, this volume will be of interest to university research libraries and public libraries with an interest in Mexico and revolution.DMark L. Grover, Brigham Young Univ. Lib., Provo, UT
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Open Media
  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Seven Stories Press; Abridged edition (December 7, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 158322663X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1583226636
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.4 x 4.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,186,434 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Mark Wilkinson on February 10, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is no doubt the most interesting book I've come across about the Zapatista movement. There are 3 parts to the book. The first part is about the story of how the Zapatistas came to be, about Marcos' declarations of war, and his reasons behind the uprising. The second goes deeper into the conflict and it's relevance to the world. The third is a colletion of Marcos' stories and poetry. The book initially caught my eye, with Marcos' infamous masked stare, but it's his words that open up my heart and mind. It's outstanding, I'd recommend it to anyone that's interested in this struggle and it's politics.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Bob Berkowitz on November 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
Too often those of us who seek social justice for people who have been traditionally oppressed tend to just reminisce on the past.
However, this book proves that there is a great social movement that ordinary people CAN , RIGHT NOW make a diffrence about
The history of Mexico, like the history of Latin America, is a history of pain, struggle, and exploitation.
Marcos shows us a movement that seeks to right some of the wrong, and leads a movement of the oldest of the old, the oppressed of the oppressed: Indigenous campesinos (farmers) of Southern Mexico. Where pictures of Jesus Christ stand right there alongside of.....Che Guevara.
A people that have been traditionally been treated like dirt, for lack of a better word, now taking an inspirational and highly moving stand and demand an end to exploitation and a better way of life.
Through their charismatic and briliant leader, Marcos, he tells us the story of the people known as Zapatistas and their struggle for dignity.
The dignity of a people no longer willing to tolerate centuries of injustice.
What human being cannot be moved by such extroadinary courage?
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Deepa Fernandes on March 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I have sporadically read and been inspired by the writings of El Sup over the last few years - his poetic brilliance, his lyrical poignancy to strike a blow while planting seeds - and to see the collected works of this remarkable thinker and revolutionary is simply incredible. I encourage anyone who is involved in a struggle, anyone who seeks light in an increasingly dark world, and anyone who believes that a better world is still possible, to get this book. Not a cover to cover read, but an activist manual, a delicious serving brain food and heart food. Again, simply wonderful.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Reed on January 18, 2007
Format: Paperback
Since reading this book (actually, before I was even halfway finished) I had decided I needed to buy copies for family and friends as gifts and recommend it to pretty much everyone. Marcos is an amazing writer, and the story of the Zapatistas is extremely relevant and intriguing for anyone interested in modern society, politics, Latin America, social movements, civil wars, literature and poetry, what "integrity" means in such troubled times, and so much more. No matter your interest, you will not be dissapointed by this purchase.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on October 31, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
How can anyone read el subcommandante and not be moved? How can anyone just look at the plight of these people in Mexico and not feel rage at the injustice?
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By wildflowerboy on April 21, 2006
Format: Paperback
Without a doubt, Subcomandante Marcos is one of the most important present day writers and activists in the Americas. "Our Word is Our Weapon" is a huge collection of his essays and short stories about the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas.As such, I highly recommend it for peace and justice activists engaged in Latin American solidarity work, the anti-corporate globalization movement and indigenous struggles. Moreover, it is an interesting study of grassroots participatory democracy in action. Read it and be inspired!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By S. J. Boatwright on August 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I picked this book up sometime ago but never had the opportunity to flesh out this thick work. Finally, I decided to write a substantial research paper based on the EZLN and their use of cultural "warfare" to garner Mexican and international allies. Beyond being phenomenally well written in the beautiful prose of Marcos, the alternative vision of social relations the Zapatistas create is too awe-inspiring to ignore. Just when the world thought social experimentation was a relic of the 20th century, these poet-guerrillas dared to shift the paradigm.

The book is a series of short communiques, poetry, and histories as told by the iconic Subcommandante Marcos. The reader can literally feel the sincerity and passion behind Marco's words as he riddles his tales. Although not directly applicable to the urban-industrial world, a point the EZLN makes itself several times, this book will inspire all to create a society based on Zapatista ethos: Democracy, Liberty, and Justice.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marcos on February 22, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Subcommandante Marcos has a vision that worked not only for the Mayans and people of Chicapas but one that can work, in an adjusted form, for the world. His writing is poignant and this is a must read for anyone interested in TRULY changing the landscape of politics, society, community, and the way the world works and is run. Everyone should read this book. ALthough I must admit I am not all the way through the book yet, I have read enough and truly believe that a form of syndicalism is the only way that we can ever have collectively run, peaceful world. This is a must read along with the works of Emma Goldman, Albert Parsons, and Ghandhi.
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