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The Zapatista Reader (Nation Books) Paperback – January 4, 2002

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The Zapatista Reader (Nation Books) + The Fire and the Word: A History of the Zapatista Movement + Ya Basta! Ten Years of the Zapatista Uprising
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Collecting essays, interviews, articles and letters that center on a Latin American guerilla revolution and its hero, Subcomandante Marcos, this anthology is an excellent resource for anyone interested in the movement born in 1983 as the National Zapatista Liberation Army. As Hayden, a California state senator and the author of Irish on the Inside, writes in his introduction, largely because of Marcos, there is "a diary, a poetry, an intellectual account" of the struggles of southern Mexico's indigenous communities to preserve their lands and their rights. Hayden's thoughtful volume is divided into three sections: eyewitness accounts of the movement's most spectacular display (on Jan. 1, 1994, 3,000 Zapatistas took control of six large towns and hundreds of smaller ranches in response to the implementation of NAFTA); the poetic writings of Marcos; and a series of essays by political and intellectual leaders reflecting on the Zapatistas. Since the 1994 uprising, skirmishes between the Mexican government and the Zapatistas have continued lives are lost and lands are stolen, returned and stolen again but the U.S. media reports little of these affairs. This neglect has encouraged Latin American and European journalists and writers to step forward, their imaginations caught up with what many consider to be one of the last revolutions of and for the people. Jos‚ Saramago, Gabriel Garc¡a M rquez, Octavio Paz and Eduardo Galeano all weigh in on the insurgency and its mysterious and charismatic leader; it is these essays, along with Marcos's letters and speeches, that make this collection a worthy addition to the canon of Latin and South American literature as well as a valuable historical text.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In June 2001, President Vicente Fox declared that the revolutionary conflict in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas was over and that the world should focus on other challenges facing Mexico. Hayden, a longtime civil rights activist and former California state senator, doesn't agree. In his introduction, he suggests that, despite the worldwide disintegration of the traditional Left during the last decade, the message of revolution is back owing to the Zapatista movement. This movement has set an example by breaking with the traditional Left and focusing not on the transfer of political power but on the protection and continuance of native culture and tradition. Collected here are short articles about the Zapatista movement taken primarily from translated newspaper articles, documents, and a few unpublished works written by many cultural and political writers from Latin America and the rest of the world, including Jos‚ Saramago, Ilan Stavans, Elena Poniatowska, and Enrique Krauze. Much of what is included is not easily available in the United States and will be of value to libraries with Latin American collections. Mark L. Grover, Brigham Young Univ., Provo, UT
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Series: Nation Books
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books; First Edition edition (January 4, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560253355
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560253358
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #799,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By JB on June 4, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a nice collection put together by Tom Hayden that serves to give one a broad overview of the Zapatista movement. There are many books out there written on the subject, none of which I have had the opportunity as of yet to read. I think the strength of the Zapatista Reader is the multi-faceted perspective it offers the reader on Marcos, the Zapatistas, the state of Chiapas, etc. Much of the well-known and respected Latin America media, as well as from around the world, weighs in with a different take on the history, culture, politics, economic theory and more. To some the book might be repetitive, as most of the authors recount a lot of the same details. However, I also believe that to be one of the book's strengths, that by the end of the reader one is well versed in the goings-on. As each author hails from a different educational and professional background, each provides different insights, pearls of wisdom if you will, just when you think there couldn't be anymore to learn. One comes away with knowing the Zapatista movement more as Mexico's version of the Civil Rights era than the next Cuban Revolution, an understanding of Mexican history, particularly as it concerns national and agrarian politics and much, much more.
Though there is plenty of Marcos speak, those looking for strictly Marcos, or Marcos' words, still might be able to find better, perhaps in something like Our Word Is Our Weapon. However, if one appreciates excellent, insightful and detailed journalism, the Zapatista Reader is like reading a special edition Time, mutiplied by ten, the Zapatistas from all sides, uncensored, exposed. I recommend it.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Robert Blake on February 2, 2007
Format: Paperback
"The Zapatista Reader" is one of the best collections of work pertaining to the Zapatista Indian uprising in the state of Chiapas, Mexico. On January 1, 1994, the Zapatista Army Of National Liberation announced itself to the world when it took over many provinces in Chiapas and declared that Mexico's Indian peoples would not live under the oppression and hunger offered by their corrupt government (January 1 is apparently a date favored by revolutionaries considering that this was also the day Fidel Castro and his rebels took Cuba). Lead by the charismatic Subcomandante Marcos, the Zapatistas have gained worldwide fame as one of the post-Cold War world's most important and relevant revolutionary movements. With "The Zapatista Reader" we get a rich palette of the ideas, politics and history behind not just the Zapatistas, but the current state of Mexico as well. Great Latin authors such as Colombia's Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Mexico's own Paco Ignacio Taibo II (author of the great Che Guevara bio "Guevara, Also Known As Che") offer their own articles and interviews with Marcos and other members of the movement. We learn that the Zapatista revolution has deeper intentions than most people realize, for example the Zapatista women wrote their own constitution demanding equal rights in education, work and marital status. There are wonderful snippets of indigenous poetry and Marcos' own writings are a powerful reflection on the decaying state of a world that has sold itself to materialism. There are fascinating historical accounts of the history of the Americas dating back to the Spanish conquest when the brutal repression of the Indian peoples began and planted the seeds for an uprising such as in Chiapas.Read more ›
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By spade on January 25, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fantastic Reader for Zapatismo and their history. The varied essays and incredible sources such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Jose Saramago, Paco Taibo II, Enrique Krauze, ect, includes three Nobel Laureates as well as prominent speakers involved with the Zapatistas. Additionally, (editor) Tom Hayden includes specific works directly from Chiapas as well as more broad-based writings from Subcommandante Marcos as well as other Zapatista writers.

I was entranced by the sheer amount of writings (50+ essays) that Hayden was able to compile, while at the same time keeping the readings varied and all very interesting (hard to put down reader). He was able to blend writings on Mexican feminism with the Zapatista beliefs while also shaping the writing of Catholic bishop Samuel Ruiz Garcia and his work in Chiapas. Hayden used several authors to show how current events in Chiapas directly relate to contemporary politics at work in el Ciudad e Mexico and even beyond into the globalized world.

The reader is elegently constructed into three parts, Part I being "The Story" a kind of history of the Zapatista movement and how it developed into its current shape (at least until publication in 2002). Part II "The Word" involves strictly Zapatista writings showing how what they believe has shaped their actions presented in Part I of the reader. Finally Part III "The Commentaries" provides how modern contemporaries view the progress and potential for growth of the Zapatista movement. These include giants in Mexican writing and journalism but also political thinkers, further reinforcing the validity of this immense work.

The only critique I have was the horrendous job of editing.
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