- Hardcover: 360 pages
- Publisher: Univ of New Mexico Pr; 1st edition (September 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0826316190
- ISBN-13: 978-0826316196
- Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6.5 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,114,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Emiliano Zapata: Revolution & Betrayal in Mexico Hardcover – September, 1995
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From Library Journal
In this scholarly study of Zapata, journalist and scholar Brunk emphasizes aspects of personal leadership over the revolutionary movement as a whole. Brunk portrays a man whose legendary status has helped obscure the facts. From the formative years until his death by ambush in 1919, Zapata is depicted as a man unwaveringly committed to basic land reform and social justice for the peasants of his native state of Morelos. Zapata is not, however, idealized: his inability (or refusal) to control the brutal excesses of subordinate chieftains often resulted in bad press at home and abroad, much to the detriment of his credibility. Likewise, coalitions formed with other major revolutionary leaders (notably Pancho Villa)? essential to any hope of success?were always tenuous and fraught with potential treachery, given the vast array of personal and ideological elements in play. A well-documented, readable work; recommended for serious students of the topic.?Charles E. Perry, East Central Univ., Ada, Okla.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.
." . . skillfully written, well researched, and provides many new and valuable insights into Zapata . . ."
. . . an excellent book. . . . Brunk has produced an essential work on Emiliano Zapata.
. . . skillfully written, well researched, and provides many new and valuable insights into Zapata . . .
Samuel Brunk is to be applauded . . . Ýhis¨ style and scholarship are unimpeachable, confirming . . . a solid, well-researched, narrative history . . .
. . . the most realistic analysis of Zapata and his movement . . . straightforward, thoughtful . . . Brunks very readable book is the most accurate study on Zapata now existing.
"The author examines both Zapata and the movement in great detail; neither gets lost in the narrative. Perfect for the history buff or someone simply interested in learning more about Zapata."
Samuel Brunk is to be applauded . . . [his] style and scholarship are unimpeachable, confirming . . . a solid, well-researched, narrative history . . . --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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Top customer reviews
I was impressed with this book enough to look up more photos of Zapata and he is a very recognizable figure with his large sombrero and mustache. Whenever he talked the people into growing sugarcane, that made me remember someone in my family giving us kids stalks of sugarcane from Mexico.
All in all, my opinion of listening to this audiobook is that Emiliano Zapata was and is an important figure in Mexico's history even to this day. There are a lot of minute details that are definitely worth the listen including his relationship with Pancho Villa and others. Totally fascinating.
Charles Henderson Norman did a nice job narrating this audiobook. He had a reporting style which was informative. He spoke clearly and his Spanish pronunciation was impeccable. Really great work.
This book sadly misses the opportunity to examine the cultural dimension of Zapata's life and achievements. Starting with his beginning, Brunk totally ignores the religious attribute intrinsic in the culture of south/central Mexico - which he later admits it had. Indeed, he only mentions the word church when referring to how a village offered a strategic position from the tower of the church. When referring to the machismo culture and Zapata's relationships with females, he could have linked gender issues to Zapata's revolution. When he touched on the regionalist tendencies of Zapatismo, he could have compared one region against the other in greater details as to illuminate why regionalism was such a strong force. There were several questions that their answers could have enriched his research. How did religion influence the motivation of Zapatistas? What was the reaction of local priest and other members of the clergy, to Zapata's actions, and what type of relationship they had? What role did women play in Zapata's movement? How did the fatalism of machismo influence the outcome of the events? If the Guerreros were not as motivated for land reform as the Morelos were, what other motivations led them to follow Zapata? What role did Indians had within or against Zapatismo?
Brunk seems too concern at portraying Zapata as a benign leader, and worthy of idolization. While describing his childhood, he rarely criticizes the tradition as a source (with one important exemption), but it tends to place it at the center of the description. The book also has an inclination to smooth out Zapata's rough characteristics. Indeed, when there is someone to falter, there are always many candidates that are not Zapata. And when there is no way that Zapata can escape guilt, masterfully, Brunk explains out the reasons in a way that everything seems inevitable and the reader may sympathize with Zapata. The more obvious example, probably, is when a spirit of paranoia invaded the Zapata's camp, and he is not able to control it. At this moment Brunk chose to emphasize the doings of others, and when there was reference to Zapata's behavior, Brunk always did it with a compassionated tone and explaining that most convictions were done with lots of regrets. Furthermore, Zapata is presented as fair when he decided not to punish, and when he decided to punish, regardless that the cases were very similar and that the motivation for change appears to be related to mood swings more than any other factors. Undoubtedly, this book falls short of a complete description of the Mexican Revolution. This was not the intention of the book. However, the reader may gather the wrong impression of the Mexican Revolution by following the logic of the book. In many occasions the author clearly placed Zapatismo as the Revolution, and yet, in other parts he moved to explain how it was only a strand of a larger movement. This seemingly contradiction is not an isolated element. When Brunk tells about the differences on Villa and Zapata, and how that influenced the outcome of their relationship, he vacillates to use more unambiguous terms. To those fond of the scientific historical perspective and of empirical data, this book may prove a disappointment.
What this book does is to allow the reader to appreciate the Mexican Revolution, and more specifically, Zapatismo, from the personal life of Zapata. The emphasis on Zapata's life is more on his relationships to his subordinates and enemies, and this focus brings a totally new perspective into the matter. It seems that by getting close to Zapata's leadership Brunk gained an edge in understanding Zapata. By the constant use of the word "perhaps" one can assume that Brunk commonly relies on his intuition cultivated by years of personal acquaintance with the original sources leading to Zapata.
Through Brunk's style the reader may appreciate the influence of personalities and how power conflict influenced the Revolution and its southern strand: Zapatismo. Through this book the reader may appreciate how the unfolding of personal interaction determined the relationship between Zapata and his intellectuals. In explaining internal conflicts within Zapatismo, Brunk clearly understands how the rural people related to each other and how that differed from those coming from the city: in the country they looked in the eye, in the city they thought in terms of systems. (126) When returning to Morelos, Brunk describes a lively Zapata, full of energy as he makes his leadership, once again, dependent on his charisma and personality. Brunk also brilliantly explains how the concept of justice was more a personal matter to Zapata and how it evolved out of his relationship to others. And finally, Brunk takes the reader to Zapata's vacillation before going toward Jesus Guajardo; how he knew that he was gambling his live by doing so. This inside view into Zapata's political and military world could not be achieved without Brunk's emphasis on Zapata's personal relationships. At the end the reader may agree with Brunk in that brutality, pain, and personalism "formed an integral part of the Revolution, without which could not be understood." (238) There is no doubt that Brunk employed contemporary research and advanced analytical skills to study the political life of Zapata. Yet, he departs a little from the overly skeptic attitude of some current scholars who avoid personal worship and prefer a more depressing view of life. According to Brunk, then, the Revolution was indeed a revolution, and Zapatismo was a peasant's revolution with clear political and social significance.
Brunk states that "the primary goal of the book is to provide a . . . political biography of Zapata, and to demonstrate . . . That his choices and actions . . . [had] a historical impact." Brunk portrays Zapata as a man with utopian ideals who is plagued by personal faults. He contends that Zapata, or more precisely, Zapatisimo had, and has had, an enduring effect on th Mexican conscience and psyche. His work, over a third of which is composed of notes and references, is well researched. Brunk utilizes oral interviews, anthropological data, and newspaper and archival documents (many of which had been recently released) to develop his thesis.
Although Brunk does a wonderful job in compiling information to narrate his thesis, there are a few aspects to the book that are disappointing. For instance, the back of the book and the introduction claim that Brunk's depicture of Zapatisimo humanizes the Zapatisimo legacy by recanting the brutality and banditry that surrounded the movement. This controversial depicture (controversial because most previous historians and scholars who have written on Zapata have minimized or left out claims of the movement's cruelty) that was promised, however, never genuinely materializes in the pages of the book. To be sure, Brunk does give attention to the banditry that occurred during the Zapata movement, however, Brunk downplays the criminal activity conducted by Zapatistas as isolated or justified occurrences. This is rather unfortunate, not because it overly influenced his work (this does not seem to be the case). But because the promotional description of the book does not accurately apply. A prospective consumer looking forward to reading book that demonizes Zapata might be led astray by the controversial advertisement. Brunk's book only mildly describes the Zapatistas as crooks and thugs. To be fair though, some reviewers seemed satisfied with Brunk's work in illuminating Zapata's unethical activities.
Going beyond what may be construed as a misleading description of the book, Brunk offers the reader a thorough account of the situation Zapata was facing during the 1910s. Overall, this is an enjoyable book, however, at times the book's readability is rough and course. Brunk's recreation of the constitutional convention is a clear example of this. It was dull, deliberate and repetitive. On the positive side, the remaining sections of the book, particularly his description on the early days of Zapatisimo, were well written. Perhaps the most pointed and painful critique, however, comes from experts in the field. John Womack, author of Zapata and the Mexican Revolution and Harvard professor, concluded that Brunk had missed "a chance for a major contribution to scholarship" in light of all the new material available to him.
Notwithstanding the rather disappointing aspects to the book, it is still a book worth reading. Brunk does an excellent job depicting the shifting coalitions between the various factions of the revolution. Indeed, it would not be far fetched to suggest that Brunk's depiction of the various coalitions immensely helps the reader understand the difficulties that confronted the US in its first war of the 21st Century.