First published in 1915, this book is Azuela's classic account of the Mexican Revolution. Demetrio Macias, a naive, peace-loving Indian, becomes swept up in a revolution against the dictator Portfirio Diaz, and his courage eventually leads to a generalship in Pancho Villa's guerilla army. This is a timeless, authentic portrayal of peasant life and ...
First published in 1915, this book is Azuela's classic account of the Mexican Revolution. Demetrio Macias, a naive, peace-loving Indian, becomes swept up in a revolution against the dictator Portfirio Diaz, and his courage eventually leads to a generalship in Pancho Villa's guerilla army. This is a timeless, authentic portrayal of peasant life and revolutionary zeal.
Publishers Weekly, 2002-09-16 First published in 1915, Azuela's groundbreaking novel about a Mexican peasant who becomes a revolutionary leader is now being issued in a revised translation with a set of illuminating footnotes (notes and revisions by Beth E. Jurgensen). Demetrio Macias is the protagonist who joins the rebels in their efforts to overthrow Mexico's corrupt dictator, Porfirio Diaz, and Macias's brash approach to military tactics speeds his rise through the ranks. His background is articulated by journalist Luis Cervantes, who abandons the government to aid the rebels as he provides background on Macias in the early chapters. While the new general's forces engage in a series of hit-and-run battles with Federal troops, Azuela adds two romantic subplots, one about a difficult young woman named Pintada, who bonds with one of the other generals in the company; the other involves Camilla, a peasant girl who expresses her ardor for Cervantes early on, but ends up falling for Macias. The battle scenes are stirring, if somewhat underdeveloped, and Azuela highlights the conflict with a cameo appearance by Pancho Villa as the tide begins to turn against the rebels. Overall, the story is too incomplete to be labeled a classic by modern standards. What makes the book memorable is its portrayal of Macias as an archetype of Mexico's national character, as the peasant expresses his ongoing love for the process and pageantry of the revolution. The translation feels awkward, but Jurgensen's footnotes and the introduction (by Ilan Stavans) add colorful details and definitions while filling in some narrative and historical gaps. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1992-10-12 If Los de abajo , long considered one of the masterpieces of revolutionary literature in Mexico, has not received wide recognition north of the border, it is not for lack of trying. This is its fourth translation into English. Azuela himself described the book as ``a series of sketches and scenes of the constitutionalist revolution,'' at the center of which is Demetrio Macias, an Indian farmer who, following a petty fight with the local boss, became a bandit--which in 1913-1916 was basically the same thing as a revolutionary. His heroism must be read in the context of fellow rebels, like Luis Cervantes, the sometime journalist who spouts heroic claptrap between bouts of cowardice and avarice, or the brutal and crude Margarito. Unlike Azuela, who was a medical officer with Pancho Villa's forces, Macias does not know for whom or what he is fighting and is eventually trapped. Fornoff has wisely avoided translating the quickly outmoded Spanish slang into equally transient English; rather, he leaves Azuela's spare, lucid prose to tell its own story of the tyranny of revolution. This volume in the Pittsburgh Editions of Latin American Literature also includes scholarly essays by Carlos Fuentes, Seymour Menton and Jorge Ruffinelli. (Nov.)
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