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War on the Border: Villa, Pershing, the…
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War on the Border: Villa, Pershing, the Texas Rangers, and an American Invasion (edició 2021)

de Jeff Guinn (Autor)

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1063260,619 (4)5
"From bestselling author Jeff Guinn, the dramatic story of how U.S.-Mexico border tensions erupted into open warfare in 1916, as a U.S. military expedition crossed the border to try to capture Mexican guerrilla Pancho Villa -- a military incursion whose effects still haunt the border region to this day"--… (més)
Membre:setnahkt
Títol:War on the Border: Villa, Pershing, the Texas Rangers, and an American Invasion
Autors:Jeff Guinn (Autor)
Informació:Simon & Schuster (2021), Edition: First Edition, 368 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:****
Etiquetes:history, military, usa, mexico, germany, texas, new mexico, mexican expedition, battle of columbus, columbus (new mexico), mexican border war, wwi

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War on the Border: Villa, Pershing, the Texas Rangers, and an American Invasion de Jeff Guinn

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Author Jeff Guinn’s previous books were all about personalities – somewhat dubious personalities: Bonnie and Clyde; the Earps and Clantons; Charles Manson; Jim Jones. War on the Border continues that, but on a broader canvas; the personalities are Woodrow Wilson, General Pershing, Pancho Villa, and various Mexican politicians, revolutionaries, and etc. The central point is the Villista cross-border raid on Columbus, New Mexico on March 8, 1916, but the book gives the background events before and the subsequent events after.

Nobody comes across as even mildly admirable. There are assorted Mexican presidents – Porfiro Diaz (exiled 1911), Francisco Madero (assassinated 1913), Victoriano Huerta (fled the country 1914), Venustiano Carranza (murdered 1920), plus “caretaker” presidents who served short terms in interregnums. There are Mexican revolutionaries - Emiliano Zapata, KIA 1919; Pancho Villa, assassinated 1923. And Alvaro Obregon, who was a revolutionary who became president (assassinated 1928). American president Woodrow Wilson was focused on events in Europe and didn’t want to get involved in Mexico until his hand was forced by Villa’s raid; ironically Villa had been pro-American until Wilson allowed Carranza’s troops to move through the US in pursuit of Villa. General Pershing was assigned the hopeless task of chasing down Villa, and wandered around northern Mexico without even getting close (a young 2nd Lieutenant, George Patton, did manage to corner one of Villa’s subordinates and brought his body backed to camp strapped to the fender of a touring car. This caused some comment in the Army but Patton explained there wasn’t enough room to put the body in a passenger seat).

The basic problem the Mexican government had – other than actually being a government – was foreign debt. Each new president (and each revolutionary president-in-waiting) promised to break up large landowners and nationalize American oil and mining companies. They then discovered that the only way to collect enough money to pay foreign debt was tax large landowners and American oil and mining companies, which couldn’t be done if they were broken up or nationalized. In the meantime, anti-American sentiment stoked by Mexican politicians and revolutionaries varied from high to extreme; Pancho Villa hijacked a train full of American mining engineers (after Carranza had assured them it was safe) and summarily executed 100 or so. (Villa had previously demonstrated he treated Mexican nationals equally, by executing over 500 surrendered federal soldiers; short of ammunition he lined them up in rows so a single bullet could take down several).

In 1915, a Mexican had been arrested in McAllen Texas, in possession of documents called the Plan de San Diego (named after the small town of San Diego, Texas, not the city in California). The typewritten papers called for Hispanics on the US side of the border to join raiders coming from the Mexican side and seize all the territory taken from Mexico since 1845. This was viewed with amusment but not a lot of suspicion; after all, relations between people on both sides of the border had been fairly amicable and the border itself was pretty fluid. In Nogales Arizona/Nogales Sonora it ran right down the main street and residents crossed back and forth without any customs formalities. The Mexican revolution(s) were a tourist attraction; people stood on the roofs of buildings in El Paso and watched the armies contend, with the occasional excitement of a stray bullet whizzing past. However, then came the Columbus raid, with American citizens and military killed by Mexicans. Villa had been having recruitment problems and he thought if he could show that he was the revolutionary who was actually taking the war to the Americans enlistments would pick up. Now, suddenly, the Plan de San Diego began to be taken seriously. There had always been criminals crossing the border in both directions, and crimes committed by both nationalities, but now there was the specter of organized mass attacks. It didn’t help that there actually were some raids into Texas, including one on the King Ranch. The response from the American side was not restrained. Innocent Hispanic citizens were persecuted and even lynched. The Texas Rangers were particularly brutal, massacring every male inhabitant of the small village of Porvenir in 1917. Things didn’t really settle down until the 1920s.

Guinn notes that estimates vary but there may have been as many as 5000 Mexicans and Mexican-Americans killed by Rangers and vigilante groups. There were casualties among Euroamericans – but perhaps 15-25. The distrust along the border remains.

An easy and interesting read. I had vague knowledge of the “Mexican Punitive Expedition” but never knew the details. It’s sometimes difficult to keep track of the participants on the Mexican side; a list of characters would be beneficial. Guinn seems to be even-handed, noting that both Villistas and Texas Rangers were given to summary execution with explanations offered later. A photograph section is mostly portraits of major participants; maps in the front matter could be better but then again most of the actions were so confused it would be hard to map them. Endnotes are by page rather than numbered, but are useful. An extensive bibliography. ( )
1 vota setnahkt | Jun 12, 2024 |
This expansive book takes in a lot more territory than its title promises. If the reader wants or expects a narrative of the Pershing expedition alone, then the first half of the book is backstory. Add to that a healthy fifty or sixty pages of denouement, and one is left with about a hundred pages describing the expedition itself. Yet to me the background is too significant to be left out, though I could have done without the author taking it back for centuries, and since there was very little military action during the expedition itself and it's difficult to imagine any account of just the military events constituting anything more than a magazine article, the book gets a pass in this regard from this reviewer. The author writes entertainingly and effectively untangles some often rather convoluted situations. There are a few typographic errors, but not many by the standards of contemporary publishing. ( )
  Big_Bang_Gorilla | Jul 24, 2022 |
Fascinating Read About Seemingly Forgotten History. Let's face it, these days (and even when this elder Millenial was in school in the late 80s - early 2000s), American schools (at least, perhaps, outside the Southwest) barely even teach World War 1 itself - much less the other actions that were going on as America was trying to stay away from that war. I knew of exactly one story from the Punitive Expeditions before reading this book, and that was the story of George S Patton's first ever motorized attack - one of the events early in his career that made him truly legendary. Here, Guinn does a truly remarkable job of setting the stage and scope of the entire situation, from its earliest beginnings (even repeatedly referencing when the Spanish first came to central America) through the fates of the key players he has spent the text explaining. If you've never heard of this last war on Continental US soil before, do yourself a favor and read this book. If you want to understand more context for a lot of the current simmering tensions along the US/ Mexico border... do yourself a favor and read this book. Yes, the actions themselves were now slightly over a century ago - but if you're able to read at all, it means that it was in the time of no further from you than your great-great grandparents, and these actions still reverberate to this day in the lands and minds of those whose own great-great grandparents (or more recent) were actively involved here. Very "readable" narrative, never sounds overly "academic", and well documented to boot. Very much recommended. ( )
  BookAnonJeff | Jul 11, 2021 |
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(Prologue) On Wednesday afternoon, March 8, in 1916, thirty-seven-year-old Pancho Villa crouched on a low hill about a mile south of the U.S.-Mexican border.
The chain of events that included Pancho Villa's raid on Columbus began ninety-one years earlier in 1825, when the first envoys of the United States government arrived in Mexico City.
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"From bestselling author Jeff Guinn, the dramatic story of how U.S.-Mexico border tensions erupted into open warfare in 1916, as a U.S. military expedition crossed the border to try to capture Mexican guerrilla Pancho Villa -- a military incursion whose effects still haunt the border region to this day"--

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