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MANEUVER AND BATTLE IN THE MEXICAN REVOLUTION

A REVOLUTION IN MILITARY AFFAIRS

A fresh, if challenging, perspective on a neglected historical topic.

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The final part of Janssens’ (Maneuver and Battle in the Mexican Revolution: A Revolution in Military Affairs, Volume 2, 2016, etc.) comprehensive and iconoclastically revisionist interpretation of the Mexican Revolutionary War.

As 1914 approached, Mexican President Victoriano Huerta’s tyranny—and the Federal Army that protected it—was in dire condition. Still, the Federalists had a deeply ingrained sense of superiority to the citizen army behind the Constitutionalist uprising. Huerta had no shortage of advantages militarily and economically; his regime was widely acknowledged by the world’s major powers, so the success of the Constitutionalists seemed inexplicable. In this third installment of a panoramic trilogy, Janssens argues that the Federalists, expecting a quick triumph, didn’t consider a grand, unifying strategy necessary, so they never devised one. Also, their rigid hierarchy prevented adequate recruitment of quality soldiers, forcing them to amass an army of “conscripts and criminals.” Furthermore, the officer corps was plagued by corruption, the top leadership lacked real vision, and troop morale was perpetually low. By contrast, the Constitutionalists waged war with enthusiastic volunteers who were committed to their cause in an egalitarian army that issued promotions based on merit. As in the first two volumes, Janssens nearly synoptically assesses the historical record, considering not only tactical models, but also the sociocultural ramifications of the Constitutionalists’ victory. In his view, a newly democratic sense of national pride insulated Mexico from unfortunate experiments in militarism that plagued so much of Latin America in the 20th century. Although the author already made many of his concluding points articulately in preceding volumes, this one is particularly strong and impressively original on the impact of American intervention, particularly regarding seesawing embargoes. Taken as a whole, the author’s contribution to the study of the war—and Mexican history in general—is astonishingly thorough. However, despite its generally straightforward prose, this book and its predecessors would be a poor introduction to the subject for the novice due to its mesmeric detail and argumentative complexity. However, Jannsens’ contribution certainly deserves an audience in the academic community.

A fresh, if challenging, perspective on a neglected historical topic. 

Pub Date: Dec. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-9964789-2-2

Page Count: 550

Publisher: Revolution Publishing

Review Posted Online: Feb. 2, 2017

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NUTCRACKER

This is not the Nutcracker sweet, as passed on by Tchaikovsky and Marius Petipa. No, this is the original Hoffmann tale of 1816, in which the froth of Christmas revelry occasionally parts to let the dark underside of childhood fantasies and fears peek through. The boundaries between dream and reality fade, just as Godfather Drosselmeier, the Nutcracker's creator, is seen as alternately sinister and jolly. And Italian artist Roberto Innocenti gives an errily realistic air to Marie's dreams, in richly detailed illustrations touched by a mysterious light. A beautiful version of this classic tale, which will captivate adults and children alike. (Nutcracker; $35.00; Oct. 28, 1996; 136 pp.; 0-15-100227-4)

Pub Date: Oct. 28, 1996

ISBN: 0-15-100227-4

Page Count: 136

Publisher: Harcourt

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 1996

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TO THE ONE I LOVE THE BEST

EPISODES FROM THE LIFE OF LADY MENDL (ELSIE DE WOLFE)

An extravaganza in Bemelmans' inimitable vein, but written almost dead pan, with sly, amusing, sometimes biting undertones, breaking through. For Bemelmans was "the man who came to cocktails". And his hostess was Lady Mendl (Elsie de Wolfe), arbiter of American decorating taste over a generation. Lady Mendl was an incredible person,- self-made in proper American tradition on the one hand, for she had been haunted by the poverty of her childhood, and the years of struggle up from its ugliness,- until she became synonymous with the exotic, exquisite, worshipper at beauty's whrine. Bemelmans draws a portrait in extremes, through apt descriptions, through hilarious anecdote, through surprisingly sympathetic and understanding bits of appreciation. The scene shifts from Hollywood to the home she loved the best in Versailles. One meets in passing a vast roster of famous figures of the international and artistic set. And always one feels Bemelmans, slightly offstage, observing, recording, commenting, illustrated.

Pub Date: Feb. 23, 1955

ISBN: 0670717797

Page Count: -

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 25, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1955

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