NOT OF WAR ONLY by Norman Zollinger


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 Nineteen hundred and fourteen was a good year for Corey Lane and Jorge Martinez, the heroes of Zollinger's (Lautrec, 1990, etc.) novel, though neither knew it when Lane, the sheriff of Chupadera County, N.M., chased the fugitive Martinez into enlisting in Pancho Villa's Division Del Norte. By year's end, both would fall in love with Mexico, the Revolution, and beautiful Mexican women. The Mexican Revolution, with its convoluted politics and terrible brutalities, is the context of this novel. Young Jorge, an intelligent and sensitive Mexican-American, joins the Revolution because he believes in it and believes he is a fugitive. Both tough and literate, he is singled out for promotion, rising as the aide to a regimental commander. Corey, lawman, veteran of the Spanish- American War, and erstwhile historian, is tough and romantic. Recruited to spy for the US by a former comrade in arms, he moves through the Mexican Revolution with a diminutive Scotsman, an agent of the British Empire, witnessing bloody battles, fruitless negotiations, and barren embassy affairs. We see the struggle from within and without. Jorge's view is the soldier's: dusty, battle- weary, tense. Jorge, his idealism tempered but not crushed, becomes as much concerned with the politics of the division as with those of the Revolution. Corey's experiences, though adventurous and risky, are those of the outside observer. As much as he wants to influence policy and events, he is locked out. Both Corey and Jorge establish deep friendships with comrades and ardent affairs with women. Jorge's affair with Juanita Duran aids the narrative, while Corey's affair is an intrusion. Generally, Jorge is more interesting than Lane, but both are sympathetic and evolve in credible ways. Two small, interwoven stories within a large and colorful tapestry. (Author tour)

Pub Date: May 10th, 1994
ISBN: 0-312-85529-X
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Forge
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1994


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