I was very impressed by the movie, "For Greater Glory." (I also posted a review on that.) I wanted more background information, and I also knew the film would have taken a few liberties with information in order to fit it into a short time-frame with limited characters.
So, I was very happy to see that a book on this subject, the "true story", had been published.
I would recommend that anyone who is unfamiliar with the Cristeros see the movie FIRST, with the understanding that the director has, of necessity, taken some artistic license. Then read this book to flesh out some of the information.
It's a quick read, and you can finish it in one sitting.
Obviously, it was rushed into print to coincide with the movie's run, and the author was under the gun to get it to market. But there's no attempt at a narrative. It's mostly question-and-answer, which is fine if you know the questions you want to ask. But for the reader who wants a context for the Cristeros movement, the Q & A format is not ideal.
Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus weighs in with an essay giving some of this context--it's too bad he didn't tackle the whole book. The K of C has, since its inception, been hugely influential in matters of religious freedom. I had no idea they were this politically involved, and it was an eye-opener for me that these principled men threw their support behind the Mexican Catholics, at a time when virtually no one knew or cared about what was happening south of the border. I had always assumed the K of C was just a social organization for former altar boys.
This has given me some insight into my own family's history: my grandfather was a very active K of C member, and he would have been involved with this issue right around this time.
The book also includes papal encyclicals addressing the situation in Mexico, as well as Cristero prayers (and a photo collection from the movie...the "real" characters have pictures embedded in the main body of the book). There is no index. There's a short bibliography, which unfortunately does NOT include Robert Royal's "Catholic Martyrs of the 20th Century". In that book, there is a very good, concise treatment of the Cristeros movement and the story of Father Pro, and there are also chapters on martyrs all over the globe who lived and died in fairly recent history. (It's moving to read about these men and women because their lives don't seem so remote, historically.)
I'm glad Ruben Quezada and Ignatius Press published this book, but I wish it had been more comprehensive.
I hope this is just a trial run and that another, more inclusive book follows. It would be wonderful if a text were made available to students of history and of Catholicism, especially kids in high school.
Because this is a story that should be heard.