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The Underdogs Hardcover – Nov 1 1992


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Hardcover, Nov 1 1992
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Pittsburgh Pr (Txt); New edition edition (November 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082293728X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822937289
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 17.1 x 1.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)


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THAT'S no animal, I tell you! Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Underdogs is a story about a farmer named Demetrio Macias in Mexico during the Mexican Revolution. The story follows Macias from the beginning of his involvement in the revolution until a very confusing end in which Macias is still fighting. This is not a book to read if you don't know much about the Mexican Revolution. Dialogue between the characters sort of gives you what is going on in the revolution but not enough to understand. What you really get is the manner of life Macias and his men live while fighting in the revolution. Early on, Macias and his men set off to fight against the government (who are the Spaniards) that are destroying their villages and towns. Eventually Macias and his men lose vision of who exactly they are fighting and they become the men who are destroying the villages and towns. The book ends with Macias still fighting for an unknown cause.
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By Amazon Customer on Nov. 10 2003
Format: Library Binding
You have to know something about the Mexican Revolution and, specifically the early period from 1913-1915 to understand this book, because it is aimed at readers who are very familiar with that time period. It explains more clearly than any other book of the time what went wrong with the Mexican Revolution and why it turned out the way it did. The writing style is very innovative for the period in which it's written. It's experimental because it breaks with traditional narrative patterns and is very minimalist at times because it skips over details and presents only little glimpses of what's going on. Azuela chose that style because it conveys the chaos of being in the middle of a revolution, and it also shows the confusion of the characters. Demetrio represents a new trend in fictional characters, because he's got both good and bad qualities. He's not a traditional hero, but he's not a villain either. He's just a confused man who doesn't know what he's fighting for. There is a tragic quality to the story, because people are trapped in patterns they can't break. If you want to understand modern Mexico, this is essential reading. It's not a book you would just sit down and read for fun, but it's worth the effort to read and understand it because it will give you a good feel for what it was like to live in Mexico in the war years.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
In my review, I will mainly be focusing on the writer's style. Personally, I did not like the book that much and the author's style of writing did not help me to enjoy it. Mariano Azuela had a very unique writing style. Sometimes it became confusing because he would change verb tense for a few pages. He never seems to stay in one place for that long of a time and that also makes the book very confusing.
In some places in the book, he has too many details and it makes it hard to see the big picture. But, in other places, he has too few details and it makes the big picture too confusing and hard to understand. But, in many places, he just tries to use verbiage I think in order to make the book longer, which I would certainly not do. Other than that, I think that this book lacks almost everything: plot (good plot), good characters, detailed setting, and much more.
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By AD on Jan. 28 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This novel's style is very minimalist; it is often critisized as having no plot and flat characters. After reading it and thoroughly analyzing it however (this book is one that takes effort; it doesn't "jump" at you) one can see that the Revolution is the plot, and that the characters are only relevant in how they are affected by, or how they reflect upon, the Revolution. Some say that true literature isn't great unless it's political. Maybe so, but a really good novel makes you care about the characters and the reader not want the story to end, and with The Underdogs it just isn't so. Not bad, but not THAT great either. Should definately be read by anyone interested in Mexican history.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a marvelous book, especially for Gringos who want to understand a major element of the psyche of Mexico.
But first, some background. In 1810, when Fr. Hidalgo issued his immortal 'Grito del Dolores' that launched Mexico's War of Independence from Spain, the average Mexican was better off than most Americans. The American Revolution, then the French Revolution, ignited the fires of freedom throughout the Americas. Mexico was one of the first to raise the proud banner of freedom.
Conservatives fought back, as they did in the 13 Colonies, and turned Mexico into a savage battleground. In the United States, successful Revolutionaries exiled defeated "United Empire Loyalists" to Canada, the Caribbean and England; in Mexico, in one form or another, both factions fought for a century. More than half of Mexico, what is now the US Southwest and California, was lost. The continuous war, plus an invasion by France, plundered Mexico of its wealth. In 1876, Porfirio Diaz imposed order; by 1910, after 34 years of the increasingly brutal Porfiriato despotism, the "underdogs" were ready to explode.
In one form or another, Revolution lasted until 1929. Peace finally came to Mexico when the Party of the Institutionalized Revolution (PRI) organized a national government and held power until the year 2000, when the presidency was won by Vincente Fox Queseda of the National Action Party (PAN).
Los de Abajo, printed in 1915 as a serial in an El Paso newspaper, was the first novel of the Revolution of 1910. It is still the finest description of the mood of people who made the revolution; a blunt description of the sheer joy of total destruction by people who had been crushed until all hope was lost.
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