The Underdogs/Los de abajo

Sometimes I think that I need to just make a list of all the major periods of written history, back and back and back, along with all of the regions of civilization, line them all up, and find books that correlate with each. It would be a huge undertaking, and I have no idea how long it would take me to work through every period and place, but I am so tired of not knowing my world history, any more than, “Oh, this war happened in this place…” but only knowing the vaguest of details about it, or worse, not knowing anything about a place and time at all. I should not be this ignorant. I am an educated person. Or so I always thought. Now I am not so sure.


I’m frustrated at the moment…can you tell? One of the books on my Coursera list is Mariano Azuela’s The Underdogs (or Los de Abajo). Azuela writes about an exile in the Mexican Revolution who takes up arms against the Federales, and forms his own band of rebels.

The book itself is short and very fast-paced. It only took about two hours for me to finish, even taking my time to try and understand what was going on. I was reading one of those free Amazon English-version of a Spanish book, and free translations always have an awkward pacing, just in their nature. But I don’t think that was my problem, really. I just plain don’t know anything about the Mexican Revolution. Honestly, I had it confused with the Texas Revolution–the one Sam Houston was involved in. When I realized how wrong that was…well I felt really stupid.

The book was published in 1915, which according to Wikipedia is right in the middle of everything. If you were in Mexico in 1915, you KNEW what was happening, and the book is written for that audience. I don’t have much of a verdict here…I’m not the best judge. What I do know, is that I am going to add some books on the Mexican Revolution to my TBR. When ignorant about a subject, the only thing I can do is read more about it!


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