Required Reading


November 2011

This Month's Featured Title

Ringside Seat to a Revolution

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Ringside Seat to a Revolution
An Underground Cultural History of El Paso and Juárez: 1893–1923

by David Dorado Romo

This micro-history of the Mexican Revolution is already used as a primary textbook in a number of Border Studies and Latino Studies courses. It links the United States with Mexico during one of Mexico’s most volatile periods and investigates what happened on the ground in two of the most important cities to the revolution—El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Mexico. Romo takes the core philosophy of "social history—exploring ordinary people—and offers a primer for students in Mexico’s social history, detailing the Mexican Revolution from the ground up in one location. Students will come away from the book with a stronger appreciation of a people’s version of the Mexican Revolution, in particular its popular art and music.

Through detailed research, archival photographs and great storytelling, Romo relates the history of a long-ignored cultural and political renaissance that was born of the conflict to depose the Díaz Regime and the bloody struggles that followed. The marvelous cast of characters includes well known characters like the people’s revolutionary, Pancho Villa, who rides his Indian motorcycle through the streets of El Paso and Teresa Urrea, la Santa de Cabora, who was the spiritual inspiration for so many of the paisanos who gave their lives for Mexico. But Ringside Seat is also about insurrection from the perspective of the peripheral characters: military band musicians who played Verdi operas during executions in Juárez; filmmakers who came to the border to make silent movies like The Greaser’s Revenge and Guns and Greasers; female bullfighters; poets; jazz musicians; Anglo pool hustlers reborn as postcard salesmen; Chinese illegal aliens; arms smugglers; and, of course, revolutionaries, counterrevolutionaries and counter-counterrevolutionaries.

About the Author

David Dorado Romo, the son of Mexican immigrants, is an essayist, historian, translator, and musician. He has studied at the Centro d’Attivitá Musicale in Florence, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and received a degree in Judaic Studies from Stanford University.

Praise for Ringside Seat to a Revolution

"Ringside Seat to a Revolution … is ‘people’s history’ at its best."—Howard Zinn

"In a city whose popular history has been portrayed … as one inhabited only by gunfighters and conquistadores, it is a breath of fresh air to read about the profound cultural and social influence of the Mexican Revolution and Mexican-origin people." —Yolanda Leyva, Ph.D., a University of Texas at El Paso history professor

Other Titles in History
Guerrilla Warfare Imperialism, Neoliberalism, and Social Struggles in Latin America Cuba: A History Central America and the Treaty of Versailles

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