- 14,99 €
A dramatic account of the “Punitive Expedition” of 1916 that brought Pancho Villa and Gen. John J. Pershing into conflict, and whose reverberations continue in the Southwestern US to this day.
Jeff Guinn, chronicler of the Southwestern US and of American undesirables (Bonnie and Clyde, Charles Manson, Jim Jones) tells the riveting story of Pancho Villa’s bloody raid on a small US border town that sparked a violent conflict with the US. The “Punitive Expedition” was launched in retaliation under Pershing’s command and brought together the Army, National Guard, and the Texas Rangers—who were little more than organized vigilantes with a profound dislike of Mexicans on both sides of the border. Opposing this motley military brigade was Villa, a guerrilla fighter who commanded an ever-changing force of conscripts in northern Mexico.
The American expedition was the last action by the legendary African-American “Buffalo Soldiers.” It was also the first time the Army used automobiles and trucks, which were of limited value in Mexico, a country with no paved roads or gas stations. Curtiss Jenny airplanes did reconnaissance, another first. One era of warfare was coming to a close as another was beginning. But despite some bloody encounters, the Punitive Expedition eventually withdrew without capturing Villa.
Today Anglos and Latinos in Columbus, New Mexico, where Villa’s raid took place, commemorate those events, but with differing emotions. And although the bloodshed has ended, the US-Mexico border remains as vexed and volatile an issue as ever.
Guinn (The Vagabonds) brings the U.S.-Mexico conflicts of the early 20th century to vibrant life in this superior history. At the heart of the story is Pancho Villa, the Mexican revolutionary leader whose forces killed American soldiers and civilians during a cross-border raid in 1916. Villa had played a crucial role in the 1914 ousting of Mexican president Victoriano Huerta, only to become an adversary of Huerta's successor, Venustiano Carranza. Guinn documents how Germany flirted with both Carranza and Villa, hoping that unrest near the U.S. border would make it more likely that President Wilson would stay out of WWI. The situation came to a head in March 1916, when Villa launched an attack on Columbus, N.Mex., in an attempt to provoke a military invasion of Mexico and create a political crisis for Carranza. U.S. troops under the command of Gen. John Pershing entered Mexico in pursuit of Villa, but the effort proved both financially costly and unsuccessful. Villa ultimately retired, only to be assassinated in 1923, soon after announcing that he might run for president. Guinn expertly mines primary and secondary sources and stocks his fluid narrative with racist vigilantes, botched assassination attempts, and risky military ventures. The result is a riveting introduction to a lesser-known chapter in American history.