Reference Osprey Elite #137, The Mexican Revolution 1910-20
March 14 2006 at 8:43 PM
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Elite #137, The Mexican Revolution 1910-20. By Philip Jowett and Alejandro de Quesada with illustrations by Stephen Walsh. Soft covers, 7.25 x 9.75-inches, 64 pages; contains 47 B&W illustrations, one map, side-bars, eight pages of color art, chronology and index. ISBN 1-84176-989-4. Price: $17.95 USD.
You may wonder why a book of this nature is being reviewed on this particular web-site, since our primary interests are modeling mechanized assets and figures used in 20th- and 21st-Century land warfare. Well, so did I! However, what surprised me was the (arguable) fact that the Mexican Revolution of 1910-1920 did indeed contain many elements of what later became known as mechanized combined-arms warfare. To a very limited extent automobiles and aircraft were used, as were breech-loading artillery and machine-guns; armed trains also saw use, as did, of course, horse-cavalry. For instance, did you know that the first (failed) attempt to bomb a warship from an aircraft occurred during this conflict, in 1913? Let us not forget also that when the US became directly involved, none other than George S. Patton, Jr. himself actually had a legendary “mano-a-mano” shoot-out with one of Pancho Villa’s lieutenants (obviously the future “Old Blood and Guts” won). So there is a relationship here, albeit tenuous.
To set the stage, the author first provides a brief introduction on the origins of the Revolution, followed by an extensively annotated chronology (one of the best and most informative I’ve seen in any of these books, BTW), and a very handy “Glossary of Combatants”. This last item concisely says which faction was which, a rather handy item, if you ask me! The remaining text details the main actions and events and ably describes the politics involved. As would be expected, unit organization (where it existed), tactics and weaponry are also described. A separate chapter covering the “American Interventions” is followed by the final segment (the book’s largest) devoted to the several “Armies of the Revolution”. This is where the real meat is and some of it is really quite fascinating.
The photographic content is also very unique as it does give rather broad coverage to a subject that certainly warrants it. For the most part the photo reproduction is very well-done, taking into account the quality of the original images. The captions are also informative and fairly extensive, something that I appreciate. The color plates are excellently-rendered and show all sorts of colorfully-uniformed local combatants (including a woman and a “Yanqui” mercenary) from all of the major armies and factions as well as some unusual weapons, plus members of the US Army, Navy and Marines. The commentary for the plates is also extensive and not surprisingly, very informative.
For figure, vignette and diorama modelers who like to go “off-the-beaten-path”, this book should provide quite a bit of inspiration. If you are out there, maintained an open mind and decided to actually finish reading this review, then you should check this book out.
Frank V. De Sisto
Osprey books can be acquired direct through their web site at: www.ospreypublishing.com.