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The Friends of Pancho Villa Mass Market Paperback – Mar 1998


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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback
  • Publisher: Berkley Pub Group (Mm) (Mar 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425162354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425162354
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 10.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,562,044 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on 29 July 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This story is set in a period of time, & in a country, that encouraged & nurtured the worst instincts of violent & cruel men. The heroes of the piece, Villa & Fierro, are classic examples of men who have fame thrust upon them by their willingness & enjoyment in giving in to their basest desires. They, & almost everyone of their "compadres", & indeed their enemies for that matter, are united by a sort of blind, compulsive blood-lust. Fierro even goes so far as to explain to the reader his feelings of regret & disappointment, with the thought that, following Villa's victory in the taking of Mexico City, their continued life of brutality could be put in jeopardy by a possible premature end to the revolution. Fortunately for Fierro, the violence continues & with it his own outrageous excesses. As jolting & sickening as some of the scenes are, the author tells the tale with great dash & a pacy, immediate style that someho! w goes hand in hand with the tumultous & disorganized progress of the revolution. It's a rousing, rollicking read. The characters, are drawn with feeling &, like them, or loathe them, you certainly want to know what will become of them. No prizes for guessing that most of them come to a richly deserved sticky end. I liked it!
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
crafted by the skillfull, master story teller James Carlos Blake.

Several of his novels depict Mexico's turbulence in the 19th century and the beginnings of the 20th century. Al are flawless, in my opinion.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 16 reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
The first, but not the last! 28 July 2000
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is the first book by James Carlos Blake that I have read, but it certainly won't be the last. How have I missed this author until now? I simply couldn't put this book down. This is an unflinching and uncompromising look at the Mexican revolution and at the men who fought in it, told from the viewpoint of one of Pancho Villa's 'Generals'. It is an absolutely driving narrative that never lets up from beginning to end. It is told in a surprisingly modern tone and language, yet still seems authentic in every nuance. Early on, the first person narrator remarks that the difference between a revolutionary and a murdering bandit is the difference between war and peace...and therefore how necessary it is to have the war. There are no real heroes here, treachery is a daily occurence, prisoners are murdered as a matter of course, villages and their civilian populations are destroyed without mercy. "As we pulled out of Zacatecas, the air was thick with the odors of smoltering ash, bloody dust, putrefying flesh. The rich ripe smells of triumph." This book is not for the squeamish; there is murder, cruelty and mayhem on virtually every page. But there is incredible bravery here, too. And victory in the face of overwhelming odds and hardship. After literally shooting an old-friend-turned-traitor to pieces, the General says, "Like Villa, I believed that even though some men did not deserve to go on living, they still deserved to be remembered at their best." That seems an apt epitaph for all of The Friends of Pancho Villa.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Profane, violent, and funny and historically accurate 19 Jun 2006
By Douglas S. Wood - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
James Carlos Blake takes the reader through the Mexican Revolution (and civil war) beginning in 1910 when Rodolfo Fierro, the narrative voice, joins Pancho Villa's small gang during a train robbery. Villa's fortunes rise and fall rapidly and Fierro has the ultimate insider access. Thirteen years later political opponents ambush and gun down Villa, by then retired, on the streets of Parral.

The book is filled with historical characters including Fierro, who carries the well-earned sobriquet "The Butcher", Felipe Angeles, Villa's best poltical general, as well as Porfirio Díaz, Francisco Madero, William Benton, Victoriano Huerta, Emiliano Zapata, Venustiano Carranza (whitebeard) and Alvaro Obregón (One-Arm). Fierro relates in the book that contrary to rumor he did not really drown when he got stuck in quick sand with gold loaded in his pockets - I have found reports that he did drown, but in 1913 and in 1917!

In Blake's telling, Villa and his friends had a grand time fighting, drinking, dancing, screwing, and loving (except for Pancho who rarely drank - he seemed to get married instead). At times the book is laugh-out-loud funny, which is a bit disconcerting because the bodies are piling up quickly. The confrontation between the Scotsman William Benton and Villa is hilarious in a profane and violent way. Pancho and Rodlfo inhabit a brutally violent world that frequently turns murderous almost without warning.

One paragraph captures the sense of history, the humor, and Villa's somewhat vague political identity when Pancho describes the impact of his brief invasion of New Mexico. "From now on their books will have to say, 'Nobody ever invaded the United States except for Francisco Villa, the magnificent Mexican patriot who tried so hard to be our friend but who we treated so shamefully because we are such stupid sons of bitches and have no honor.' "

Highly recommended for all readers of historical fiction or with an interest in Mexico or US-Mexico relations.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Pancho Villa comes alive 20 Oct 2002
By David W. Nicholas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've never read a James Carlos Blake novel before. I bought this, hesitantly, off a remainder shelf... Frankly, I'm amazed it was there. This is a tremendous book, replete with wonderful characters, an interesting plot, and wonderful atmosphere. The author has recreated the time of the Mexican revolution wonderfully, and the main character, and narrator, is someone you'd like to sit and have a conversation with...though not in a dark alley.
Rudy Fierro is there, throughout the whole of the Mexican revolution, and Pancho Villa's fight with the various people in power in Mexico City. The various people involved are tremendously depicted, and there's a parade of minor characters, some historical, some not. Both Ambrose Bierce and George Patton, not to mention John Pershing, make appearances. The author does a marvelous job of portraying men for whom it is nothing to shoot several hundred people, and then go have dinner.
Frankly, I was surprised by how good this book was. I found another one on the same remainder shelf, and after that I'll be hitting the used bookstore.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
A great adventure 3 Jan 2000
By David J. Brienza - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Blake does it again! After reading "The Pistoleer," one of the finest biographies-turned-adventures ever written, I picked up "Friends of Pancho Villa." Another extraordinary effort by James Carlos Blake. Blake paints great landscapes, and you can feel the both the heat of battle and the coldness of the Mexican mountains in his writing. A great adventure that tracks the life of one of history's great outlaw-heros.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
THIS BOOK IS ONE OF THE MOST ACCURATE BOOKS I HAVE EVER READ 12 Oct 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I THANK THE AUHOR,JAMES CARLOS BLAKE FOR MAKING THIS BOOK OF PANCHO VILLA SO ACCURATE MOST OF THE INFORMATION U SEE ABOUT HIM IN A HISTORY BOOK OR A ENCYCLOPEDIA TELLS OF HIM OF A KILLER WITHOUT A CAUSE AND PUT HIM DOWN IN SO MANY WAYS AND GIVE UNACCURATE INFORMATION OF WHAT THE REVOLUTION WAS ABOUT.YES THE AUTHOR DID PUT A LITTLE FICTION IN THE BOOK PROBABLY TO MAKE THE AMERICANS HAPPY.BUT NEVER THE LESS THE BOOK IS 90 PERCENT FACT I HAVE RESEARCH ALOT OF BOOKS OF PANCHO VILLA AND EVEN FIERRO. I JUST NEED A FEW MORE COURSES TO BECOME A HISTORY TEACHER IN A MIDDLE SCHOOL. WHEN I DO I WILL INTRODUCE THIS BOOK INTO THE CLASS. U DID A EXCELLENT JOB SIR.I HOPE U WRITE ANOTHER BOOK ABOUT OF OTHER PEOPLE THAT HISTORY BOOKS IN SCHOOLS TELL ANOTHER STORY ABOUT THEM BECAUSE THE GOVERMENT OF THE COUNTRIES OF THOSE PEOPLE PUT DOWN CAUSE THEY FOUGHT AGAINST THEM FOR A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE.
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