Bad Mexicans: Book summary and reviews of Bad Mexicans by Kelly Lytle Hernández

Bad Mexicans

Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands

by Kelly Lytle Hernández

Bad Mexicans by Kelly Lytle Hernández X
Bad Mexicans by Kelly Lytle Hernández
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Book Summary

"Rebel historian" Kelly Lytle Hernández reframes our understanding of U.S. history in this groundbreaking narrative of revolution in the borderlands.

Bad Mexicans tells the dramatic story of the magonistas, the migrant rebels who sparked the 1910 Mexican Revolution from the United States. Led by a brilliant but ill-tempered radical named Ricardo Flores Magón, the magonistas were a motley band of journalists, miners, migrant workers, and more, who organized thousands of Mexican workers―and American dissidents―to their cause. Determined to oust Mexico's dictator, Porfirio Díaz, who encouraged the plunder of his country by U.S. imperialists such as Guggenheim and Rockefeller, the rebels had to outrun and outsmart the swarm of U. S. authorities vested in protecting the Diaz regime. The U.S. Departments of War, State, Treasury, and Justice as well as police, sheriffs, and spies, hunted the magonistas across the country. Capturing Ricardo Flores Magón was one of the FBI's first cases.

But the magonistas persevered. They lived in hiding, wrote in secret code, and launched armed raids into Mexico until they ignited the world's first social revolution of the twentieth century.

Taking readers to the frontlines of the magonista uprising and the counterinsurgency campaign that failed to stop them, Kelly Lytle Hernández puts the magonista revolt at the heart of U.S. history. Long ignored by textbooks, the magonistas threatened to undo the rise of Anglo-American power, on both sides of the border, and inspired a revolution that gave birth to the Mexican-American population, making the magonistas' story integral to modern American life.

39 photographs and 1 map

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"MacArthur fellow Hernández explores in this stellar history the legacy of Mexican revolutionary Ricardo Flores Magón (1873–1922) and his magonista movement...Hernández offers a vital reconsideration of American imperialism and the Mexican American experience. This is history at its most elucidating." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"An astute historical analysis...inclusion of Indigenous and feminist voices is both refreshing and necessary. A beautifully crafted, impressively inclusive history of the Mexican Revolution." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"I'm mad at Kelly Lytle Hernández. Every time I pick up something she's written, I can't put it down. I've lost hours, days, sleep, missed deadlines and appointments, made my kids late to school reading Migra! and City of Inmates, and, now, Bad Mexicans. Her writing is like a drug, riveting, intoxicating, vivid. And she's a damned historian! I come away from reading Kelly's writing exhilarated and inspired." - Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk

"An award-winning, internationally acclaimed scholar, Kelly Lytle Hernández delivers historical analysis with clear relevance in today's sociopolitical climate. A leading voice on issues ranging from immigration to policing to the criminal justice system more broadly, her work is known for empowering a wide range of communities, providing the necessary historical framing to build synergy among some of today's most daring social movements." - Heather Anne Thompson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Blood in the Water

This information about Bad Mexicans was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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More Information

Kelly Lytle Hernández holds the Thomas E. Lifka Endowed Chair in History and directs the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA. A 2019 MacArthur "Genius" Grant recipient, she is the author of the award-winning books Migra! and City of Inmates. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

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