Books: Revolution Is Hell

THE UNDERDOGS (149 pp.)—Mariano Azuela—Signet (60¢).

Mexico's bestselling novel of all time is, ironically, a bitter attack on the most sacred event in Mexican history: the 1910 Revolution. It takes an exceptional writer to go against his native grain and still be popular. But Mariano Azuela wrote The Underdogs with such unsparing honesty that he was forgiven his iconoclasm. Few novels have so fiercely proclaimed that war, revolution included, is hell.

Reissued now in paperback, in a new English translation, The Underdogs is less a narrative than a series of sharply etched, compactly written vignettes of peasant life during the Revolution. A band...

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