Thursday, July 03, 2014

Francisco I. Madero: A Cien Años de su Muerte (On the 100th Anniversary of His Death)

This handsome choc-full-o-photos tome might seem just the thing for the coffee table, yet it is filled with a  magnificent collection of original scholarly work. Published late last year by Mexico's Ministry of Finance (Secretary de Hacienda y Crédito Público), the edition is already out of print (agotada, as they say in Mexico). I sincerely hope a paperback and an ebook will be available soon, for every scholar of the period should be sure to consult it.

(Alas, it came out too late for me to be able to incorporate any of it into my own book, Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution: Francisco I. Madero and His Secret Book, Spiritist Manual-- but then, this was to be expected, for Madero and the Mexican Revolution he led in 1910 are going to be the subject of studies, books, documentaries and more for years to come.)

Of special note:

The first chapter, on Madero's loaded gun of a book, La sucesión presidencial en 1910 (The Presidential Succession in 1910), rich in the detail of political intrigue, is by Josefina MacGregor, professor of history at Mexico's UNAM (National University). It is no exaggeration to say that the whole cascade of events that brought down the dictator, Porfirio Díaz, began with this, Madero's first book.

Lucrecia Infante Vargas wrote the chapter touching on Madero's Spiritism: "Conducir el espíritu, gobernar la nación: La Ilustración espírita (1870-1893) y la difusión del espiritismo en el México de entre siglos." ["Leading in Spirit, Governing the Nation: La Ilustración espírita (1870-1893) and the spread of Spiritist in Turn-of-the-Century Mexico"].  This covers the basics of Kardecian Spiritism in Mexico, Madero's intense involvement in Spiritism, and his Manual espírita. I was especially intrigued to read about Laureana Wright, a writer and Spiritist who in 1892 became the President of Mexico's  Sociedad Espirita Central de la República-- most unusual for a woman of that time.

Manuel Guerra de Luna, the author of a biography of Madero, and of the Madero family (Los Madero La saga liberal), and the screenplay for  the documentary "1910: La Revolución Espírita" wrote the chapter on how the Revolution was financed. ("Los Madero y el financiamiento de la Revolución Mexicana en 1910.") No one knows the Francisco I. Madero and the Madero family archives better than Guerra de Luna, and this subject should be of special interest for anyone looking into the Revolution. Madero was a scion of one of Mexico's wealthiest families, so the story most often told is that he simply paid for the 1910 Revolution out of his own pocket. Conspiracy theorists retail their version-- not substantiated in the archives-- that involve a meddling Uncle Sam and oil companies. The story, as Guerra de Luna reveals, is not so simple-- more an action-packed thriller with an astonishingly unlikely outcome. 

COMMENTS always welcome.

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>Mexican historians Enrique Krauze, Manuel Guerra de Luna, Alvaro Matute and Jean Meyer discuss Francisco I. Madero, October 18, 2010. Podcast: click here to listen (in Spanish).

>Francisco I. Madero by Stanley R. Ross

>Enter Allan Kardec, Chef du Spiritisme

> Después de la muerte by Léon Denis, a Spiritist book translated by Ignacio Marsical and sponsored by Francisco I. Madero and his father, Francisco Madero, published in 1906. Includes a video showing my copy of the book.

>A rare book adventure in Mexico City: Una ventana al mundo invisible: Master Amajur and the Smoking Signatures

> Francisco I. Madero and Dr Arnoldo Krumm-Heller: Some Notes on Sources

> My talk in 2012 about translating Madero's Manual espírita, in English, for PEN San Miguel de Allende and SOL Literary Magazine. Podcast: click here to listen. (At the time, my introduction was very brief-- not the full-length book it is now-- and only available in Kindle. So you'll see if you click through to the podcast, the cover and title were different.)

>My book is now available in paperback and Kindle: Metaphysical Odysey into the Mexican Revolution: Francisco I. Madero and His Secret Book, Spiritist Manual. Also, the Spanish is available in Kindle: Odisea metafisica hacia la revolución Mexicana. More news about that title soon.