Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

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A reevaluation of life the man who saved the Mexican Revolution, published on the 100th anniversary of his death.

A wild ride and revealing portrait of the controversial Pancho Villa, one of Mexico’s most beloved (or loathed) heroes, that finally establishes the importance of his role in the triumph of the Mexican revolution by renowned writer Paco Ignacio Taibo II.

The last biography of Pancho Villa was published 25 years ago, and this new edition has been translated into English for the first time. This biography marks a kind of reinvention of the legendary Mexican figure of Pancho Villa. It is a masterful reevaluation and heavily researched account of his life. This book makes a new claim, finally giving Pancho Villa his due as the decisive figure in the success of Mexican Revolution. Here he is less the colorful bandito and more the incorruptible conscience that not only won key battles, but also maintained the revolutionary vision and led the way in terms of class consciousness.

Pancho Villa is a rollicking, sometimes hilariously comical, sometimes extremely violent, and always very personal portrait of the controversial Mexican historical figure Pancho Villa. Beloved crime writer Paco Ignacio Taibo II (a.k.a. PIT)—the prolific historian, biographer of Che Guevara and the founder of Mexican “neopolicial” fiction—brings his tremendous storytelling skills to an account of one of the Mexico’s greatest legendary characters.

With his vibrant narrative style, Taibo describes the adventures of Pancho Villa with incredible stories, the stuff of history and tragedy, backed up by tremendous research. Throughout, Taibo unveils secrets about the life of one of Mexico's most courageous and charismatic leaders. Includes period photographs that indelibly capture the rocky transition from the wild and agrarian past towards modern statehood.

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“From the solemn chronicles of archives to the myths burnished by campfire light; in photographs with their winking shimmer to the oral traditions carried in joke, anecdote, and rumor; from the steady and steadily assailed official record, Paco Ignacio Taibo II captures history as commotion. This narrative biography grants equal weight to what "actually" happened as to what was said to have happened – a lingering sediment of memory and desire. Taibo does not simply reconstruct the “true story” of Pancho Villa and the Mexican Revolution, he recovers the ache of a world without witness and the transformation of a man into legend.”

PACO IGNACIO TAIBO II, best known for his detective Héctor Belascoarán Shayne book series, is one of the foremost crime fiction writers in the Spanish-speaking world today. In 2019 he was named head of Mexico's Fondo de Cultura Económica., effectively a minister of literary culture. He is also the director of the acclaimed Semana Negra de Gijón, a literary festival in Spain. He is a tireless social activist, historian, and author of the best-selling biography of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, Guevara Also Known as Che. He has written more than forty books altogether, which have been published in twenty-eight countries, including '68: The mexican Autumn of the Tlatelolco Massacre. Some of his novels have been considered “Best Books of the Year” by the New York TimesLe Monde, and the Los Angeles Times. He has received several literary prizes, including the Premio Hammett for best crime fiction in Spain (three times), the 813 literary award for best foreign crime novel published in France, and the Premio Bancarella for the best book of the year in Italy. 

TODD CHRETIEN is an organizer, author, translator, and high school Spanish teacher. He has contributed to several books, including Socialist Strategy and Electoral Politics, and is editor of Eyewitnesses to the Russian Revolution.