Rosenblum sets out to teach young readers about “the land and people of Mexico” as one way to bridge the gap in understanding between “Americans,” presumably Anglos, and the five million Mexican Americans who lived in the United States at the time of the book’s writing. In the book’s introductory chapter, he notes, for example, that many Mexican Americans “are very poor. They work for little pay and live in miserable houses. They are Americans but feel they are treated as if they were not part of this country.”
Yet “heroes” of Mexican descent were already known to American fans of film actors Dolores Del Rio and Anthony Quinn, golfer Lee Trevino, or the comedian Cantinflas. In addition, despite Rosenblum’s observation that there are everyday heroes who have never led a battle or achieved fame, his book is mostly a collection of the stories of figures who had attained near-legend status in their own country.
In his writing style and approach to his subjects, Rosenblum’s book is aimed clearly at young readers. His stories are uncomplicated and bloody, and they revolve mainly around important military and social events. The image of Mexico that emerges is one of nearly constant war and revolution. Of the seventeen figures profiled in the book, more than half are treated in connection with war. It is the charismatic or courageous leader who most often is celebrated; these are characters of legend who rose up against injustice or despotism, often with only their idealism as a weapon.
With the possible...
(The entire section is 635 words.)