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The Return of Comrade Ricardo Flores Magón
In this long-awaited book, Claudio Lomnitz tells a groundbreaking story about the experiences and ideology of American and Mexican revolutionary collaborators of the Mexican anarchist Ricardo Flores Magón. Drawing on extensive research in Mexico and the United States, Lomnitz explores the rich, complicated, and virtually unknown lives of Flores Magón and his comrades devoted to the “Mexican Cause.” This anthropological history of anarchy, cooperation, and betrayal seeks to capture the experience of dedicated militants who themselves struggled to understand their role and place at the margins of the Mexican revolution. For them, the revolution was untranslatable, a pure but deaf subversion: La revolución es la revolución—“The Revolution is the Revolution.” For Lomnitz, the experiences of Flores Magón and his comrades reveal the meaning of this phrase.
The Return of Comrade Ricardo Flores Magón tracks the lives of John Kenneth Turner, Ethel Duffy, Elizabeth Trowbridge, Ricardo Flores Magón, Lázaro Gutiérrez de Lara, and others, to illuminate the reciprocal relationship between personal and collective ideology and action. It is an epic and tragic tale, never before told, about camaraderie and disillusionment in the first transnational grassroots political movement to span the U.S.-Mexican border. The Return of Comrade Ricardo Flores Magón will change not only how we think about the Mexican Revolution but also how we understand revolutionary action and passion.
About the Author
Claudio Lomnitz is Campbell Family Professor of Anthropology at Columbia University. He is the author of Death and the Idea of Mexico (Zone Books); Deep Mexico, Silent Mexico: An Anthropology of Nationalism; and Exits from the Labyrinth: Culture and Ideology in the Mexican Space.
“Historians know so very little about how revolutionaries act and think, especially those who lost. Lomnitz does us a great service by illuminating the psychologies and everyday lives of a small, and for a brief period effective, band of intellectuals; one, perhaps small, example of what it was like to live in times of profound upheaval.”—American Historical Review
Winner, 2015 Latin American Studies Association Mexico Humanities Book Award.