The photographs of Las Soldaderas and Elena Poniatowska’s remarkable commentary rescue the women of the Mexican Revolution from the dust and oblivion of history. These are the Adelitas and Valentinas celebrated in famous corridos mexicanos, but whose destiny was much more profound and tragic than the idealistic words of ballads. The photographs remind Poniatowska of the trail of women warriors that begins with the Spanish conquest and continues to Mexico’s violent revolution. These women are valiant, furious, loyal, maternal, and hardworking; they wear a mask that is part immaculate virgin, part mother and wife, and part savage warrior; and they are joined together in the cruel hymn of blood and death from which they built their own history of the Revolution.
The photographs are culled from the vast Casasola Collection in the Fototeca Nacional of the National Institute of Anthropology and History in Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico.
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Elena Poniatowska is writer, renowned journalist, and professor. Her journalism and writing explore and grapple with events; in addition, she is a biographer and translator, and the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Emeritus Fellowship from Mexico's National Council of Culture and Arts.Review:
"Mexico's revolutionary women soldiers have been all but excised from history. Poniatowska resurrects their astonishing stories, while striking photographs culled from the vast archive created by Agustin Casasola, whose complete oeuvre is showcased in Mexico: The Revolution and Beyond (2003), preserve the soldaderas' dignity, strength, and beauty, creating a unique and welcoming volume that reclaims women of valor with grace and precision." —Booklist
"[Poniatowska] developed a form of writing, blending personal histories and fiction into what is known as a testimonial novel. This oversized book is a picturesque story of the women who followed, and at times, fought and died alongside their men, in battles that began with the Spanish Conquest and continued to the end of Mexico's violent revolution." —Polish American Journal
"The ferocity of Soldaderas' imagery is undeniable." — The Austin Chronicle
"Las Soldaderas serves its main purpose: to serve as a platform for the women of the Mexican Revolution. More than a staid, academic history book, Las Soldaderas is a collection of stories that reflect the submission, valor, devotion the bravía of the daughters of México." —Southwestern American Literature
"Poniatowska quotes from both history books and novels to portray a group of women who were essential to the 20th century's first revolution. 'Without the soldaderas, there is no Mexican Revolution they kept it alive and fertile, like the earth,' she writes. The book is a short history, but the photographs speak louder than any chapters." —The Monitor
"This English translation by David Romo is an eye-opening book about the many various roles of women during the revolution...The photographs are superb and reproduced on high quality paper that brings them to life. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries."—Reforma
"Poniatowska offers anecdotes to help us know these women, sometimes using their own words. Pancho Villa does not fair well here, nor do other men who took brutal advantage of -- or even murdered -- these women. Las Soldaderas perfectly weds words with photographs as a poignant tribute to the brave women who were active participants in the Mexican Revolution."—El Paso Times
"[Poniatowska's] narrative of the amazing contributions and tribulations of these valiant women really give you the feel of what it was like to march hungry, search a battlefield for your man, to really suffer as they did, and to be fierce and indomitable. I stand amazed at how much they did, how strong they were, and how little they were valued by most people...You need this book. The Soldaderas need you to know them." —BlogCritics Magazine
"Of the many versions describing an event, it is collectively that we may paint a more complete picture. Only then do we get a better glimpse of what history is truly about. Las Soldaderas Women of the Mexican Revolution is a good read, if not for the vintage photographs, then for the dual experience of reading and looking at a history of social change."—El Paso Magazine
"There are almost fifty photographs from 1910 - 1920 reproduced here. They come from a collection of some 30,000 of the Revolution, and are located in the Fototeca Nacional in Pachuca. "—RALPH Magazine
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