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Las Soldaderas: Women of the Mexican Revolution


Las Soldaderas: Women of the Mexican Revolution Cover

ISBN13: 9781933693040
ISBN10: 1933693045
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Publisher Comments:

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.


Archival photos and Elena Poniatowska tell the story of women soldiers during the Mexican Revolution.

About the Author

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.

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Daniel Olivas, May 14, 2007 (view all comments by Daniel Olivas)
Elena Poniatowska's "Las Soldaderas: Women of the Mexican Revolution" (Cinco Puntos Press, $12.95 paperback) demonstrates the riveting, almost hypnotic power of photographs.

Poniatowska's text (translated from Spanish by David Dorado Romo) is wisely limited to about two dozen pages and acts as a frame for the remarkable black-and-white images of the brave women who fought on either side of the Mexican Revolution.

The term "soldadera" comes from "soldada," or salary. Poniatowska explains that "during all wars and invasions, soldiers used their 'soldada' (a word of Aragonese origin) to hire a female servant. The woman would go to the barracks to charge her salary, i.e., soldada." Thus, the term "soldadera" was coined.

The photographs are culled from the enormous Casasola Collection in the Fototeca Nacional of the National Institute of Anthropology and History in Mexico. The publisher tells us that the collection is based on the work of Agust?n Casasola (1874-1938), one of the first photojournalists in Mexico and founder of the photo agency that carries his name.

It is difficult not to mull over these photographs of Mexican and indigenous women from the early part of the last century as they pose with their pistols, horses, children or husbands. These are women who played different roles, sometimes as brave soldiers, other times as helpmates (or even prostitutes without much choice) to the male warriors.

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.

[This is shortened version of the full review that first appeared in the El Paso Times.]
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Product Details

Poniatowska, Elena
Cinco Puntos Press
Romo, David Dorado
Latin america
Women's Studies - General
General Photography
Subjects & Themes - Portraits
Photoessays & Documentaries
Subjects & Themes - Travel - World/South America
General Art
Situations / Prejudice & Racism
Edition Description:
Trade Paper
Series Volume:
Women of the Mexican
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
48 BandW photographs
8.3 x 7.7 x 0.3 in 9.5 oz

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Photography » Anthologies and History
Arts and Entertainment » Photography » General
History and Social Science » Gender Studies » Womens Studies
History and Social Science » Latin America » Mexico
History and Social Science » World History » Latin America
History and Social Science » World History » Mexico

Las Soldaderas: Women of the Mexican Revolution New Trade Paper
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Product details 93 pages Cinco Puntos Press - English 9781933693040 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
Archival photos and Elena Poniatowska tell the story of women soldiers during the Mexican Revolution.
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