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The last caudillo: Alvaro Obregon and the Mexican Revolution

The last caudillo: Alvaro Obregon and the Mexican Revolution

Buchenau, Jurgen, 1964-

'The Last Caudillo' presents a brief biography of the life and times of General Alvaro Obregon, along with new insights into the Mexican Revolution and authoritarian rule in Latin America. The Last Caudillo presents a brief biography of the life andtimes of General Alvaro Obregn, along with new insights intothe Mexican Revolution and authoritarian rule in Latin America. Features a succinct biography of the life and times of afascinating figure in Mexico's revolutionary past Represents the most analytical and up-to-date study ofcaudillo/military strongman rule Sheds new light on the networks and discourse practices thatsupport rulers such as the Castros in Cuba and Hugo Chvez inVenezuela, and the emergence of modern Mexico Offers new insights into the role of leadership, the nature ofrevolution, and the complex forces that helped shape modernMexico

eBook, Paperback, Hardback, Electronic resource, Book. English. Biography. History. Electronic books.
Published Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011

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Statement of responsibility: Jurgen Buchenau
ISBN: 1444397176, 9781444397178
Note: Includes bibliographical references (pages 178-209) and index.
Note: Print version record.
Physical Description: 1 online resource (xiii, 218 pages) : illustrations, maps.
Series: Viewpoints/Puntos de vista : themes and interpretations in Latin American history
Subject: Generals Mexico Biography.; Obregon, Alvaro, 1880-1928.; Caudillos Mexico Biography.; Biography: historical, political & military; Caudillos.; History of the Americas; Presidents Mexico Biography.; Obregon, Alvaro, 1880-1928; Inter-war period c 1919 to c 1939; Mexico Politics and government 1910-1946.; Biography & non-fiction prose; Politics and government; Mexico; Revolution (Mexico : 1910-1920); Presidents.; Mexico History Revolution, 1910-1920.; Biography: general; Biography; History; Generals.; Mexico.
Reproduction: Electronic reproduction. Askews and Holts. Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Series Title: Viewpoints/puntos de vista.
Other formats: Also available in printed form ISBN 9781405199032


  1. List of Illustrations.
  2. Preface.
  3. Acknowledgments.
  4. Introduction.
  5. 1. The Background of the Last Caudillo.
  6. From Santa Anna to Díaz.
  7. The Sonoran Background.
  8. 2. An Improvised Leader, 1880–1913.
  9. Obregón’s Early Years.
  10. Obregón and the Beginning of the Mexican Revolution.
  11. Obregón’s First Campaign.
  12. 3. Chaos and Triumph, 1913–1916.
  13. Obregón and the War Against Huerta.
  14. Obregón and the Clash Between Carranza and Villa.
  15. Obregón in the War Between the Factions.
  16. 4. The Path to Power, 1916–1920.
  17. Obregón’s Emergence as a Political Leader.
  18. The Cincinnatus of the West (Part One).
  19. The Campaign for the Presidency.
  20. 5. The President, 1920–1924.
  21. The Construction of Obregón’s Political Machine.
  22. Rebuilding the Nation.
  23. The Violent Breakup of the Sonoran Alliance.
  24. 6. The Last Caudillo, 1924–1928.
  25. A Troubled Agribusiness.
  26. The Cincinnatus of the West (Part Two).
  27. The Second Presidential Campaign.
  28. The Death of the Caudillo.
  29. 7. The Unquiet Grave.
  30. After the Caudillo.
  31. An Arm and a Revolution on a Stage.
  32. A Revolution and a Leader Lose Respect.
  33. Notes.
  34. Bibliography.
  35. Index.

Author note

Jürgen Buchenau is Professor of History and Latin American Studies at University of North Carolina, Charlotte, where he is Chair of the History Department. He is the author or editor of several books on modern Latin American history, including Plutarco Elías Calles and the Mexican Revolution (2007), Tools of Progress: A German Merchant Family in Mexico City, 1865-Present (2004), and In the Shadow of the Giant: The Making of Mexico’s Central America Policy (1996).


“The Last Caudillo is a fine biography of Alvaro Obregon, as well as an excellent overview of the Mexican Revolution. Students will come away with a good understanding of the social forces and political events that shaped Mexico during this critical time in its history. The book is also a great companion to Buchenau’s earlier work, Plutarco Elas Calles and the Mexican Revolution, published in 2006.”  (The Latin Americanist, 1 September 2013)

“The Last Caudillo calls in an impressive array of primary sources to render an evenhanded portrait of Obregón as it appropriately casts him as a pivotal figure in the making of modern Mexico. …more specifically, Buchenau taps into the historiography of the Latin American strongman or “caudillo” in considering Obregón the last of that lineage, to come to an end when institutions, political parties, enforceable laws, bureaucracy, “systems” and “networks” overwhelmed—for better or worse—the many vicissitudes of individual power.”  (The Americas, 1 October 2012)

"It is Buchenau's combined analysis of caudillismo, the Mexican revolution, and Alvaro Obregon that makes this book an important contribution to the literature on this revolutionary figure and the times that produced him. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above." (Choice, 1 November 2011)

Back cover copy

In The Last Caudillo: Alvaro Obregón and the Mexican Revolution, Latin American specialist Jürgen Buchenau offers a succinct and revelatory biography of the man whose faction won the Mexican Revolution in 1920.

Buchenau probes deeply into the life and times of General Alvaro Obregón and also sheds new light on the first major social revolution of the twentieth century and on broader issues surrounding the cult of personality and culture of leadership. Drawing on the fascination that caudillo rule has held for observers of Latin America, Buchenau reveals its crucial elements, including a macho cult of leadership; heroism in war; intensely loyal followers; and a clientelist system to reward those followers.

Using the life story of one of the most fascinating figures in Mexican history, The Last Caudillo offers new insights into the role of leadership, the nature of revolution, and the complex forces that helped shape modern Mexico.