La Cristiada: The Mexican People's War for Religious Liberty

Jean Meyer, Author
Jean Meyer. SquareOne, $29.95 trade paper (224p) ISBN 978-0-7570-0315-8
Paperback - 382 pages - 978-968-16-8362-7
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For a decade (1910-1920), revolutionaries, led by Francisco Madero, sought to overthrow the harsh dictatorship of Porfirio Díaz, in order to mitigate the growing political and religious persecution introduced by the government through successive revisions of the Mexican constitution. After Madero was assassinated, many religious revolutionaries' hopes grew dimmer, especially in 1917 when President Venustiano Carranza drafted a new constitution that restricted religious education, turned Church property over to the State, and banned worship outside of church buildings, among other practices. By 1926, as historian Meyer points out in this tedious and didactic account of a little-known chapter of Mexican history, religious persecution had grown so oppressive, under the new President Plutarco Elías Calles, that many groups of insurrectionists, known as Cristeros, adamantly opposed the state's interference with their religious practice and took matters into their own hands, fighting guerilla battles against the government and its policies. Drawing upon the words and writings of many of the individuals involved in these rebel groups, Meyer weaves the rebels' words with historical accounts into a tale whose moral he hopes will remind us about the ongoing struggles between church and state in the world today. (Jan.)
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