Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands (Hardcover)

Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands Cover Image

Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands (Hardcover)

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“Rebel historian” Kelly Lytle Hernández reframes our understanding of U.S. history in this groundbreaking narrative of revolution in the borderlands.


Bad Mexicans tells the dramatic story of the magonistas, the migrant rebels who sparked the 1910 Mexican Revolution from the United States. Led by a brilliant but ill-tempered radical named Ricardo Flores Magón, the magonistas were a motley band of journalists, miners, migrant workers, and more, who organized thousands of Mexican workers—and American dissidents—to their cause. Determined to oust Mexico’s dictator, Porfirio Díaz, who encouraged the plunder of his country by U.S. imperialists such as Guggenheim and Rockefeller, the rebels had to outrun and outsmart the swarm of U. S. authorities vested in protecting the Diaz regime. The U.S. Departments of War, State, Treasury, and Justice as well as police, sheriffs, and spies, hunted the magonistas across the country. Capturing Ricardo Flores Magón was one of the FBI’s first cases.


But the magonistas persevered. They lived in hiding, wrote in secret code, and launched armed raids into Mexico until they ignited the world’s first social revolution of the twentieth century.


Taking readers to the frontlines of the magonista uprising and the counterinsurgency campaign that failed to stop them, Kelly Lytle Hernández puts the magonista revolt at the heart of U.S. history. Long ignored by textbooks, the magonistas threatened to undo the rise of Anglo-American power, on both sides of the border, and inspired a revolution that gave birth to the Mexican-American population, making the magonistas’ story integral to modern American life.



Kelly Lytle Hernández holds the Thomas E. Lifka Endowed Chair in History and directs the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA. A 2019 MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient, she is the author of the award-winning books Migra! and City of Inmates. She lives in Los Angeles, California.
Product Details ISBN: 9781324004370
ISBN-10: 1324004371
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: May 10th, 2022
Pages: 384
Language: English
I’m mad at Kelly Lytle Hernández. Every time I pick up something she’s written, I can’t put it down. I’ve lost hours, days, sleep, missed deadlines and appointments, made my kids late to school reading Migra! and City of Inmates, and, now, Bad Mexicans. Her writing is like a drug, riveting, intoxicating, vivid. And she’s a damned historian! I come away from reading Kelly’s writing exhilarated and inspired.

— Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Thelonious Monk

An award-winning, internationally acclaimed scholar, Kelly Lytle Hernández delivers historical analysis with clear relevance in today’s sociopolitical climate. A leading voice on issues ranging from immigration to policing to the criminal justice system more broadly, her work is known for empowering a wide range of communities, providing the necessary historical framing to build synergy among some of today’s most daring social movements.
— Heather Anne Thompson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Blood in the Water

Kelly Lytle Hernández is one of the most compelling historians in her field. Synthesizing the complexities of race, gender, and ethnicity into the fabric of living history, her work sheds light on today’s crucial issues and her passion has the capacity to not only inform but to change minds.
— Michael Eric Dyson, New York Times best-selling author of What Truth Sounds Like

Kelly Lytle Hernández writes history and makes history. She is one of the most admired and respected historians of Mexican-American history and the United States. Conveying deep archival research in a compelling, accessible narrative, she breathes life into history.
— Vicki Lynn Ruiz, winner of the National Humanities Medal

In this sweeping cross-border narrative, Lytle-Hernández places the Magón brothers and the Mexican Revolution squarely at the heart of U.S. history—revealing not only the centrality of Mexicans to the U.S. story but also the currents of imperialism, racial violence, and political suppression that have shaped the United States as we know it today. In Bad Mexicans, Lytle-Hernández displays the skills of a deep thinker, a powerful storyteller, and an assiduous and implacable researcher.

— Natalia Molina, MacArthur Fellow and author of A Place at the Nayarit

Lytle Hernández is a natural storyteller, and her writing shines throughout "Bad Mexicans." And while it reads like a novel — she proves to be masterful at building narrative suspense — it's also meticulously researched, and the author provides ample context to help readers understand the history of Mexico and its relationship with the U.S.
— Michael Schaub - Star Tribune

Hernandez’s staggering, essential study argues that “the history of the United States as a global power” can’t be told without Mexico, Mexicans, and Mexican Americans as central actors.
— Walton Muyumba - Boston Globe

An astute historical analysis....a gripping cross-border study....While the Mexican Revolution (1910-1917) is usually discussed in the context of its influence on Central America, the author argues convincingly that it ‘also remade the United States’....The author combines a masterful grasp of archival material and accessible prose, transforming what could have been a dry academic work into a page-turner....A beautifully crafted, impressively inclusive history of the Mexican Revolution.
— Kirkus Reviews