El Paso

El Paso

A Novel

Book - 2016
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Long fascinated with the Mexican Revolution and the vicious border wars of the early twentieth century, best-selling author Winston Groom brings to life a much-forgotten period of history in this episodic saga set in six parts. Pitting the legendary Pancho Villa against "the Colonel," a thrill-seeking Bostonian railroad tycoon whose fading fortune is tied up in a colossal ranch in Chihuahua, El Paso opens during a time of dramatic upheaval in Mexico--its government being squeezed on one end by Villa's revolutionaries and on the other by "filthy" American capitalists.Content to observe the war from aboard his dazzling yacht, the Ajax, the Colonel is suddenly pulled into this drama when his famous Valle del Sol ranch is raided for nearly "two million and a half dollars in beef on the hoof." Oblivious to the realities of war and hoping to salvage his losses, the Colonel whisks his family down to Mexico where they make a disturbing discovery: it was Villa who not only stole the cattle but also murdered their beloved ranch manager. Even worse, Villa's henchmen abduct the Colonel's grandchildren in another daring raid only days later.Frantic, the aging patriarch and his adopted son race to El Paso, hoping to gather a group of cowboys brave enough to hunt down the generalissimo on his own turf. As the desperate Yankees quickly learn once they return to Chihuahua, their deep pockets and political clout mean next to nothing in a crumbling nation rife with communist sympathizers. After weeks of searching and with no trace of Villa, the Colonel fears all is lost--that is, until a twist of fate unites his party with that of Johnny Ollas, an aspiring matador whose wife has also been kidnapped by the marauding revolutionaries. Bloodied and battered, the two factions unite, galloping off on an extraordinary manhunt through some of the most inhospitable terrain on earth: the vast and snake-ridden Sierra Madre.The novel explodes into an epic as an extraordinary cast of characters from both history and imagination begin to emerge, all vying to get their hands on the ever-elusive Villa. But no matter what prize each player ultimately seeks, no one is left unscathed in this sprawling story of heroism, injustice, and love. Replete with shootouts, daring escapes, and an unforgettable bullfight, El Paso brings to life a crucial moment in history and, in the process, becomes an indelible portrait of the American Southwest in the final days of the wild frontier.
Publisher: New York :, Liveright Publishing Corporation, a division of W. W. Norton & Company,, [2016]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2016
ISBN: 9781631492242
Branch Call Number: F GRO
Characteristics: xii, 477 pages ; 25 cm

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noltec
Aug 11, 2017

This book which has it all--love, loss, betrayal, intrigue, conflict, trigger-happy, powerful men, with some fascinating historical characters! Pancho Villa, General Patton, railroad tycoons, bull fighters, strong women, adorable children--so many twists and turns taking place in the wild west territories of Texas and Mexico. It is a bit long, and drags just a bit in places, but you'll want to keep traveling through to see what happens to these engaging characters.

r
Rock_Shadow
Jan 09, 2017

Good story telling. Though not a historical fiction, the book introduces several historical characters and events from the early 20th century Mexican revolution, including fierce Pancho Villa and his revolutionary army. An adventuresome old industrialist Colonel Shaughnessy and his family become the reflection of the United States enterprising spirit, both for their (waning) wealth and their tenacity. The two men, Villa and Colonel, fight for what they value the most, and their fight is mostly close and personal.

The book did so well with story-telling that sent me to the library for follow up on the period's history, on both sides of the border. The male characters are better defined than the female ones, with none of them too deep. It's a cowboys, villains, and Indians wilderness saga that takes us to the deserts and the mountains of North Mexico. We are entertained by a few quirky characters and multitude of events, including bullfight and fiesta, but the ultimate winner is the landscape.

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