The Paradox of Pancho Villa by Haldeen Braddy, and Border Patrol: With the U.S. Immigration Service on the Mexican Boundary 1910–54 by Clifford Alan Perkins (review)
- Western American Literature
- The Western Literature Association
- Volume 14, Number 2, Summer 1979
- pp. 182-183
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182 Western American Literature Snow is Yava’s ability to reconcile two seemingly polar philosophies: Hopi ceremonialism and western rationalism. For these reasons, Big Falling Snow will appeal to anyone interested in Tewa-Hopi culture, including historians, anthropologists, folklorists, and students of literature. While many of the stories are familiar (cf H. R. Voth’s The Traditions of the Hopi, Chicago: 1905), Yava’s variations, insights, and personal experiences are not. JAMES R. HEPWORTH, University of Arizona The Paradox of Pancho Villa. By Haldeen Braddy. (El Paso: Texas Western Press, University of Texas, 1978. 95 pages, $10.00.) Border Patrol: With the U.S. Immigration Service on the Mexican Boundary 1910-54. By Clifford Alan Perkins. Assisted by Nancy Dickey. Edited by C. L. Sonnichsen. (El Paso: Texas Western Press, University of Texas, 1978. 127 pages, $10.00.) Haldeen Braddy’s The Paradox of Pancho Villa is a physically attractive book. The drawings by artist Manuel Acosta as well as the physical make up of the book make for interesting eye appeal and good bookstore thumbing. The text, comprised of a preface, eight short chapters, notes on docu mentation, references, bibliography and index, is almost as paradoxical as the Villa personality it attempts to describe. Haldeen Braddy mixes hard scholarship with soft acceptance of legends, myths and outright hearsay in such representative chapters as: “Rebel and Hero,” “Gold Spins the Plot,” “Lover or Lecher,” and “Substance and Chimera” to present the paradox of Villa. Braddy says of his soft acceptance, “To be candid, I have always consulted informants as much as articles, books, and documents.” This leads to end notes such as these in Chapter Three: “5This story is probably true.”; ““Mrs. Jean Abel, my neighbor in El Paso on Rio Grande Street, declares that Villa stole a fortune from well-to-do Mexican ranchers, including his father, £nrico Visconti.” “10Mr. Caterino Navarro (informant), El Paso, proved to be a mine of information on Villa.” Braddy published his first article on Villa in the Southwest Review in 1937 and for fifty years has been gathering materials and stories from documents and informants. Obviously, Braddy has had many interesting face-to-face meetings with Mexicans who “had lunch with Pancho Villa!” to use the punch line from a well-known joke about the general. Yet we wonder how many of these informants really are on the level and how many are just being “polite in the Mexican way”; after all, no visitor to the Reviews 183 Republic should go away empty-handed when in search of the paradox of Pancho Villa. The book is interesting as a compilation of facts, conjectures, and hearsay about the man. The eyewitness accounts of Villa by the Mexican writer, Martin Luis Guzman, in The Eagle and the Serpent, 1928, should be read in conjunction with Braddy’s book as a mild corrective to Braddy’s reluctance to kill good but fanciful copy. Clifford Alan Perkins’ first person narrative of his service with the Border Patrol covers the years from 1910 to 1953 and relates events in his career as he worked in Texas, Arizona, and California. Although the tone of the narrative is low key and understated, many incidents of shootouts, intrigues, horseback chases and other dangerous encounters with smugglers, bandits— including Pancho Villa— add drama to the prose. In fact, Perkins’ life story reads much like a Zane Grey plot, sans the purple prose. He lived in Wisconsin until he was nineteen and dreamed of being a professional baseball player. When he developed a case of “sus pected tuberculosis,” he went to El Paso for the air and drifted later into the U. S. Immigration Service at Tucson in 1911. This became the Immi gration Border Patrol in 1924. At first he enforced the Chinese Exclusion Act, then the Literacy Act, then, during World War I, the Passport Act, and later in the twenties the Prohibition Act. Richly supplied with photographs of the times, the text takes the reader back to bygone border days and presents finely wrought vignettes of investi gations, arrests comic and tragic, performed in the line of duty with the Patrol. The book is a valuable contribution to the history...