El Paso, by Winston Groom (Of Forrest Gump)

Speaking of books about Texas, there are a few looming on the publishing horizon, such as Winston Groom's El Paso, which is expected to be published October 4.

Winston Groom wrote Forrest Gump, and a number of other war stories since then, including one I read in the last few years about how LaFitte, the infamous pirate, helped Andrew Jackson win the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812. (It was very good.)

I'm glad I got the Advance Reader's copy of El Paso, it was a fun read.

Groom writes war stories, and the war story of El Paso is none other than the Mexican uprising led by Pancho Villa.

This is the picture of Pancho Villa that I still see all over our Tex Mex restaurants. Ok, actually, its the picture with my alter ego reacting to reading about Villa, and trail drives just like it.

But its not just about Pancho Villa. In fact, the book takes a bit of time getting set up, as the many Americans who are swept into the story make their way to El Paso and beyond.  

One thing I found interesting about the book is the fact that there is an uprising as depicted above, all while man was already flying, and while World War I was a killing machine.  Somewhat like Texas, what you get in El Paso is everything from family life to Cowboys, and Indians, and Africans and Patton, and baron robbers, and horses, and airplanes, and snakes and bears, and guns and matadors, and love and loss.  A definite box of chocolates all wrapped up together. Its a fun, page turning read.

Here is the book blurb:

Long fascinated with the Mexican Revolution and the vicious border wars of the early twentieth century, Winston Groom brings to life a much-forgotten period of history in this sprawling saga of heroism, injustice, and love. An episodic novel set in six parts, El Paso pits the legendary Pancho Villa, a much-feared outlaw and revolutionary, against a thrill-seeking railroad tycoon known as the Colonel, whose fading fortune is tied up in a colossal ranch in Chihuahua, Mexico. But when Villa kidnaps the Colonel’s grandchildren in the midst of a cattle drive, and absconds into the Sierra Madre, the aging New England patriarch and his adopted son head to El Paso, hoping to find a group of cowboys brave enough to hunt the Generalissimo down.

Replete with gunfights, daring escapes, and an unforgettable bullfight, El Paso, with its textured blend of history and legend, becomes an indelible portrait of the American Southwest in the waning days of the frontier.


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