Publisher's Note:  

Yankee Invasion centers on one of the most traumatic periods of Mexican history: the 1847 invasion of Mexico City by American armed forces and the ultimate loss of almost half its territory to the United States. Abelardo, who as a young man witnessed the events, narrates the novel and in its very first pages commits an act of resistance that will haunt him the rest of his life. In his old age, he begins to reflect on the history of Mexico, as well as his complicated love affairs with both his fiancée and her mother, which play out against the tumultuous backdrop of the invasion and occupation. Told with humor and pathos, Yankee Invasion paints a riveting portrait of an event that, though little known in America, still reverberates in Mexico today. Vivid descriptions capture the streets, cafés, cantinas, and drawing rooms of 19th-century Mexico City.



This book was sent to Compass Book Ratings for review by Scarletta Press


Yankee Invasion

by Ignacio Solares

Review Date:
09/19/2011

Recommended Age:
21+

Overall Rating:
***1/2

Profanity / Language Rating:
********

Violence / Gore Rating:
*********

Sex / Nudity Rating:
*********

Overall Review:  

It’s always an interesting experience to read a novel from the point of view of someone who is borderline insane.  Yankee Invasion is very interestingly written, as it alternates between the feeling of a play, a novel, and a research paper written from the point of view of a Mexican in the middle of the invasion.  The novel bounces back and forth between the narrator actually writing his chronicle and having discussions with his wife about it, and the time when he was young and in the grips of fear during the Mexican-American war.  There are even a few chapters written from the perspective of his doctor friend which were very informative.  It took a little while to figure out whether you were reading in the present or the past, but it becomes clearer as you continue on.

I learned a great deal about the history of this war from a very unique perspective.  I sometimes found it difficult to read a book where the point of view was very blatantly anti-American (being an American myself), and there were times where I almost felt harassed by the sheer amount of propaganda that was thrown out.  His tone was often bitter and you feel as if he hates you as you read his words.  On the other hand, it was definitely interesting to see the war from another point of view!  And while his anti-Americanism didn’t entirely leave his psyche, it did taper a bit at the end and it ended on a more positive note.  The experiences he went through were harrowing, to say the least.  I definitely have a better understanding and greater empathy for those people and what they had to endure.

Overall, I felt the whole point of this novel was to inform others about how Mexicans felt (and, I’m sure, still feel) about this war.  It clearly shows the feelings, frustrations and fears of the impotent citizen—while the ‘powers that be’ play their political games with the citizens as their pawns.  Yankee Invasion has a lot to offer in terms of painting a vivid picture and creating an impression that lasts.


Content Analysis:  

There is some profanity from every category in this book, from crude language up to 5 uses of the ‘f’-word.  There were many mild and moderate words of the four-letter variety scattered throughout.

Keeping in mind that this novel is based around a persons’ experience of a war, so violence is to be expected.  There is a great deal of detail.  A character is in the middle of a small battle and stabs and kills another while watching many others be killed (trampling, smashing, scratching, stabbing, etc.).  There are a great deal of battles and there are discussions of bombs, cannons, multitudes of people dying, grotesque torture, rape, mutilations, revenge of soldiers.  There are descriptions of people dead and dying throughout—some are very detailed—and there are also animals that are tortured and left for dead.  There are chapters from the point of view of a doctor and he narrates his experiences in the hospitals and battlefields, caring for the wounded and dying people.  The descriptions are graphic: amputations (complete with sawing through the bone), stitching parts back together, large wounds and missing limbs are described as well.  There is a step by step operation of a tumor on a face.  The dead are so numerous they are burned instead of buried—the sight of the burning dead is described in emotional detail.  The descriptions of the dead and dying are very prevalent throughout and become graphic at times.  This is an ugly war mostly between soldiers and common people and consists of guns, swords, knives, cannons, bombs, burnings, rocks, biting, hot oil—basically whatever they can get their hands on.  There are public floggings (large poles are used).

As far as sexual content, much of this story revolves around one character and his loves.  He has a fiancée, but secretly loves her mother more.  His feelings and (mostly one-sided) experiences are discussed at length.  There is a mild scene where he is sitting beside the mother and discusses the feeling of touching her arm and breathing in the same air—the wording is very sensual.  There is a whole chapter dedicated to two characters living together for a time.  This includes a character trying to convince another to sleep with him.  It becomes fairly descriptive and lasts for about 5-6 pages.  There are ‘women of the street’ who provide ‘entertainment’ for soldiers.

Other things of note: There was a visit to a ‘witch doctor’ for herbs/potions, drinking, smoking (drug abuse), unsanitary medical practices (reusing bandages from those whom have already died, not washing utensils/hands), and strange ‘visions’ of the future.



Mature Subject Matter:  

The mature themes are moderate and include the politics of war (and its horrible effects on humanity), anti-Americanism/hatred of a group of people, insanity, philosophical ideas, melancholy, betrayal by leaders (realizing that your worst enemy is in your ‘own house’), and death.



Alcohol / Drug Use:  

***



Reviewed By Emily
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