Stephen B. Neufeld’s The Blood Contingent: The Military and the Making of Modern Mexico, 1876-1911 (University of New Mexico Press, $29.95) represents extensive research in primary Mexican sources.
This socio-cultural history began during the author’s doctoral studies, but, unlike many Ph.D. dissertations, demonstrates a mature mastery of his topic, along with being well organized and written. Neufeld ably achieves his goal “to recover the experiences of the common soldiers and their family” during the decades of the pivotal Porfiriato era.
Moreover he convincingly argues his thesis that Porfirio Diaz’s regime sought not only “to create a modern, non-indigenous soldier” but also to employ the army as a model and means to shape a broader national Mexican identity.
—John P. Langellier, author of Southern Arizona Military Posts.