Paco Ignacio Taibo II has lived in Mexico City since 1958 when his family fled from Spain to escape the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco. Taibo II is a spanish leftist intellectual, historian, professor, journalist, social activist, union organizer, and world-renowned writer. Widely known for his policial novels, he is considered the founder of the neopolicial genre in Latin America and is the president of the International Association of Policial Writers. One of the most prolific writers in Mexico today, over 500 editions of his 51 books have been published in 29 countries and over a dozen languages, and include novels, narrative, historical essays, chronicles, and poetry.
Some of his novels have been mentioned among the "Books of the Year" by The New York Times, Le Monde, and the Los Angeles Times. He has received numerous awards including the Grijalbo, the Planeta/Joaquin Mortiz in 1992, the Dashiell Hammett three times for his political novels, and the 813 for the best police novel published in France. His biography of Ernesto "Che" Guevara ("Ernesto Guevara, tambien conocido como el Che", 1996) has sold over half a million copies around the world and won the 1998 Bancarella Book of the Year award in ItalyAfter growing up in Phoenix, Arizona, Michael studied American history at UC Davis and San Francisco State University. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Rochester, where he intends to follow up on his work on Paul Goodman and the New Left with other studies related to postwar American culture and intellectual history.
Calling All Heroes: A Manual for Taking Power By Paco Ignacio Taibo II Published: May 2010 ISBN: 978-1-60486-205-8 Format: Paperback Page Count: 128 Dimensions: 5 by 8 Subjects: Fiction, Latin America $12.00
The euphoric idealism of grassroots reform and the tragic reality of revolutionary failure are at the center of this speculative novel that opens with a real historical event. On October 2, 1968, 10 days before the Summer Olympics in Mexico, the Mexican government responds to a student demonstration in Tlatelolco by firing into the crowd, killing more than 200 students and civilians and wounding hundreds more. The massacre of Tlatelolco was erased from the official record as easily as authorities washing the blood from the streets, and no one was ever held accountable.
It is two years later and Nestor, a journalist and participant in the fateful events, lies recovering in the hospital from a knife wound. His fevered imagination leads him in the collection of facts and memories of the movement and its assassination in the company of figures from his childhood. Nestor calls on the heroes of his youth--Sherlock Holmes, Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp and D'Artagnan among them--to join him in launching a new reform movement conceived by his intensely active imagination.
"Taibo's writing is witty, provocative, finely nuanced and well worth the challenge." --Publishers Weekly
“I am his number one fan…I can always lose myself in one of his novels because of their intelligence and humor. My secret wish is to become one of the characters in his fiction, all of them drawn from the wit and wisdom of popular imagination. Yet make no mistake, Paco Taibo—sociologist and historian—is recovering the political history of Mexico to offer a vital, compelling vision of our reality.” --Laura Esquivel, author of Like Water for Chocolate
“The real enchantment of Mr. Taibo’s storytelling lies in the wild and melancholy tangle of life he sees everywhere.” --New York Times Book Review
“It doesn’t matter what happens. Taibo’s novels constitute an absurdist manifesto. No matter how oppressive a government, no matter how strict the limitations of life, we all have our imaginations, our inventiveness, our ability to liven up lonely apartments with a couple of quacking ducks. If you don’t have anything left, oppressors can’t take anything away.” --Washington Post Book World
"...The themes of revolutionary defeat and redemption in Calling All Heroes resonate strongly with contemporary struggles from Occupy to the Arab Spring, perhaps most poignantly in the aftermath of the Tahrir Square uprising. Within Mexico itself, one can’t help but think of the 43 students from the Rural Teachers School in Ayotzinapa, disappeared and presumed murdered in September, 2014. Like Tlatelolco, it was the state that perpetrated the violence in Ayotzinapa. And like Tlatelolco, the hope is that new powerful social movements will emerge from the carnage.
In between, as Paco Taibo teaches us in this invigorating book, there remains the space for the imagination to take control."
Calling All Heroes is a chaotic, adrenaline-charged story, initially confusing, but eventually simply exhilarating. The book consists of thirty-one short parts, alternating between two strands. In the first, an unknown narrator addresses Nestor in the second person, describing the events as the bitter journalist plots his attack on the unsuspecting authorities; in the second, letters to Nestor (letters he has requested) describe his character and history, also hinting at what happened in the crazy few days at the end of January 1970.
Calling All Heroes By Travis Fristoe Maximumrocknroll #330 November 2010
Calling All Heroes: A Manual for Taking Power sounds like nonfiction, a primer. Don’t be put off by the title. What we have here instead is an adventure story about getting back at the cops, the government & the military: “I’m going to get everyone together and we’re going to kick their ass.”
"In 1970, recovering from a knife wound, Nestor, a journalist and partisan of the Mexican Movement of 1968, enlists his friends to help him recall the details of the protests, which culminated in the massacre of 49 students by army troops. Later, feverish from a kidney infection, Nestor calls on the heroes of his youth--Sherlock Holmes, Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp and D'Artagnan among them--to join him in launching a new reform movement conceived by his intensely active imagination. Taibo (An Easy Thing) skillfully interweaves facts and reverie in a profoundly stirring portrayal of the euphoric idealism of grassroots reform and the tragic reality of revolutionary failure. This brief, unconventional work has little narrative continuity (the story of the Movement of '68 is told by way of interviews, letters, newspaper clippings and poems) and the reader may become confused by the haphazard, impressionistic prose. Yet Taibo's writing is witty, provocative, finely nuanced and well worth the challenge".
Mexican author Paco Ignacio Taibo II’s writing is exhilarating because he demonstrates what great topical fiction can be. Creative, imaginative and textured, Taibo’s newest work, Calling All Heroes: A Manual for Taking Power, is equal parts history as fantasy. Here, the Mau Mau converge with Old West gunslingers and anti-colonial guerrillas in a period in Mexican memory ripe with promise as tragedy: 1968, a time of Black Power salutes that would go down in history books and of massacres those in power tried to get Mexico’s people to forget. Here a wounded journalist, two years after the slaughter at Tlatelolco, attempts to scrape from the ashes of the dead new hope for a revolutionary uprising against the oppressive system under which he lives.
Calling All Heroes By Gabriel Carlyle UK Peace News
If you could choose any of the characters from your childhood reading, who would you invite to help you spark a revolution? James Bond? Harry Potter? Badger from The Wind and the Willows?
If you're the central character in Paco Ignacio Taibo's tricksy novella - one of PM Press's new "Found in Translation" series - you choose Sherlock Holmes, Doc Holliday, D'Artagnan, Dick Turpin, the Light Brigade, and then throw in some Mau Mau fighters for good measure.
Whether or not the revolution is successful is for the reader to decide. It is certainly entertaining to read, and not without its many moments of absurdity, humor and pathos. It was begun by men who tend to succeed in what they do (the vulture on the throne of skulls doesn’t have a chance). But its success is not measured in buildings stormed or police brigades slaughtered, however satisfying that feels. Success is in whether or not revolution the fires the people to “come to life as human beings.” And that is something only each individual human being can do for himself.