Author will share details in book signing at Robstown Area Historical Museum
It is a movement that has received little attention in Texas history books, but its impact was felt across the state. The Plan of San Diego called for taking five southwestern states from the U.S. and forming a new nation. “Balo's War, A Novel About the Plan of San Diego” by Corpus Christi resident Alfredo E. Cardenas takes a fresh look at the document that played an important role in this violent time in Texas.
Cardenas will discuss the Plan of San Diego and his book Balo's War at a presentation at the Robstown Area Historical Museum at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 17. Copies of Balo's War will be available for purchase and the author will be available to sign books.
Balo's War dives deeper into the manifesto—and the people directly affected by it. It tells the story of a people who went from being Spaniard to Mexican to American in a short span of 30 years. They struggled to hold on to their land, their language, their culture and their history—against insurmountable odds. At times, the struggle resorted to violence.
“I chose to tell the story in the historical fiction genre because it afforded me more latitude to delve into the motives of those who were involved with the plan, as well as those who contributed to conditions that gave rise to such an idea,” Cardenas said.
Cardenas was born and raised in San Diego. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. He published the Duval County Picture, a weekly newspaper in San Diego, from 1987-1999. He also served as mayor of San Diego for two terms, from 1992-1999.
Cardenas, who has researched the Plan of San Diego for more than 40 years, said that though much of the violence related to the movement was along the Texas-Mexico border, its ramifications were felt throughout Texas.
“While many have dismissed the plan as that of crackpots, the reality is that in the summer and fall of 1915, adherents of the Plan went into its operational phase,” Cardenas said. “Guerrilla-like attacks
were launched against trains, public works projects and United States Army troops. In retaliation, Texas Rangers, local law enforcement and citizen militias summarily executed hundreds of innocent Mexican Americans without the benefit of jury trial.”
Mexican Americans, the area's first pioneers, were caught in between two languages, two cultures, two legal systems, two political systems and two monetary and economic systems. Despite it all, Cardenas said, the people survived and flourished.
“It was not easy by any means; to survive they had to fight and die for what they believed, what they owned, what they knew, what they wanted for their children.”
Balo's War is a historical novel of what could have happened, based on what did happen. The central characters and what they say are based on true events and actual people. The interaction of these fictional characters and real people are based on events the real people participated in or on actions they took. The characters are fictional but they are authentic, Cardenas said.
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Alfredo E. Cardenas is available for media interviews. Balo's War is available in paperback from mcmbooks.com and from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Half Price Books and Books-A-Million. The ebook version is available from Amazon. Photos of the author and the book are available in color and grayscale, for both print and Web. More information is available on our Website mcmbooks.com.
Alfredo E. Cárdenas was born and raised in San Diego, Texas. He received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from St. Mary’s University in San Antonio. He served as director of community and economic development for Duval County before founding and publishing the Duval County Picture, a weekly newspaper in San Diego, from 1987-1999. He also served as mayor of San Diego for two terms, from 1992-1999. He has written book reviews and articles for various historical journals and The Handbook of Texas Online.