Waged between 1926 and 1929, The Cristero War (also known as The Cristero Rebellion or La Cristiada) resulted from a religious insurrectionary movement, which formed in protest of the Mexican Revolution's anticlerical constitution of 1917. It was arguably the most violent and divisive episode in Mexican history between the 1910 Revolution itself and the ongoing 'Narco Wars'. Filling in major gaps in our understanding of the conflict, Mark Lawrence explores both combatant and civilian experiences in the centre-west Mexican state of Zacatecas and its borderlands. Lawrence shows that, despite the centrality of this key region, it has received little scholarly attention compared with other states, such as Jalisco or Michoacán, which saw similar levels of conflict.
In providing a greater understanding of Zacatecas during The Cristero War, Lawrence not only works to even out a major historiographical bias, but he also sheds greater light on the contours of religious conflict and political dissent in early 20th-century Mexican history. In particular, he illustrates how the dynamics of local politics had fundamentally affected the way that a broader movement was embraced (and rejected) at a sub-national level. As such, he offers all historians, irrespective of geographic or temporal specialization, a reminder not to make sweeping assumptions about the everyday nature of compliance and resistance at the local level.