Javier Garcia de Gabiola, The Paulista War Volume 1 (Helion, 2020)
Almost every nation has suffered a Civil War at one time its history. Brazil is no exception. In fact, Brazil went through a series of civil wars, beginning around 1889 and ending in its biggest challenge in 1932. For three months, 100,000 Government troops took on 32,000 rebels from Sao Paulo, known as Paulistas, who wanted a new constitution. Javier Garcia de Gabiola brings us that story in an entertaining magazine-style book in Helion’s Latin America @ War series.
Gabiola narrates the causes of the Paulista rebellion that began in civil unrest and ended in full-scale war. He describes the Federal army that outnumbered and outgunned the opposing Paulista forces by a considerable margin. Though both sides used much the same weapons, the Paulistas never had enough, nor did they have an adequate supply of ammunition. The apportionment of heavy weapons also favoured the Government forces, as did aircraft. The Paulistas had to improvise, therefore, just to stay in the field. Gabiola continues his narrative, bringing the Paulistas into open conflict and the first operations, although their hoped for allies in neighbouring provinces failed to turn up. This was a war fought on a number of fronts, all covered well by Gabiola, who makes particular mention of the air war. He leaves this volume with the Paulista collapse along the coast.
Helion is onto something with this series of books, opening a continent of historical wars that are rarely covered in English. Gabiola’s contribution is an excellent addition to that library. Nor have the production values been spared: The Paulista War contains black and white photos, propaganda posters, and high quality, full colour illustrations of warplanes and uniforms; although Gabiola has a thing about who wore what helmets for some reason. He also includes good, clear maps, which makes events easier to follow. The result is an engaging read and I look forward to Volume II.
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