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Army of Manifest Destiny: The American Soldier in the Mexican War, 1846-1848 (American Social Experience) Paperback – November 1, 1994


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Army of Manifest Destiny: The American Soldier in the Mexican War, 1846-1848 (American Social Experience) + The Mexican War, 1846-1848
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Product Details

  • Series: American Social Experience (Book 23)
  • Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (November 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814755054
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814755051
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #307,301 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"McCaffrey is at his best conveying the personal dimension of the war experience. The real strength of the book lies in the effective arrangement of bit and pieces of letters and diaries, which reveal emotions and attitudes that are variously humorous, shocking, and poignant. . . . The story is compelling. . . . A well-researched and entertaining study that will hold the attention of students and general readers."

-The Journal of Southern History,

"From the letters of soldiers on the battlefield to analyses of military policy and procedures, this is an essential volume for anyone studying the Mexican War in depth."

-Midwest Book Review,

"Deals with every facet of the soldier's involvement, as opposed to the experiences of a single unit or individual. . . . it must rank as the best source on the subject. The literary style is suitable for virtually every level of reader and is remarkably easy to follow."

-Choice,

"With effortless command of fact and an almost universal conversational writing style, McCaffrey (and his soldiers) bring us an on-the-spot understanding of Mexican War enlistment procedures, weaponry, punishments, disease and medical care, recreation, disdain for Mexican civilians, rivalry of volunteers with regular army men, food, shelter, and clothing. . . . This book fills a long-standing need. It may well become the Billy Yank of the Mexican War."

-The Filson Club Historical Quarterly,

"James McCaffrey is to be commended. Army of Manifest Destiny illuminates the Mexican War as an episode in the on-going history of the American soldier, as a prelude to the Civil War military experience, and as a major event in the history of American expansion. A well-researched book which will be of use to anybody interested in the social history of the American soldier. Its easy style will make it attractive to the general reader as well."

-Tennessee Historical Quarterly,

About the Author

James McCaffrey is an assistant professor of history at the University of Houston-Downtown and is the author of This Band of Heroes: Granbury's Texas Brigade, C.S.A.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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McCaffrey gives a vivid sense of the men through hundreds (surely hundreds) of quotations from letters. He is NOT giving a history of the Mexican War. For example, I wanted to see something about Santa Cruz de Rosales and did not find any mention of this battle fought after the peace treaty was agreed to. Go to it for the right reason and you will not be disappointed.
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13 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 7, 1998
Format: Paperback
I was doing genological research and wanted to understand better what the folks who were involved in the Mexican War were thinking, why they fought, where they came from, etc. This book did that and more. It is incredible to read the very words of these soldiers--it makes you realize that there is very little difference between our us and our ancestors. No one can explain it better than their own words.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Freyja's Books on July 12, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was good more for its subject (and the necessity of writing a book about it) than any brilliance on the author's part. In fact, when the author states that he only wrote this book because he was an actor in a 1980's TV show about the Civil War and was curious about the Mexican-American War experience, his lack of credentials showed. This book's writing style feels amateurish, and does nothing to pull the reader in. Instead of giving the reader a full view into the mindset of an American soldier in the 1840's in Mexico, the author distances himself greatly from the soldiers' minds by constantly complaining how racist and ethnocentric they were. This is typical apologetic garbage from the 1990's, not objective scholarship. For one thing, I doubt the soldiers would have called themselves "racist," and it would have done the author a great service to try to understand WHY the soldiers had such low opinions of Mexicans (perhaps because of their voluntarily low standards of living, acquiescence to a corrupt government and a church of loose morals, lack of technological and economic progress, etc). Adding an understanding that most of the soldiers had never gone more than a dozen miles beyond their homes until they joined the army would have helped that understanding as well.

There is no discussion in this book about the equipment of the soldiers, whether regular or volunteer. There is no mention of the types of uniforms that the volunteers chose for their units. The author repeats himself for no apparent reason several times in this book, not only to complain about racism but to say that the soldiers would overcome this racism in order to get with Mexican women.
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