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A Gallant Little Army: The Mexico City Campaign (Modern War Studies (Hardcover)) Hardcover – September 14, 2007

4.2 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A fine narrative history and persuasive evaluation of Scott's campaign."

"Johnson's excellent history brings this much-neglected military campaign out of the shadows and gives it the attention it deserves."

"The most detailed analysis to date of Winfield Scott's spectacular 1847 campaign to capture Mexico City....Destined to become a classic."

From the Back Cover

"Johnson's excellent history brings this much-neglected military campaign out of the shadows and gives it the attention it deserves."--Robert W. Johannsen, author of To the Halls of the Montezumas: The Mexican War in the American Imagination

"The most detailed analysis to date of Winfield Scott's spectacular 1847 campaign to capture Mexico City. . . . Destined to become a classic."--R. Bruce Winders, author of Mr. Polk's Army: The American Military Experience in the Mexican War

"A fine narrative history and persuasive evaluation of Scott's campaign."--Joseph G. Dawson III, author of Doniphan's Epic March: The 1st Missouri Volunteers in the Mexican War

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Product Details

  • Series: Modern War Studies (Hardcover)
  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas (September 14, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0700615415
  • ISBN-13: 978-0700615414
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #455,834 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tim Johnson grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee and graduated from East Ridge High School in 1975. While growing up, occasional visits to Lookout Mountain and Chickamauga Battlefield along with drives along Missionary Ridge fostered an interest in the Civil War. As a history graduate student at The University of Alabama he developed an interest in Winfield Scott, which resulted in a biography of the general and follow up books on the Mexican War. He has written articles for scholarly journals, popular magazines, and encyclopedias, and he is the author/editor of seven books.

Johnson's primary interest is late 18th to mid-19th century American history including topics related to politics, diplomacy, army professionalization, Mexican War, Civil War, and Constitutional history.

During his twenty-three year career as a history professor at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Johnson has twice been named a research fellow at the Virginia Historical Society as well as a 2005 research fellow at Yale University. His current research/writing projects touch on both the Mexican War and Civil War.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Timothy Johnson's "A Gallant Little Army: The Mexico City Campaign" gives a detailed history and analysis of one of the most remarkable campaign's in American military history: when General Winfield Scott's tiny army landed on the coast of Mexico in 1847 and then fought its way across hundreds of miles of hostile territory to capture the enemy capital and end the Mexican War. Scott's army included numerous junior officers who less than two decades later would win fame as generals in the American Civil War, including both Robert E. Lee and Ulysses S. Grant. Scott had to overcome not only the Mexican Army but also tepid cooperation from his own government and obstacles thrown up by some of his subordinate commanders. But in the end he achieved a nearly unparalleled victory, albeit one largely forgotten today, its place in American history overshadowed by the events of the Civil War a decade and a half later. In an epilogue, Johnson discusses the influence of Scott's Mexico City campaign on leaders and operations of the Civil War, citing a number of examples that paralleled Scott's methods and goals. Astoundingly, no fewer than 135 veterans of Scott's small army later served as generals during the Civil War, including such famous names as Grant, Lee, Jackson, McClellan, Hooker, Meade, and Longstreet.

Johnson draws upon official reports, memoirs, and numerous contemporary letters and journals -- mostly American, but some Mexican as well -- to build a strong analytical narrarive illuminated by vivid detail.

I am giving this work only four stars instead of five because of the maps. Johnson himself in the introduction states "Maps are crucial to the reader of military history" but the maps in this volume are too small and quite poorly reproduced.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been devouring volumes of American and Latin American History books over the past year from the Revolution up until modern times. Having recently finished the rather disappointing "Americanos" book about Latin American independence, I had low expectations for "A Gallant Little Army". I was pleasantly elated.

The Author writes in an engaging manner, immersing the reader in the Mexico City campaign. Like modern times, the book is quick to point out where military decisions take a backseat to political squabbles. While not passing any judgement, there is a distinct tone in the book that recognizes the similarities to the Mexico City campaign and more modern US "interventions". In addition to the military aspects, the book contains interesting cultural details about old American and old Mexican life that leave you feeling positioned smack in the middle of Winfield Scott's army.

Of course, the best part about this book is that it relates the first military experiences of some Civil War Legends. If you are a Civil War buff, then this is a must read for you. Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, AP Hill, George McClellan, Pickett, Beuregard and others all show up in this book's riveting pages. Knowing that these young men were to battle and kill each other twenty years later makes you wonder who really was the victor in this war.

Buy this book, read this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This well-written analytical narrative provides the best account to date of the climatic campaign of the U.S.-Mexican War, equal in drama to that of Hernan Cortez along the same route over 300 years earlier. The author makes no attempt to cover the Mexican side of the conflict in any detail, nor does he deal with the causes of the war or its morality, but he brings Winfield Scott and his invading army vividly to life, making good use of contemporary letters and diaries of junior officers (many of whom became Civil War generals). His portrayal of Winfield Scott, while not uncritical, highlights Scott's talents not only as military strategist, but as one who pioneered methods of dealing with the population of an invaded country. Scott, he argues, pursued a policty of "sword and olive branch" pausing after each victory to give the Mexican government the opportunity to sue for peace (a policy that did not always work) and for the most part he treated the Mexican civilians decently, paying for goods rather than pillaging, and striving to keep his soldiers from abusing the populace. Whatever the reader's view of the morality of the U.S. conquest of half of Mexico, this book belongs in the library of students of pivital and tragic conflict.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is a new treatment on the War with Mexico and General Scott's push to Mexico city. I found it enlightening with period accounts from new sources. The only draw back is that the publisher chose to make the maps and plates so tiny that they are pretty much useless and do take away from the narrative. The author did a great job and the publisher did a terrible job. I'd buy it anyway if you are interested in General Scott's campaign.
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I have been enjoying the book, but it just another version of the Mexican American War by the author. To learn more about the subject, the reader should study the Mexican verisons of the war, such as Ramon Alcaraz (1850) The Other Side: Notes for the History of the War Between Mexico and the United States.
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