St. Patrick Battalion and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Buy Used
$4.34
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Item qualifies for FREE shipping and Prime! This item is used.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Saint Patrick's Battalion: A Novel Hardcover – August 22, 2006


See all 13 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$1.97 $0.01
Multimedia CD
"Please retry"

Girl at War by Sara Novic
Girl at War by Sara Novic
The story of Ana Jurić—who had the misfortune of living in Zagreb when civil war broke out in 1991—and later is haunted by the events that forever changed her family. Learn more | See similar books

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In June of 1845, a group of immigrant Americans—called the San Patricio's, or St. Patrick's, Battalion—deserted Gen. Zachary Taylor's army and fought on the opposite side in the Mexican-American war, under the leadership of the elusive, charismatic James Riley. Thom (Panther in the Sky) has taken this forgotten incident from an almost forgotten war and turned it into a stirring tale that does everything that smart historical fiction ought to do: illuminating the past while throwing new light on the present. The story of this motley band of mostly Irish and German Catholics, driven to rebellion by the endemic racism and capricious cruelty of their officers, is told from two points of view. Augustin Juvero, a Mexican soldier speaking years later, provides essential context, but most of the novel is taken up by the journal (complete with vivid pencil drawings) of Paddy Quinn, a camp boy. Guerillas, gangs of rancheros that kill Americans on sight, torture, border disputation—all are portrayed with brutal and unsentimental simplicity in Quinn's voice. Not only a striking (and often horrific) account of pre–Civil War army life, Quinn's narrative beautifully conveys the boy's coming of age against a backdrop of eerily familiar war and rebellion. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Noted historical novelist Thom takes a painful period in American history and treats it with great imagination and verve, threading in unsettling parallels to the current war in Iraq. Homing in on real-life soldier John Riley, an Irishman who inspired many fellow immigrants to defect to the Mexican side during the -Mexican-American War, Thom also devotes many thought-provoking passages to the ethical implications of invading a foreign country. The diary passages of American camp-boy Paddy Quinn reveal the rough and shoddy treatment that Irish Catholic soldiers, often veterans of the British army, receive at the hands of officers who were educated at West Point but possess no combat experience. As tensions rise, the men desert in droves, and Paddy is torn between his great admiration for the charismatic Riley and his loyalty to his country. Meanwhile, Augusten Juvero, a Mexican cadet, relays his experience of the war and the enormous cost in casualties on both sides of the conflict. With its eerie parallels to modern-day warfare, this fine novel makes for gripping reading. Joanne Wilkinson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Best Books of the Month
Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; 1st edition (August 22, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345445562
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345445568
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #511,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Alexander Thom is the author of Follow the River, Long Knife, From Sea to Shining Sea, Panther in the Sky (for which he won the prestigious Western Writers of America Spur Award for best historical novel), Sign-Talker, The Children of First Man, and The Red Heart.

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Caesar Warrington on November 17, 2006
Format: Hardcover
At the time of the Mexican War (1846-1848) Irish immigration to the United States was at its height. Fear and bigotry of this growing Roman Catholic population led many Protestant Americans into so-called "nativist" movements, enabling harsh treatment of the Irish and literally fueling the fire of anti-Catholic riots in American cities. In part to escape this discrimination and also to obtain American citizenship, many Irishmen enlisted for service in the army; only to find worse the hatred and abuse from their Protestant officers and fellow soldiers. This allowed the Mexicans a great propaganda weapon, one that made it easy for them to send word throughout the Irish ranks of the American army that in Mexico they would be welcomed as fellow Roman Catholics. This resulted in the desertion of hundreds of Irish and German Catholic soldiers.

James Alexander Thom's SAINT PATRICK'S BATTALION is an exciting fictionalized account of the action taken by Pvt. John Riley and others like him who could no longer tolerate being whipped, gagged and branded simply because they were of a different race and religion. Riley made his way over to the Mexican forces where he was quickly made an officer and helped form the San Patricio Battalion of artillery. The story here is told through the journal of Padraic Quinn, an Irish campboy in the American army and interspersed with the recollections of Augustin Juvero, the son of Riley's Mexican lover, who was later to become one of the valiant military cadets, 'Los Ninos Heroes,' at the 1847 Battle of Chapultepec.

Further historical reading on this shame in America's history can be found in THE ROGUE'S MARCH by Peter F. Stevens and THE IRISH SOLDIERS OF MEXICO by Michael Hogan, among others.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
39 of 47 people found the following review helpful By DWD's Reviews VINE VOICE on July 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
To start, let me establish my bonafides as a fan of Mr. Thom's work. Three of his novels sit on a shelf less than two feet from this computer. I have the featured review on one of his novels ("The Red Heart"). One of his books is on my Favorite Books List on my profile page.

So, I approached this book with much hope. Instead of his usual quality, I found this book to be simplistic, with less detail and bent on beating two points home time after time: the Irish were treated brutally and shamefully by the U.S. army during the Mexican War and the Mexican War was an unjust war.

Thom makes it clear in the opening dedication and acknowledgments that he is against the Iraq War and quite clearly he is drawing analogies between the two. However, Thom never really gets off of his twin focuses on the unjust war and the unjust treatment of the Irish. He never gets to his real strengths in his other books - bringing the reader into another world and teaching us about larger movements in history, but also about the day-to-day lives and goings on of our ancestors. Thom rarely gets beyond the superficial and that is a shame - and a loss to Thom's loyal readers because when his books are good they are fantastic.

Thom's format is the main cause of the failure of this book to be as excellent as his others. His chosen format is a diary of a 10-12 year old Irish-American boy (Quinn) with the U.S. Army and the remembrances of a Mexican man (Juvero)about his experiences during the war as a young boy 16 years later. The diary entries are the better of the two, but are often sketchy. The remembrances are very repetitive and full of Spanish phrases that must be annoying to readers who don't know any Spanish. He often comments about Manifest Destiny, the Irish and America's arrogance.
Read more ›
5 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Ernesto Patino on March 22, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Mr. Thom's novel, Saint Patrick's Battalion, ia a refreshing new look into the U.S. invasion of Mexico in 1846. Through Mr. Thom's description of the men (mostly Irish Catholics) who comprised the St. Patrick's Battalion, we are provided with a realistic account of the invasion itself and of the noble reasons that scores of Irish-born U.S. Soldiers switched sides and joined the Mexican Army to defend a weaker, Catholic nation. And they did it willingly and with the knowledge that they would face the gallows if American forces should defeat the Mexican Army, which of course they did. I recommend this book to anyone who has ever questioned the "manifest destiny" philosohpy that was used to justify the war against Mexico.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Sunset Chaser on October 31, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
James Alexander Thom is my favorite author. To my knowledge, I've read everything he's published. Historical novels are my favorite genre. And he's tops at what he does. I met and talked to him on three occasions in the early 80's in Indiana. The third time his lovely wife Dark Rain was with him. They are both genuine nice people. Anytime I spot something of his that I haven't read, I'm all over it.

I've read four books about the Lewis and Clark expedition. His is head and shoulders above the others. His book "Children of First Man" was the most riveting I've ever read - and very enlightening.

He's a superb author.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Patrick A. Plunkett on December 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wonderful and well-researched historical fiction! If you're an Irish-American, this should be required reading! Opened my eyes to a period in history that seems to be ignored quite a bit.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Format: MP3 CD
This is an inventive novel about the Battalion of Irish (and German) soldiers who fought for the Mexicans in the Mexican War of 1846 told from the perspective of a camp boy named Patrick Quinn and a cadet in the Mexican military academy (Augustin Juvero). It alternates between the musings of the Quinn kid in his diary and Juevera's description of the Mexican point of view of the events that eventually led to the capture and execution and humiliation of the soldiers who left the US army to fight with the Mexicans.

There is a lot of history presented here in a story which often follows the real events surrounding the struggles of John Riley - who was the commander of this irregular brigade. The Irish in the US army were the subject of a lot of harsh treatment (as were many Catholics from other countries). They were looked down upon by the US born officers.

Riley deserted the US army before the Mexican war started- which is one of the reasons that Gen Winfield Scott spared his life after he was captured. He is revered in Mexico with a special monument erected to him and the other Irish martyrs in the plaza of San Angel. The book goes through the Mexican campaign and the tensions between Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott. It also points out that the war was a training ground for many of the key figures of the Civil War. Among other things the novel points out that RE Lee was quite successful in outflanking the Mexican army in a couple of key battles.

The book is also chock full of interesting historical facts - for example, that Samuel Morse was a virulent anti-Catholic. When you do a search on Morse you can actually find some of his tracts that he wrote in the 1830s.

There is one problem with the audio version - the Juvero character reverts to Spanglish in a couple of annoying ways - for example he mispronounces collegio and San Juan Potosi.

I enjoyed this book a lot.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Most Recent Customer Reviews


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?