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Santa Anna: A Curse Upon Mexico (Military Profiles) Paperback – January 31, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"The foremost historian of the Latin American military has written a short, readable, even-handed biography of Santa Anna as general. His thought-provoking analyses shed much new light on a seemingly over-explained subject. After Scheina's book, no reasonable reader will ever look at the Mexican general the same way again." -- Barbara A. Tennenbaum, editor-in-chief, ENCYCLOPEDIA OF LATIN AMERICAN HISTORY AND CULTURE

About the Author

Robert L. Scheina, Ph.D., has published hundreds of articles and four other books on Latin America, including the comprehensive two-volume study Latin America's Wars (Brassey’s, Inc., 2003). He lives in Crofton, Maryland.
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Product Details

  • Series: Military Profiles
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc. (January 31, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574885464
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574885460
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 4.7 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,342,335 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Karl on June 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is a superb short military/political biography of a controversial figure. Santa Anna does not fall in my main area of historical work, but given the significant impact he had on US history I have always wanted to read more about him. This book fills the bill perfectly. I say this for three reasons.
1.) Writing historical biographies is a difficult business, especially when trying to keep it concise. I would rather write a 500-page bio than a 100-page bio, it is very hard to get at the significance of a controversial figure, who did so much, in so short a space. But Scheina has done it and done it well. Although the book is subtitled, "A Curse Upon Mexico," and I agree with this general assessment, Scheina presents a very fair biography. Santa Anna could be horribly cruel and extremely generous, heroic and cowardly on the field of battle, shrewd and foolish, savvy and blinded by his ego. Scheina puts it all together -- the good, and the bad, and he puts Santa Anna into military, political, social, and economic context of his times. He has no ax to grind. What a nice change of pace from some recent bios I have read!
2.) Scheina clearly explains the significance of Santa Anna for Mexican history, and thus for other fields, e.g., US history, military history, etc. He writes well, is quite articulate, and the book makes for a good quick read. But then again, it might actually be tough to write a dull book about such a fascinating character. (In 1834 Santa Anna had the distinction of having launched a coup against himself!)
3.) Don't be fooled by the compact size. Everything that needs to be covered is, and the thirteen pages of endnotes provide just what one needs for pursuing aspects of Santa Anna's career in further detail.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Enrique Torres VINE VOICE on January 4, 2003
Format: Hardcover
When I got this book the Mexican-American woman who sold it to me had a disgusted look on her face,"Why do you want to read about him." Feeling that she had about as much affection for him as most have for Hitler I told her simply ,"because he was a bad guy", to which she nodded and approved. I took my book sheepishly but unappologeticly. As I began to read I became fascinated rather than disgusted with the man. Given the circumstances of early Mexico , fresh from a break with Spain, this poor country needed a unifying Caudillo and Santa Ana was the man to run the country, 11 times as a matter of fact! The author explains the poitical times quite apptly and summarily.This is a book that can be read in one sitting or over several short reading periods. Concise and informative it delivers a portrait of a man destined to rule, often by ruthless and self serving means who although not detailed apparently enjoyed cockfighting tremendously and loved to gamble. In spite of his eventual bad guy role in Mexican(and U.S.) history he was able to resurface over and over because of his cunning guile and military achievements. The author has done an outstanding job for the armchair historian, bringing the man to life vivdly with pages of details on his "achievements" without taking a stance. I could not be so kind. The portrait of the ruthless Caudillo is given in terms of his military achievements and their impact on history, specifically between Mexcio and the U.S. Most famous to Americans for the Alamo he is more well known and detested among Mexicans on both sides of the border as the sellout who conceded the vast territories that included California,Texas aand other pats of the southwest, including lands sold in the Gadsen Purchase.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. Weiser on June 26, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This short but highly readable biographical survey of Santa Anna's career is about right for students of military history who need to get an idea of what the man was about. In essence, he was the kind of man he had to be, to prosper in his time and place - but not the kind of man Mexico needed to prosper. We need a similar survey of Mexican campaigns and leadership from about 1910, in English.
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Format: Hardcover
I ran across this short book while researching Santa Anna. This is a fast read, and a general (no pun intended!) survey of the man's life. Whether he was a curse or not depends on one's view, but clearly Santa Anna was a huge figure in Mexican life for decades, with some baleful effects, such as losing the war to the USA. The book is informational, but not particularly well written. Santa Anna is one of those larger than life characters, and some novelist or film director may someday discover him as a subject.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jim S on September 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am still looking for an indepth analysis-in English- of this fascinating but evil man. There is so much to be explained yet I can't find one decent book on the subject.
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