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Santa Anna of Mexico Paperback – November 1, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 528 pages
  • Publisher: Bison Books (November 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0803226381
  • ISBN-13: 978-0803226388
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #339,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Drawing on archives in Mexico, Spain, Britain, and Texas as well as published sources, Fowler supplies a much-needed corrective to existing impressions of Santa Anna with this balanced and well-written work."—Library Journal
(Stephen H. Peters Library Journal 2007-11-15)

"Building on recent historiography, this is a breakthrough study of Santa Anna."—S. F. Voss, Choice
(S. F. Voss Choice 2008-11-01)

"[Santa Anna of Mexico] is carefully documented and well-written. Historians of Mexico on both sides of the border should read this excellent effort."—Joseph A. Stout, Jr., Journal of Arizona History
(Joseph A. Stout, Jr. Journal of Arizona History)

“Superb. . . . Fowler has produced an elegantly-written and engaging study about one of Mexico’s most notorious and misunderstood leaders. His evenhanded assessment of Santa Anna as more than just a power-hungry, opportunistic, and corrupt politician makes this biography a most welcome and valuable addition to Mexican historiography.”—Journal of Military History
(Journal of Military History 2008-01-30)

"This reevalution of Antonio López de Santa Anna is long overdue given the sophistication of our understanding of Mexico's turbulent decades following independence in 1810. . . .This biography will become obligatory text for students of the period that will also hold the attention of the casual reader."—Michael Ducey, A Contracorriente
(Michael Ducey A Contracorriente)

"Fowler has written an unsurpassed biography of one of Mexico's most famous leaders. Everyone with an interest in Mexican history should read it."—Donald F. Stevens, Journal of Latin American Studies
(Donald F. Stevens Journal of Latin American Studies)

"This biography is a marvellous introduction to Santa Anna's life and times."—Matthew Brown, Bulletin of Latin American Research
(Matthew Brown Bulletin of Latin American Research)

"Santa Ann of Mexico is a well-research and clearly written biography that provides an appreciation for the political complexity and volatility of Mexico and the man who led the nation during this turbulent period."—Ana Luisa Martinez-Catsam, Journal of Southern History
(Ana Luisa Martinez-Catsam Journal of Southern History)

"This is a detailed biography for those with a passion for Mexican history, Texas history and American relations with Mexico."—Cmdr. Youssef Aboul-Enein, Waterline
(Cmdr. Youssef Aboul-Enein Waterline 2009-11-19)

"In this compelling biography of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the author sets the record straight about the man who served Mexico six times as president yet is vilified today as a tyrant and traitor to his country."—Patricia L.P. Thompson, Historian
(Patricia L.P. Thompson Historian)

"Fowler's balanced and well-researched biography of Santa Anna correctly adds nuance to the existing black legend of Mexico's favorite villain."—Andrae M. Marak, Journal of the West
(Andrae M. Marak Journal of the West)

“There have been many other biographies of Santa Anna, both by Anglophone and Mexican scholars, but none as balanced or revisionist in tone as Fowler’s. He seeks to look at Santa Anna ‘warts and all’ in a searching way in which few authors of even longer works have done. This book will be an important contribution to the field because it gives us a compelling narrative that is scrupulously researched and nicely written. . . . Fowler’s bibliography constitutes an excellent entry-point into the historiography on the Santa Anna period.”—Eric Van Young, author of The Other Rebellion: Popular Violence, Ideology, and the Mexican Struggle for Independence, 1810–1821
(Eric Van Young)

“Assessing the many findings made in the last thirty years of historiography on the topic, Fowler develops a persuasive new understanding of Santa Anna and the problems that beset the then-young Mexican republic. Fowler’s writing style is eloquent, rigorous, and accessible. He articulates complex ideas with clarity and simplicity, and establishes clear connections between themes. The text is an enjoyable read—and one which is sure to make an important contribution to Mexican historiography.”—Abdiel Oñate, professor of history at San Francisco State University
(Abdiel O�ate)

About the Author

Will Fowler is a professor of Latin American studies at the University of St. Andrews. His books include Mexico in the Age of Proposals, 1821–1853; Tornel and Santa Anna: The Writer and the Caudillo, Mexico, 1795–1853; and Latin America since 1780.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 23 people found the following review helpful By tejasjj on February 27, 2008
Format: Hardcover
At long last, a dispassionate, balanced biography of Antonio López de Santa Anna is available that is informed by the last thirty years of historiographical advances in nineteenth century Mexican history. Santa Anna of Mexico, written by Will Fowler, one of the leading Anglophone interpreters of nineteenth century Mexico, provides the reader with a new perspective that chips away at the barnacles of the Black Legend that for over 150 years have encrusted the "leader all Mexicans (and Texans) love to hate."

Faced with internal division as a result of provinces not yet fully integrated and external adversaries that lusted after territory and markets, Mexico's journey toward forging nation would be prolonged, painful and problematic. In Fowler's hands, Santa Anna emerges as a man of his time when Mexico was making this painful journey of trying to define herself as a nation and create a hegemonic state that could govern and at the same time defend its territorial integrity. Consequently, it was a time of experimentation or as Fowler states a time for varying proposals. During this "Age of Proposals", (for a detailed look at this era, see Fowler's Mexico in the Age of Proposals) Santa Anna was one of many struggling to find ways of assimilating heterogeneous cultures and integrating legitimate claims from Mexico's far-flung provinces under a suitable governing framework before they could construct a hegemonic state, construct (imagine) a unified social identity and truly forge a nation-state.

According to Fowler, Santa Anna was "not the power-crazed megalomaniac his critics made him out to be" and did not aspire to having absolute power.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Roy K. Farber on March 8, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have meant to set down my thoughts of this scholarly work since it was first published and I'd the pleasure of its reading, but somehow time and opportunity slipped by. And yet, after studying the history of Mexico and Nuevo Mexico for these past 15 years or so, attempting to comprehend US History from the vantage of south heading north, this volume stands out, distinct and unforgotten from the rest, and most deserving of high praise.

For a Gringo attempting to comprehend Mexican history, of what became of our one-half and the resulting remainder, Santa Anna is the preeminent figure, and yet slandered, misunderstood, relegated to backwaters and blamed for all vanished glory. Mr. Fowler portrays him as the man of his times, an opportunist, great and tragic at once, and explains his life and times role in a manner that no other author I've read has achieved. Other figures who move out and in through Mexico's transmogrifying soul play their oft-changing roles, too, and IT, the history of that great nation, at last made sense. And through Mr. Fowler's study, which is more of a novel in holding one's interest, but pure history at its finest, ends with Santa Anna's death on the year of the US Centennial, one comes to comprehend what has occurred since with our Neighbor to the South.
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18 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Blinn Log on October 22, 2009
Format: Paperback
Two points to consider: This biography is a very laudatory account of Santa Anna's life, and that Mr. Fowler is a Marxist Historian. It seems that Mr. Fowler, like many authors, has fallen for his subject and praises Santa Anna to the hilt. It may be that the madcap was the best Mexico had to offer at the time in the form of a politician, but considering the other individuals populating Mexican politics at the time--de Zavala, Alaman, Iturbide, and others--that is not a high threshold to cross. There are some nice nuggets of information in here and if you like a history that blames the Americans then this is your book. The sad part is that for a man who had such an over-arching influence on Texas, U.S., and Mexican History, no quality historian has written a multi-volume account of the generalissimo. That is a shame for American historians, and a damning indictment of Mexican historians.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Walter A. Theis on August 31, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was about as good a read as one can have which describe a man and how he fit into the problems of Mexico. There is nothing complicated about Santa Anna, he is smooth, treacherous, brutal and a total elite along with his supporters and pays lip service only to the average Mexican. It is almost like reading what happened to the Roman Republic as it transitioned into an empire under Caesar and then Octavian. Mexico was chaotic then and it gives one a look at the intrigue that still seems to affect Mexican politics and problems today. Of course, I seriously doubt that a person who was not born in Mexico and lived their can ever really understand Mexican politics but the life of Santa Anna indicate how two elite classes in Mexico have dominated its policies for years. Sadly, it also shows what happens when elites control a country rather than offering opportunity to everyone which an elite cannot afford to do. Perhaps a lesson for the United States with the growing elitism it this country.
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