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So Far From God: The U. S. War With Mexico, 1846-1848 Paperback – September 15, 2000


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The war between the United States and Mexico, often passed over lightly as a sort of rehearsal for the American Civil War, is dealt with by Eisenhower ( The Bitter Woods ) as an event of major significance in the nation's history. (It was certainly major from the loser's point of view: Mexico gave up more than half its territory in the 1848 Treaty of Gaudalupe Hidalgo.) This well-written, comprehensive history of the war takes into account the political and diplomatic dimensions as well as the military. The two principal campaigns are traced in colorful detail: Zachary Taylor's battles in northeast Mexico, aggressively fought until Winfield Scott appropriated that general's best troops for his own amphibious landing at Veracruz, and Scott's over land drive on Mexico City against formidable opposition, brilliantly successful despite weak support from Washington. Eisenhower, son of the former president, suggests that Winfield Scott was the most capable soldier this country has ever produced. Of President James Polk, one of the three major characters in this lively narrative, the author remarks, "Manifest Destiny was not Polk's invention, but he was its ideal agent." Author tour.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Eisenhower is a historian from whom there are too few books. The author of The Bitter Woods (1969) has produced a cool and thoughtful look at the understated conflict which preceded and shaped the Civil War. The narrative is detailed but fast-moving, and Eisenhower has brilliantly captured the political mood and the elan of the American and Mexican forces. Lay readers will enjoy the personalities; academics will approve of Eisenhower's research and historiography. There have been surprisingly few books on this subject in recent years, and this is the best one since Otis Singletary's The Mexican War (LJ 7/60).
- Raymond L. Puffer, U.S. Air Force History Prog., Los Angeles
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press (September 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0806132795
  • ISBN-13: 978-0806132792
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.2 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,847 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

As with all the other books by Mr Eisenhower that I have read, this one is very well done.
Ironmike
Mr. Eisenhower leaves judgement to the reader and gives a detailed discription of the war and its battles,with good maps.
Gary D. Burkholder
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about this "forgotten" war.
Adventure57

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Wayne Collier on January 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
The war with Mexico has been given little attention by historians possibly because the victory has become tainted with the passage of time. In the succeeding century, the war assumed the mantle of a calculated move by an emerging power to steal land from a weaker and defenseless neighbor. In reality, the issues involved in this war were far more complex yet historians disconcerted by the easy victory have declined to fully examine the background leading to the conflict.
In the 1840s, Mexico was nation of contrasts; remnants of Spanish imperialism juxtaposed against the backwardness of a native population. The Mexican officers' corps was a highly educated and strong force in Mexican politics. They were supremely confident of the outcome in any conflict with the United States. Unfortunately, they commanded untrained albeit brave troops. This attitude of elitism by the Mexican Army officers ultimately proved disastrous in the war with the United States.
The Mexican government resisted all blandishments for a peaceful solution as they considered the United States a second-rate power with little enthusiasm for war. Their mistrust of American motives began with the Texas question and was heightened because of the recent intervention by American officials in the internal affairs of California. Mexicans entered the war with confidence and with the feeling that right was on their side.
The war resulted in thousands of deaths from shot and shell, disease, and neglect. Mexico sank into the turmoil and distrust bequeathed to a defeated nation. They were racked by recriminations and political divisions that have impaired a just relationship with the United States to this day.
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38 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Ironmike on June 13, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As with all the other books by Mr Eisenhower that I have read, this one is very well done. His telling of this conflict, with the dozens of characters on both sides, the vicious bloody battles, the harrowing marches across a brutal landscape round out the story of this little known war. The text has several superb maps that allow the reader to follow the combatants. His information on the St Patrick's Battalion (Irishmen who deserted the US Army before and during the war) is detailed and interesting. Santa Ana is shown as an egotistical commander who had little regard for the welfare of his men, Taylor and Scott are portrayed as men with faults and certain military skills. Overall, an interesting read, it won't disapoint those with a thirst for this conflict.
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78 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Michael E. Fitzgerald on December 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
If anyone undertakes even a cursory study of the concept of Manifest Destiny, he or she will sooner or later be forced to deal with the facts surrounding the US war with Mexico.
The contemporary evaluation is that we were wrong and used pretense to steal one third of Mexico. The fact that we offered to buy the land which was ultimately acquired by arms, and for which we subsequently paid, does not auger well in our defense. But to use today's standards to judge the right or wrong of an event that occurred over 150 years ago, like many historians do today, never produces good history. Simply stated, Mexico's disorganized centrist policies left it unable to govern itself. If the United States had not taken Mexico to task, another nation would have. Mexico was incredibly unstable and corrupt. It was both socially and morally bankrupt, a fact often overlooked today.

John D. Eisenhower leaves the correctness or incorrectness of this war where it belongs, with the reader. He tries to avoid the mistake of judging 19th century events with 21st century standards. Except for his short introduction, he makes no political statements. He neither supports this war as a natural extension of Manifest Destiny nor condemns it as some form of land based buccaneering. He simply reports the facts as they occurred.
And report the facts he does! What the American military accomplished over such a vast theater of operations with little more than 100,000 men in less than one year of active campaigning is almost incomprehensible. Mexico was no easy conquest. This became the bloodiest war the United States ever fought: 13% of those engaged died.
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By DPHBrooklyn on May 25, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A model for this book might have been Donald R. Hickey's "The War of 1812: A Short History." In "The War of 1812," Hickey summarizes both the political and military battles of the War of 1812 concisely and elegantly, leaving the reader with a clear view of the issues. Eisenhower's book fails in this regard.
Neither an in-depth look at the battles, nor a political history of the war, the book is an uncomfortable blend that never quite makes it on any level. There are some surprising omissions here (Where exactly were the borders of Texas at the beginning of the war? Why did Polk allow Santa Anna back into Mexico?), and "continuity" often seems amiss. Detailed descriptions end suddenly and awkward three sentence paragraphs appear, as if the editors were uncertain how to proceed. The book is "half a loaf" and readers interested in specific topics (the politics, cultural impacts or the battles) would be better off looking elswhere.
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