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The Rogue's March: John Riley and the St. Patrick's Battalion, 1846-48 (The Warriors) Mass Market Paperback – September 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Series: The Warriors
  • Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Potomac Books (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1574887386
  • ISBN-13: 978-1574887389
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 4.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #809,363 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The research is excellent and combines plenty of both primary and secondary sources. The writing is flawless, the illustrations enhance the text and the maps add scope and depth to the battlefields."

"Peter F. Stevens, a journalist and historian, has attempted not simply to tell a story which will come as news to most readers, but also to explain why these deserters chose the path of treason. His narrative of the war is vivid and is based on solid research in U.S. and Mexican archives. His explanation for the actions of the San Patricios is controversial and provocative."

"Through Peter Stevens's scholarship, The Rogue's March shines a spotlight on a period of American history that has been virtually buried in myth and, yes, shame, for more than a century. The story of John Riley and the St. Patrick's Battalion is a critical piece of the history of the Irish-American experience. A delightful read, Stevens's masterful chronicle of the San Patricios will stand as an important reminder of how far we have come in our own American journey."

"Peter Stevens's vivid, fast-paced writing style brings to life the story of the St. Patrick's Battalion through fascinating first-person accounts and meticulous documentation. Never before has the plight of Irish and German immigrants of the 1840s been told with such careful research and skillful writing. This is a must-read."

From the Publisher

The true story of the U.S. Army deserters --- the majority of them Irish immigrants --- who fought valiantly as a Mexian Army unit during the Mexican War of 1846.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
Well researched and very well written.
Joseph R. Sanchez
As an Irishman I feel sad when I read books where our brothers or sisters have been treated badly down the centuries, but then the truth is the truth.
william callan
A must read for the student of Irish-American and Vietnam history.
Stiofain Gael Mac Geough

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 36 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A detailed true story that is laced with incredible bravery, conviction, cowardice and intolerance. These immigrant Irishmen served in the US Army, but were driven to deserting and fighting in the Mexican Army frin 1846-48 by cruelty and intolerence. John Riley, the leader of the hated or praised "Batallon de San Patricios" is a unique and noteworthy man, with an interesting past. The fateful battles are detailed and mapped well, the gruesome casualties that depleated their numbers are compelling reading. And for many, the final meeting with the gallows is truely hidious. A terrific story that is almost unknown, crisply told packed with great research. For more info, read "Shamrock and the Sword". A film is due out in Sept. 1999 "One Man's Hero" with Tom Barenger playing Riley. Over all, an exceptional book
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful By D. M. Childs on December 22, 2003
Format: Paperback
An engaging history lesson of both the Mexican-American War and the Anti-Catholic/Immigrant prejudice of Nativists and West Pointers who would later be made famous by the American Civil War. This is as much a story of persecution by bigoted officers as it is an Order of Battle for the conflict. All the major battles of the war are covered with maps and detailed first hand accounts of what happened.
Well-educated and brilliant officers were of differing opinions about the legitimacy of the war, the treatment of German and Irish Catholics, and the tactics used on the field. It was surprising to me to read the correspondence of figures such as Grant, Lee, Sherman, Taylor, Scott, Bragg, and a host of others, illuminating their personal feelings on both sides of those issues and how the experience of the war changed the sentiments and conduct of many of those same officers. This would be reflected in the Civil War some 20 years later.
An intriguing example of the use of "flying batteries" as an innovative use of Artillery showed one of the reasons an outnumbered, and arguably out classed, military was able to defeat an enemy on foreign soil so far away from home.
The story revolves around the main character, the leader of the "San Patricos" and as a counterpoint, an established Irishman settled in the country and the Army. They both faced the same insults and persecutions, and the same offers and temptations to change sides and ironically, both men end up being promoted from enlisted men to commissioned officers in the two opposing armies.
I imagined at first that this would be a story of a man's internal conflict of having to choose loyalty to church over country; though a powerful theme of the book, this was not so much the case.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Throughout Mexico, one can hear of the legend of the SanPatricios, a battalion of soldiers in the U.S.-Mexico War that wasmade up almost entirely of deserters from the U.S. Army. Predominately Irish and/or Catholic, the San Patricios fought well for the Mexicans -- and they suffered for it significantly when the U.S. finally won the war.
Stevens does an excellent job of telling the story of the battalion, the history behind its foundation, and the punishment its members faced after the war. Adding to the interest of the story is the role that many of those in the U.S. Army during the U.S.-Mexico War went on to play pivotal roles in the U.S. and CSA armies during the Civil War.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Joseph R. Calamia on January 26, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Rogue's March" by Peter F. Stevens is a superb piece of well researched history that should be required reading as part of any college's "American History" program.

This is a terrific story, yet a tragic drama of predijuce, hatred, and a man's devotion to his ideals (be they correct or not). This is a story about soldering, war, inhumane treatment (including earlier versions of "water-boarding'), and ultimately...desertion into the enemies camp by not just one or two individuals but... almost 14% of the initial military force that entered Mexico in the start of the Mexican American War (1846-1848). The question remains..."were they justified in their actions?"

The title is actually an old Revolutionary War "fife and drum" march, but one that clearly portrays this historical event.

John Riley ("...the malevolent Pied Piper), and his St. Patrick's Battalion (San Patricios), fought for the Mexican forces against their own regiments and became the most hated men in America. John Riley fought under the flags of England, America, Mexico, and...his very own,"The San Patricios."

If, anyone accused the subject of history as boring then, I can assure you that they have never read..."The Rogue's March" by Peter Stevens. This is one campaign you will never forget!!!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Robert C. Doyle on July 4, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Peter F. Stevens does an outstanding job in bringing to life the issues that permeated and greatly harmed the American armies of General Zachary Taylor and General Winfield Scott from 1846 to 1848. At the core was American nativism, hatred and fear of newly arrived Catholic immigrants mainly from Ireland and Germany. Recruited nearly at the pier, these soldiers had no loyalty nor a real investment in their future as Americans. What loyalty they had was toward their Catholic faith. Meeting them in the army was a cadre of immigrant hating junior officers who often imposed discipline more severe than found in European armies. The result was the highest desertion rate of any war the United States ever fought. More important, the Mexicans took advantage of immigrant soldiers' unhappiness and formed the St. Patrick's Battalion, led by John Reily, that distinguished itself in battle against former comrades and messmates until their defeat and capture. The author shows how severe the courts martial were that resulted in the execution of fifty deserters and the lashing and branding of others including John Reily. That this series of events became a downside of Manifest Destiny and a forerunner of the Civil War becomes prominent in the text. This worthy book is a fine read, well researched, militarily and historically sound, and serves as a real contribution to the field of military and social American history.
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More About the Author

Peter F. Stevens, news and features editor of the Boston Irish Reporter, is a veteran journalist with a specialty in historical writing. His work is syndicated by the New York Times and has been published in dozens of magazines and newspapers.

Stevens has published ten books, and is also a two-time winner of the International Regional Magazine Association's Gold Medal for Feature Writing. His awarding winning book, The Voyage of the Catalpa: A Perilous Journey and Six Irish Rebels' Escape to Freedom, was also the chief historical resource for the PBS documentary "Irish Escape."

Publishers Weekly raved that in The Voyage of the Catalpa "...truth may routinely be stranger than fiction, but seldom is it as suspenseful as this story of the 1876 rescue of six Irish rebels from Britain's infamous prison colony in Fremantle, Australia, by the American whaling ship Catalpa."

Stevens lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

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