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The Mexican-American War (Living Through. . .) Paperback – February 1, 2012
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I recently was on the lookout for a book on the Mexican-American War - a conflict that still has some present day repercussions and one that I think is generally ignored in most history programs but shouldn't be! Living Through the Mexican-American War by John DiConsiglio does a great job of presenting this conflict as well as other related stories covering the years 1821-1849. The book itself is colorful and has a nice layout. There is a mix of maps, photos, illustrations and colored sidebars that bring some visual interest to the pages. I like the added touch of the "burnt/worn" edges look on each page. It's details like this that set this particular book above the rest I've looked at for this topic.
Even though it's 80 pages long, Living Through the Mexican-American War is a fairly quick read that shouldn't take your students more than a day or two to finish. Or, if you prefer to use it as a read-aloud, you can easily get through it in a week.
All throughout the book more difficult words and terms are presented in bold and defined via a glossary in the back. Here are a few examples:
If you like to combine assignments, it would be super-easy to pick out words your student isn't familiar with and assign them for vocabulary study.
Based on the vocabulary and the writing style, I'd say this book targets the upper elementary to middle school age bracket, although I think it's perfectly appropriate for high schoolers as well. Even I learned a thing or two after reading it and it's written/presented in such a way that I think most students will retain most of it.
There is also a small "Find Out More" section in the back with a list of books, websites and DVD's to explore, if interested.
I feel the book does a good job at presenting both sides of the Mexican-American War. It gives you a great understanding of the circumstances surrounding it from various perspectives and not only gives an overview of incidents like the Battle of the Alamo but various sections cover some of the people involved and topics like weaponry and hardships. There is even a section about Sarah Borginnis "The Heroine of Fort Brown" so girls don't have to feel too left out amidst all the battle-talk.
The Mexican-American War happened because of a variety of factors and if affected different people in a variety of ways. Living Through the Mexican-American War doesn't shy away from these topics and yet covers them in an age-appropriate way. Portions of the book cover various interesting facts about things like yellow fever, deserters, Irish immigrants, the Donner Party and more. It's written in a way that shows your students how all of these different things were connected. I like that.
After reading through the book I've decided it's a winner! It's an excellent resource that should help any student learn about this important part of our nation's history.
*Note: I received this book for free through Netgalley. However, my review was not in anyway influenced by this fact.