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A Glorious Defeat: Mexico and Its War with…
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A Glorious Defeat: Mexico and Its War with the United States

by Timothy J. Henderson

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In A Glorious Defeat: Mexico and its War with the United States (Hill and Wang, 2007) historian Timothy Henderson provides a good general introduction to the roots and causes of the U.S.-Mexican War. Examining the issues largely and effectively from the Mexican perspective, Henderson distills the weaknesses in Mexico's post-independence political, social and economic systems which, he argues, forced the country into war with its northern neighbor.

The military conflict we know as the Mexican War takes up just twenty pages toward the end of this 190-page book; the vast majority of the text treats the major and widening differences between the United States and Mexico in the early decades of the nineteenth century (in 1800, Henderson states, total income in the U.S. was twice Mexico's; by 1845 it was thirteen times greater, pg. 18). Continuous political and military upheaval in Mexico from independence in the early 1820s through the late 1840s and beyond contributed greatly to the instability which led to war, Henderson maintains, as did Mexico's inability to maintain its control over the region of its territory we now know as Texas.

After Texas' annexation by the United States in 1845, Henderson argues, "peace was an entirely sensible but politicially ruinous proposition" (pg. 150). Provoked into a war the nation could not win (a conclusion Henderson believes was held by most Mexicans), Mexico's leaders concluded that "desperate glory of death on the battlefield seemed preferable to the ignominy and compromise of surrender" (pg. 191).

A solid book, concise and readable. Decent footnotes and a good list for further reading.

http://philobiblos.blogspot.com/2007/07/book-review-glorious-defeat.html ( )
1 vote JBD1 | Jul 7, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0809061201, Hardcover)

The war that was fought between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 was a major event in the history of both countries: it cost Mexico half of its national territory, opened western North America to U.S. expansion, and brought to the surface a host of tensions that led to devastating civil wars in both countries. Among generations of Latin Americans, it helped to cement the image of the United States as an arrogant, aggressive, and imperialist nation, poisoning relations between a young America and its southern neighbors.
 
In contrast with many current books that treat the war as a fundamentally American experience, Timothy J. Henderson offers a fresh perspective on the Mexican side of the equation. Examining the manner in which Mexico gained independence, Henderson brings to light a greater understanding of that country’s intense factionalism and political paralysis leading up to and through the war. Also touching on a range of topics from culture, ethnicity, religion, and geography, this comprehensive yet concise narrative humanizes the conflict and serves as the perfect introduction for new readers of Mexican history.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:04:48 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Why Mexico Went To War With The United States. The war that was fought between the United States and Mexico from 1846 to 1848 was a major event in the history of both countries: it cost Mexico half of its national territory, opened western North America to U.S. expansion, and brought to the surface a host of tensions that led to devastating civil wars in both countries. Among generations of Latin Americans, it helped to cement the image of the United States as an arrogant, aggressive, and imperialist nation, poisoning relations between a young America and its southern neighbors. In contrast with many current books that treat the war as a fundamentally American experience, Timothy J. Henderson offers a fresh perspective on the Mexican side of the equation. Examining the manner in which Mexico gained independence, Henderson brings to light a greater understanding of that country's intense factionalism and political paralysis leading up to and through the war. Also touching on a range of topics from culture, ethnicity, religion, and geography, this comprehensive yet concise narrative humanizes the conflict and serves as the perfect introduction for new readers of Mexican history.… (more)

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