This book by Otis A. Singletary deals with different aspects of the Mexican war. It is a compelling description and concise history of the first successful offensive war in United States military history. The work examines two countries that were unprepared for war. The political intrigues and quarrels in appointing the military commanders, as well as the military operations of the war, are presented and analyzed in detail. The author also analyzes the role that the Mexican War played in bringing on the U.S. Civil War.
The Mexican-American War of the 1840s, precipitated by border disputes and the U.S. annexation of Texas, ended with the military occupation of Mexico City by General Winfield Scott. In the subsequent treaty, the United States gained territory that would become California, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and parts of Wyoming and Colorado.
Mr. Singletary has been remarkably successful, despite the brevity of his book, in describing with important details the Mexican War. The book can be break into two main parts. The first part gives background which explains different reasons that played a decisive role for the break out of the war, and it relates the different campaigns that allowed the invasion of northern Mexico and the city of Mexico. The second half of the book deals with the way politician and generals behave during the war, and the book ends touching the role played by diplomacy in this war.
The book has been organized in chronological order, which gives to the readers the opportunity to follow the events of the war without confusion. But it is not only a mere account of dates and events, because it explains briefly but concisely every decision making before the occurring of battle.
The book uses maps and pictures. Maps and pictures are really helpful in visualizing what is being described, and they allow having and idea of how it was during this war.
The book is simple and easy to read. The author has a good use of English language. He uses specific words, therefore making his book highly readable.
The book not only give facts that can be found in any history book that deals with this period of American history (1840s), but it also makes the reader appreciate a war that has been undermined by another very popular war, the Civil war. It explains that the annexation of Texas was not the only reason for going into war; since there were other factors that motivated Americans anger towards Mexican military which set the stage for conflict. the annexation of Texas was merely the immediate cause of hostilities. This gives readers another perspective about the war.
Furthermore, Singletary does a great job in describing how politic interest affected the war greatly. For example Taylors desire for politic advancement, and how president Polk try to
Writer Joseph Chance stated the following: Otis Singletary’s The Mexican War is a concise and excellent overview of the war. Its greatest strength is the way it brings the personalities and personal conflicts to life. It provides great insight into the way politics intruded upon the prosecution of the war (22).
In conclusion, this book has been very informative and easy to read. It is recommendable for all persons that wish to appreciate the Mexican war and to have a better understanding of how it influenced in American history.
Otis A. Singletary. The Mexican War. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press: 1960. 1-168.
Joseph E. Chance, the Mexican War Journal of Captain Franklin Chance (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 1991), 22.