The Dead March: A History of the Mexican-American War

The Dead March: A History of the Mexican-American War

by Peter Guardino


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Winner of the Distinguished Book Award, Society for Military History
Winner of the Bolton-Johnson Prize, Conference on Latin American History
Winner of the Utley Prize, Western History Association

By focusing on the experiences of ordinary Mexicans and Americans, The Dead March offers a clearer historical picture than we have ever had of the brief, bloody war that redrew the map of North America.

Peter Guardino invites skepticism about the received view that the United States emerged victorious in the Mexican-American War (1846–1848) because its democratic system was more stable and its citizens more loyal. In fact, heading into the war, American forces dramatically underestimated the strength of Mexicans’ patriotism and failed to see how bitterly Mexicans resented America’s claims to national and racial superiority. Having regarded the United States as a sister republic, Mexicans were shocked by the scope of America’s expansionist ambitions, and their fierce resistance surprised U.S. political and military leaders, who had expected a quick victory with few casualties. As the fighting intensified over the course of two years, it claimed the lives of thousands of Americans and at least twice as many Mexicans, including many civilians.

As stark as they were, the misconceptions that the Mexican-American War laid bare on both sides did not determine the final victor. What differentiated the two countries in battle was not some notion of American unity and loyalty to democracy but the United States’ huge advantages in economic power and wealth—advantages its poorer Latin American neighbor could not hope to overcome.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674972346
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 08/28/2017
Pages: 512
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Peter Guardino is Professor in the Department of History at Indiana University.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 The Men Most Damaging to the Population 31

2 We're the Boys for Mexico 71

3 Like Civilized Nations 123

4 Even the Fathers of Families 159

5 Each Chapter We Write in Mexican Blood 203

6 The Yankees Died Like Ants 232

7 The People of the Town Were Firing 264

8 Ashamed of My Country 290

9 The Law of the Strongest 323

Conclusion 350

Abbreviations 371

Notes 373

Illustration Credits 485

Acknowledgments 487

Index 491

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