Eagles and Empire
Eagles and Empire
The United States, Mexico, and the Struggle for a Continent
Bantam, Hardcover, 9780553806526, 624pp.
Publication Date: July 28, 2009
A war that started under questionable pretexts. A president who is convinced of his country’s might and right. A military and political stalemate with United States troops occupying a foreign land against a stubborn and deadly insurgency.
The time is the 1840s. The enemy is Mexico. And the war is one of the least known and most important in both Mexican and United States history—a war that really began much earlier and whose consequences still echo today. Acclaimed historian David A. Clary presents this epic struggle for a continent for the first time from both sides, using original Mexican and North American sources.
To Mexico, the yanqui illegals pouring into her territories of Texas and California threatened Mexican sovereignty and security. To North Americans, they manifested their destiny to rule the continent. Two nations, each raising an eagle as her standard, blustered and blundered into a war because no one on either side was brave enough to resist the march into it.
In Eagles and Empire, Clary draws vivid portraits of the period’s most fascinating characters, from the cold-eyed, stubborn United States president James K. Polk to Mexico’s flamboyant and corrupt general-president-dictator Antonio López de Santa Anna; from the legendary and ruthless explorer John Charles Frémont and his guide Kit Carson to the “Angel of Monterey” and the “Boy Heroes” of Chapultepec; from future presidents such as Benito Juárez and Zachary Taylor to soldiers who became famous in both the Mexican and North American civil wars that soon followed. Here also are the Irish Soldiers of Mexico and the Yankee sailors of two squadrons, hero-bandits and fighting Indians of both nations, guerrilleros and Texas Rangers, and some amazing women soldiers.
From the fall of the Alamo and harrowing marches of thousands of miles in the wilderness to the bloody, dramatic conquest of Mexico City and the insurgency that continued to resist, this is a riveting narrative history that weaves together events on the front lines—where Indian raids, guerrilla attacks, and atrocities were matched by stunning acts of heroism and sacrifice—with battles on two home fronts—political backstabbing, civil uprisings, and battle lines between Union and Confederacy and Mexican Federalists and Centralists already being drawn. The definitive account of a defining war, Eagles and Empire is page-turning history—a book not to be missed.
David A. Clary, former chief historian of the US Forest Service, is the author of Adopted Son: Washington, Lafayette, and the Friendship That Saved the Revolution. He has been a consultant to government agencies and has taught history at the university level. He lives in Roswell, New Mexico with his wife, Beatriz.
“A lively history.”—Kirkus