Eisenhower, John S. D. So Far From God: The U. S. War with Mexico 1846 – 1848. New York: Random House, 1989, xxvi, 436.
Mr. John Eisenhower is a retired Army General from Westchester, Pennsylvania. He is also the son of retired General and later President, Dwight D. Eisehower. He is an author as well as a military historian. Mr. Eisenhower’s other works include, The Bitter Woods, published in 1987 and critically acclaimed by Life magazine author, S. L. A. Marshall as being “written with power by a true military historian.” Reviews of his work from The New Yorker and New York Times Book Review describe his accounts as “Exceptionally interesting” and “Written with enthusiasm that is hard to resist.” Using his military background, Mr. Eisenhower was able to bring an unbiased opinion to the U. S. war with Mexico by pointing out strengths and weaknesses on both sides of the conflict.
The author’s purpose is to provide a more accurate account of the war with Mexico from 1846 – 1848. Mr. Eisenhower also attempts to give the reader a better understanding of the conflict between these two countries, which has been overshadowed by the Civil War, thirteen years later. John Eisenhower’s portrayal of the officers and politicians in this conflict is detailed and it highlights the early careers of many of our Civil War legends. The technology of warfare at this time is well depicted. The advances in American artillery such as the use of the grape shot over canister rounds, the superior distance and accuracy, and methods of deployment made up for the fact that during every inland battle the U. S. was outnumbered. The level of discipline that Taylor and Scott’s men possessed stands as a testament to these two leaders’ resourcefulness. By including something as simple as sanitation in their training, they were able to conserve the additional strength for battle, which would have normally been lost through disease. This concept was considerably less effective with the volunteers. A clear and concise understanding of why as well as how many of the events took place on the battlefield and behind the lines was provided through maps and background information. A detailed description of the events that lead up to the annexation of Texas in 1845 through the troops departing Veracruz on July 15th 1848 allowed the reader to comprehend the entire story of this conflict.
The author provides background into the events leading up to the war, particularly the collapse, imprisonment, and exile of Santa Anna. Events and key personnel on the American side are also outlined in detail. President Tyler...