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Kearny's March: The Epic Creation of the American West, 1846-1847
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Kearny's March: The Epic Creation of the American West, 1846-1847

3.93  ·  Rating Details ·  152 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
In June 1846, General Stephen Watts Kearny rode out of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, with two thousand soldiers, bound for California. At the time, the nation was hell-bent on expansion: James K. Polk had lately won the presidency by threatening England over the borders in Oregon, while Congress had just voted, in defiance of the Mexican government, to annex Texas. After ...more
Hardcover, 310 pages
Published November 8th 2011 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2011)
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Jerome
Nov 01, 2015 Jerome rated it really liked it
A brisk and human history of Kearny’s famous march from Kansas to California. Groom describes Kearny’s conquest of Santa Fe, his trek for California, and the bloody Taos revolt. All of this happens, of course, as Zachary Taylor moves down the Rio Grande and Commodore Stockton runs into fiasco on the California coast, and John Frémont heads into California, President Polk attempts to figure out the situation in Mexico City, the Mormons trek to Utah, Doniphan’s march begins, and the Donner Party ...more
Sweetwilliam
Jun 23, 2014 Sweetwilliam rated it it was amazing
The author Winston Groom said he was motivated to write this book because the United States gained more territory over the course of 1846-1847 than at any other two years in our Nation’s history. I feel that the title “Kearny’s March” is a bit misleading. The book also chronicles many more marches during the Mexican War. The March of Zachary Taylor through Palo Alto and Monterrey Mexico; Winfield Scott’s campaign to capture Mexico City; Freemont’s March through California; the Mormon Battalion; ...more
Doug
Nov 27, 2011 Doug rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed Winston Groom's Kearney's March. Let me give you an idea why. I was reading a pretty darn good novel at the same time but it was Kearney's March that I just couldn't put down. Mr. Groom writes history like telling a great story, which shouldn't come as a surprise from the man who also gave us Forest Gump. This book is the story of the fulfillment of Manifest Destiny during the years 1846-47. It begins with President Polk's dream of a country that spans the continent that is ...more
Tony
Jul 16, 2013 Tony rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
KEARNEY’S MARCH: The Epic Creation of the American West, 1846-1847. (2011). Winston Groom. ****.
This is a popular history account of the various activities that were going on in the American West during these two turbulent years. Although the author (best known for his novel, “Forrest Gump”) focuses his title on Kearney, he also explores contemporary events involving Fremont, the Mormons, the Donner Party, and several others. This was a time, under the presidency of Polk, that America was in an
...more
Adam Shafer
Dec 06, 2016 Adam Shafer rated it it was ok
“The fact is that Mexico stood in the way of the American dream of Manifest Destiny. It is best left to the scholars and pundits to argue the morality or rightness of it.”

The above excerpt from the book is exactly the problem I have with the book: Its refusal to ask and examine that question rather than simply recount– in strenuous, boring detail– the military movements of American Manifest Destiny. It's written without passion or insight.

I really think Groom got halfway through writing about t
...more
Cynthia
Dec 02, 2016 Cynthia rated it liked it
Not as good as the author's "El Paso" or Michener's Centennial, but still a good history of the west.
Gaylord Dold
Sep 19, 2014 Gaylord Dold rated it liked it
Englund, Peter. The Beauty and the Sorrow: An Intimate History of the First World War (tr. Peter Graves), Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2011 (540pp.$35)

Groom, Winston. Kearny’s March: The Epic Creation of the American West 1846-47, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2011 (310pp.$27.95)

Knopf has just published two very different books about two very different wars. Each in its own way is a lasting contribution to history and to the general reader’s understanding of both war itself and the impact conflict ha
...more
David Madden
Jan 12, 2013 David Madden rated it it was amazing
Winston Groom conducts his readers upon seven more marches than General Kearny’s, all related to events leading into the Mexican-American war. An historical work obviously written to appeal to the general reader in the tradition of Shelby Foote’s Civil War narrative, Kearny’s March tells vitally related stories that appeal to the emotions, the imagination, and the intellect.

Groom first sets in motion “the most famous man in America,” U. S. Captain John Charles Fremont, “the Pathfinder,” on his t
...more
Andrew
May 21, 2013 Andrew rated it it was amazing
The sub-title sounds overstated but one may consider it understated when you realize that in a two-year period the U.S. added all of the territory that connected the country to the Pacific Ocean. First during the Polk Administration was the addition of the Oregon Territory in negotiation with England. Then, the Mexican-American war added California, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.

Groom tells the story well, which is no surprise for the author of "Forrest Gump." Here it is done with a mix of char
...more
Eric
Apr 06, 2012 Eric rated it it was amazing
First, the title is misleading. Rather than covering Kearny's March alone, it covers a John Fremont, Doniphen, the Donner Party and more. What the book is really about is westward expansion and build up to the United States taking California. It's far more than just Gen Kearny marching across the Southwest.

Second, I didn't want this book to end. It was fascinating. As others have commented, it reads like an epic novel.

I had a few things to be nitpicky about but overall the book was excellent. I
...more
Stephen
May 23, 2016 Stephen rated it liked it
Shelves: good-reads, _garbage
Overall Assessment: Good Read

Commentary:
Kearny's March The Epic Creation of the American West 18461847 is to some extent mis-titled. It's true point is more that the events of 1846-1847 - as viewed through the lens of the Mexican-American war and the annexation of California - were pivotal in the United States' conception of itself, and to the onset of the American Civil War (the addition of new territories exposed unbreachable gaps in the slave/non-slave debate and the Mexican War itself the bl
...more
Dennis
Nov 19, 2012 Dennis rated it really liked it
This is a well-written history by novelist Winston Groom of Forrest Gump fame. Although it has the title 'Kearny's March' it covers two separate historical events: the Donner party debacle and in brief, the migration of the Mormons from the midwest to the Salt Lake area. In conjunction with Kearney's march to Sante Fe and then on to conquor California, is John Fremont's expedition to California. In reality this is a history of the southwest in the later half of th 1840's. therefore a better, ...more
Douglas
Mar 20, 2014 Douglas rated it really liked it
This is a spritely narrative of the great opening of the American West. Added greatly to my perspective of those pivotal times. Glad I already read 'A Country of Grand Designs', Ordeal By Hunger and Jeff Shaara's 'Gone For Soldiers'. I read on the recommendation of my brother the military historian to get greater perspective on the Mormon Battalion. I appreciated seeing their march in the context of the whole of the effort to extend American influence and attain the 'Manifest Destiny'. Not ...more
David
Mar 29, 2012 David rated it it was amazing
This was an extremely interesting historical narrative on both the United State's westward expansion with triggered the Mexican War. The book focuses on the operations that took US troops into what is now New Mexico, Arizona and California. Some of the conquests were easy, some were tragically bloody. But, it shows a period in our country where expansion was the primary goal, regardless if it was by violent means or financial means. The book also focuses on the ill fated Donner party and their ...more
Nan Williams
Jul 27, 2016 Nan Williams rated it really liked it
Another bird's eye view of a little known or appreciated year in our history. The scope of the book is as vast as the scope of American Manifest Destiny. The book covers about 7 different actual events or marches that just happened at (roughly) the same time and all climaxed to bring about the westward expansion. A wonderful telling of the history and showing how these different events/marches worked together.

This is what Winston Groom does best (other than his novels, of course).

Not a fast read
...more
Steven
May 13, 2012 Steven rated it really liked it
Gen Kearney was one of those men at the right time and at the right place. While the US expansion into the territory west of the 100th meridian has been mocked recently this book points out that no one was there. Spain occupied the West merely as way points with its lucrative Manila galleon trade with the Far Easy and Mexico was so riven by chaos after its revolution from Spain that it could not exploit the patrimony given it. One of the Great Powers would have seized this land sooner or later.
Thomas Isern
Jun 28, 2012 Thomas Isern rated it liked it
Shelves: great-plains
There are some of the usual issues with this sort of popular history: inability to use quotations correctly, habitual anachronism, that sort of thing. The book has sweep, because of its subject, but the narrative lines are not well meshed. I don't see why the Donner-party line is in the work at all, except for sensation. The basic problem, though, is that the author has nothing original to say about the events recounted.
Robert
Mar 17, 2013 Robert rated it really liked it
I really liked this book. It is the second book by Winston Groom I have read in a few weeks and I was interested throughout. The subject is the seizure of the American west during the Mexican-American war, as well as the movement of the Mormon's west to Utah, the tragic push of the Donner party west into the snowy Sierra Nevada, and more. The book is not overly long or complicated. But well done in my opinion and so interesting, I read it in a relatively short time.
Frode
Sep 09, 2013 Frode rated it really liked it
Groom is a good writer who has nice expression and works in quotes from original materials seamlessly. The period is exciting and pivotal, especially for me since I live in the West. It is a good look at a period in American history that brings in a number of human interest stories and small battles to fill out one's understanding of the times. I grew up in the area of Santa Barbara and heard stories of Fremont and his men as a child. Ah, history and its connections to life!
Laura
Oct 30, 2015 Laura rated it really liked it
Groom has written a well-researched, readable account of America's movement west in the mid-1800s. His use of excerpts and quotes from primary sources make the brave explorers and pioneers of this period come alive for the reader. I especially liked the excerpts from the diary of a young newly married wife who made the journey west with her soldier husband. He discusses the politics of the time and reminds the reader how westward expansion increased the tensions that led to the Civil War.
Carey
Sep 30, 2012 Carey rated it it was amazing
The worst thing I can say about this book is that I wish I'd never read it. That way I could read it again and it would be new. Groom's excellent prose and talent for popular history definitely hit a high water mark with this title. This will be the book I measure the rest of his nonfiction works against.
Fredrick Danysh
Dec 24, 2015 Fredrick Danysh rated it liked it
Shelves: history
Kearny's March covers the Mexican American War with details of events and people leading up to it in present day New Mexico, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California. It presents a different view of the war.
Don
May 06, 2012 Don rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2012
This isn't a long book, but Groom packs a lot of information into his crisp narrative about several important events that shaped America and the west. He covers the origins of California, the Mexican war, the Donner party all spiced with huge characters like John C. Fremont and Zachary Taylor.
Robert
Jun 13, 2012 Robert rated it really liked it
This is a very interesting viewpoint of America's westward expsnsion during the period of the Mexican War. Especially strong on the various actions north of Mexico (Kearny's expedition, the Donner party disaster, the takeover of California, etc.). Well worth reading.
Joanne
Dec 22, 2011 Joanne rated it liked it
I have read lots of history books, but didn't know anything about how we acquired California and New Mexico, or the politics of the times. And more than I want wanted to know about the Donner Party!!
David Brown
Like all of his non-fiction works, Winston Groom is an excellent story-teller. Easy reading and entertaining. I found it particularly interesting since it deals with an area of our country were I was raised and currently live.
Tom Foreman
May 27, 2012 Tom Foreman rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history


If you live in AZ or CA you will like this as it validates the history of the place names and landmarks we see every day. It's also an exciting tale.
Richard
Oct 29, 2015 Richard rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this History that is neither sugar coated nor mired in present day PC bull. Interested things to learn all the way through
John Fulcoly
Jun 11, 2016 John Fulcoly rated it liked it
Good exposure to this period of history and enjoyed that. Not as smooth reading as Groom's other books.
Tom
May 05, 2013 Tom rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2013-books-read
Groom's telling of the conquering of California and New Mexico adds to what I'd already read about Kit Carson and the Santa Fe trail. Groom has a chatty style that's quite readable.
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Winston Groom is an American novelist and non-fiction writer, best known for his book Forrest Gump, which was adapted into a film in 1994. Groom was born in Washington, D.C., but grew up in Mobile, Alabama where he attended University Military School (now known as UMS-Wright Preparatory School). He attended the University of Alabama, where he was a member of Delta Tau Delta and the Army ROTC, and ...more
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