Gone for Soldiers: A Novel of the Mexican War
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Gone for Soldiers: A Novel of the Mexican War

4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  2,442 ratings  ·  138 reviews
In this stunning, unforgettable novel, Jeff Shaara carries us back thirteen years before the Civil War, when that momentous conflict's most familiar names are fighting for another cause, junior officers marching under the same flag in an unfamiliar land, experiencing combat for the first time in the Mexican-American War.

"BRILLIANT DOES NOT EVEN BEGIN TO DESCRIBE THE SHAARA...more
Paperback, 424 pages
Published July 3rd 2001 by Ballantine Books (first published 2000)
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Vance
Who writes about the Mexican War? Who remembers we even had one? What's really neat about this book is how you get to watch a bunch of famous folks like Lee and Longstreet make their bones in Mexico under one of the more capable generals in American history. Later those guys will fight their friends in the Civil War. Poignant.
Richard
is a novel of the Mexican War. It is based on the facts and the people of the war, but Shaara reports conversations that probably didn’t happen but could have. He reports thoughts of the main characters which he wouldn't know, but they could have happened. So he takes some literary license to write the book but he does a good job of it. I know a lot more about the Mexican War and the battles that took place as well as the men involved. The two main characters are Robert E. Lee, a young captain....more
Jim
One of the best and most simple books on the Mexican American war. Written in the same style as "Killer Angels" and other definitive novels of the civil war, Jeff Sharra brings this conflict to life while also showing the tight and close relationships of many of the officers who ultimately stood across the battlefields from each other during the civil war.

Particularly good on the development of "Stonewall" Jackson and General Robert E. Lee.
Tom Fehringer
Jeff Shaara makes history enjoyable. I thought the writing in this Shaara novel started out a little mechanical but improves throughout the book. Shaara does an excellent job of conveying not just historically important events but also the politically important context for the timeperiod and how the events and politics of the time impacted the personal lives and emotions of those involved. Obviously the personal aspects are Shaara's interpreatation of the historical characters based on his resea...more
Tom Darrow
Solid historical fiction on a little-known or written-about war in US history. Two slight drawbacks... 1) it is in Shaara's formulaic writing style (which isn't, in itself, a bad thing... but it can get stale when you read it a lot), 2) Because he'd written two books about the Civil War, it seems like he's trying a little too hard to fit some of those charcters into the narative.
Robert Clancy
Continuing in the vein of The Killer Angels, Shaara does his fictionalized historical biography on all the prominent Civil War generals who learned their craft in the Mexican-American War of 1846. This account mainly deals with Robert E. Lee and Winfield Scott, but also features Stonewall Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Magruder, Riley, Joseph Johnston and other North-South Adversaries united in one cause - defeat the Mexican dictator Santa Anna, capture Mexico City and quickly win a potentially long...more
Bonnie
This is not my favorite of this author's books and I found it a little hard to get into. Nevertheless, I did like it better as it went along. Part of my problem in getting into it was that I didn't read many pages a day at first. We were on vacation and I was reading another book on my Nook. I brought this book to read going up and down in the plane and to read on the beach where I wouldn't want to bring electronics. When I did read more pages at a time I enjoyed it more.

I felt that occasionall...more
Paul Callister
Nice historical novel and account of how Robert E. Lee first proved himself, with many other figures who would be come prominent in the Civil War.
Shawn
Least favorite of his novels. Not as gripping and now his style has gotten tired.
Scott Wilson
This book was particularly interesting to me not because of any interest in the Mexican-American war. I mean, let's face it, it was nothing more than a shameless land grab from the Mexicans, fueled by Manifest Destiny; and the fact that slavery was illegal in Mexico, and ranchers in Texas wanted slaves. There's no way to spin that, so we just ignore the war in its entirety.

What makes this novel so interesting is the interplay, respect, and even friendship among fellow officers serving side by si...more
Ed
Feb 15, 2014 Ed rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those wanting to learn more about the Mexican-American War
This very well done historical novel presents a rare detailed look at the Mexican-American War. It covers the period from the arrival of the U.S. expeditionary force off the Mexican Coast at Vera Cruz to the signing of the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo and the return of the troops to the U.S.

Shaara's technique is somewhat unique. Each chapter is dedicated to a specific U.S. combatant mostly Robert E. Lee, at that time a 40 year old engineer and Winfield Scott, Commander-in-chief of the U.S.Army an...more
Steven Peterson
In this work, Jeff Shaara explores the development of America's officer cadre in the Mexican War. Many Civil War generals got their first major wartime experience in this event. Indeed, Jefferson Davis, future President of the Confederate States of America, gained some renown for his use of a particular formation in battle.

The two major protagonists in this story are "Old Fuss and Feathers," General Winfield Scott, and a trusted engineering officer, the redoubtable Captain Robert E. Lee. Over a...more
Thomas
Click here for a full Gone For Soldiers Review

The Mexican-American War is one of the least understood and most underestimated conflicts in American history. Its roots are often muddled in rhetoric and its conclusion was as much because of a giant payoff as it was about a military victory. It is often remembered as a bully’s war that was instigated by Manifest Destiny. But one thing is for certain: it is this war that gave first blood to military leaders that would become household names after th...more
Ken Hunt
Love historical fiction, and have always enjoyed Jeff Shaara. Gone for Soldiers helps explore a seemingly rarely studied event, the Mexican American War. This rarity is odd given how rich this event and historical period is to explore. Amazing how many prominent Civil War leaders from both sides, fought side by side as American during this war. Also, serves as a reminder that our generation did not invent petty political polarization that drives irrational decisions and waste of lives to save fa...more
Philip
Wow, what a surprise! This was just an excellent book, far more enjoyable than Gods and Generals, which was the only previous Jeff Shaara book I read, and which paled in comparison to his father's The Killer Angels. However, Shaara Jr. has become a better writer, and in taking on the Mexico City Campaign of the Mexican-American War, he found a new conflict that hasn't been overworked before, but which proves to be a brilliant prequel to the "Civil War Trilogy," introducing many of the same chara...more
Donna
I was teaching history, but I always skipped the war between the US and Mexico. There was more curriculum than I could rightfully cover during the school year, and this was my favorite war to skip. It seemed dull as dirt, and there was no real righteousness behind it, as there had been with the American Revolution and the American Civil War. I left it out until large numbers of Latino students moved into my district. Suddenly, instead of mostly Asian kids, I had mostly Latino kids...and the Engl...more
Shane Saxon
Jeff Shaara’s ability as a dramatic story teller combines with his careful attention to historical detail to produce one fantastic read in Gone for Soldiers. Shaara has spent most of his life reconstructing history bringing many of America’s greatest sons to life. In Gone for Soldiers, we follow the story line of the Mexican War from the battle of Vera Cruz to the occupation of Mexico City. Teachers and historians often breeze over this three year scuffle over the borders of Texas, but Shaara sh...more
Ryan
Another great work by Jeff Shaara. Concerns Gen. Winfield Scott’s march to Mexico City in the US-Mexican War (1847-1848) and the multiple battles fought during that march. Seen mainly through the eyes and thoughts of Scott and R.E. Lee, along with other key players, including Santa Anna. Also details the myriad of promient US military leaders and personalities who were involved in the Mexican war (Lee, Grant, Johnston, Stonewall Jackson, Beaureguard), and later the War Between the States (1861-6...more
Brian
A rarely visited subject that contains such irony--namely, the fighting of the Mexican-American war 13 years prior to the Civil War, however with opposing generals from the latter war on the same side in the former, working together.

Overall, an entertaining read, mostly on the basis of its subject matter. Shaara does a good job of transplanting you into that time period, when Manifest Destiny was a fresh idea (making more sense than it does now), when the consequences of one's actions were more...more
Mike
I had forgotten how much I enjoy reading Shaara's books. This is the fourth of his that I have read, and I really like how he approaches historical fiction. This book covers the little discussed Mexican War and follow Shaara's trademarked style of having each chapter told from the perspective of an historical figure. The majority of chapters in this book are done through Winfield Scott and Robert E. Lee, with a few chapters at the end (dealing with the attack on Mexico City) being told through t...more
Tyler Lee
When was the last time you read a book about the Mexican-American War or even remembered one actually happened? Did you know many of the men in said war would become some of the biggest names during the Civil War (i.e. Robert E. Lee)? If those questions grab your interest, this book is for you. Jeff Shaara does an amazing job of creating the setting and adding every vivid detail we have come to know from him. This is a wonderful book and I hope you read it.
Debra
Although the reading was dry in style, the material was fabulous. It was great watching men who are renown for their roles in the Civil War begin their military careers. The commentaries on war and politics throughout the novel were also fascinating. A period in American history that tends to get glossed over, Shaara does a great job of bringing it to light and placing much significance on its role in conflicts to come.
Roberta
Such ANGST! Robert E. Lee was an engineer who graduated from West Point. Why does he sound like a 15-year-old girl? And why does he keep blushing for gods sake?

Another reviewer recommends The Class of 1846: From West Point to Appomattox: Stonewall Jackson, George McClellan, and Their Brothers which sounds worth pursuing.

Sticking with fiction, you could get more than enough of the same general time period from The Gates of the Alamo and more fun (with less angst) in The Borderland.
Dick Gullickson
This book is Jeff Shaara’s fascinating prequel to the civil war. It follows the new West Point graduates, Indian War veterans, and middle aged soldiers destined to become the heros of the civil war. The book focuses especially on Captain Robert E. Lee as a (relatively) young engineer assigned to Winfield Scott’s staff as Scott marches to Mexico City. Lee’s later emergence as the key civil war strategist and leader for the Confederates is foreshadowed in this excellent book as he leads scouting t...more
Adam
Outstanding interpretation of the war generally skipped in history classes. Winfield Scott leads the march into Mexico City in an effort to once and for all put an end to the territory disputes in Texas and the American Southwest. Scott brings with him a team of fresh West Point graduates that will fifteen years later become the legendary Civil War generals for both the Union and the Confederacy. The experiences of Robert E Lee is who we read the most about. In this book Lee is a middle of the r...more
Alex Hsia
Robert E. Lee, Ulysses Grant, Longstreet, Beaugard, and many other famous names from the civil war go back 15 years when these junior officers marched under the same banner. Except to Mexico City. Winfield Scott the aged general, a veteran from the war of 1812 is in command of this 8,000 man expedition. His adversary is the battle-hardened dictator General Santa Anna. While Winfield Scott plans out the route of invasion from Vera Cruz to Mexico City, a engineer named Robert E. Lee faces the war...more
Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com
I have read all of Mr. Shaara's novels, this one is a bit below them since it does not flow as smooth, and I got the feeling that he took too much "liberties" with the characters. There is no way for us to know exactly what was said, and who was thinking what, but I felt he went a little beyond his "Gods and Generals", and "The Last Full Measure" being much more free with historical characters.
Mr. Shaara did justice to General Scott, who to this day does not get the credit he deserved, but I thi...more
Rick
Another excellent book from Jeff Shaara; this one telling the story of The Mexican War. The book focuses primarily on Gen. Winfield Scott, who was in charge of teh Army at this time, and Captain Robert E. Lee who played such an instrumental role in helping to win this war,and who would of course go on 13 years later to lead the Confederacy in their losing cause. I've read several of Shaara's books and I think what I like so much about them is that it's history that reads like a novel. Of course,...more
David
This book is nicely focused. It is subtilted as a novel of the Mexican-American War, but it is actually entirely focused on the Vera Cruz-Mexico City campaign of General Winfield Scott. The novel does a great job on bringing out contemporary parallels to the politics and divided opinions of the citizens on supporting the war. It also introduces some characters who first gained experience and glory in this war, and would become famous in the Civil War, notably Robert E. Lee, Thomas "Stonewall" Ja...more
Joy Wilson
Once again Shaara has given us great insight not only to the battles waged, but the personalities involved. He does a marvelous job of rendering these famous military leaders as complex people with emotions both virtuous and petty. It is rare to find an author who truly helps you understand the thoughts and motivations of historic leaders. Although this novel is about a little understood war in our history as a country, it is a war that forged many of the leaders of the Civil war and as such, re...more
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Jeff Shaara, a descendant of Italian immigrants, was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey ("Shaara" was originally spelled "Sciarra"). He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University with a degree in Criminology. From age 16, Jeff operated a rare coin business, first out of his home, then in a retail store. After moving to Tampa, Jeff became one of the most widely know...more
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