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

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  2,898 ratings  ·  153 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.

Paperback, 424 pages
Published July 3rd 2001 by Ballantine Books (first published 2000)
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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.
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
Kevin Symmons
Somehow as has happened in the past with my reviews I hit the wrong key and lost 30 minutes worth of work so as my patience evaporates I'll summarize my thoughts. I found Michael Shaara's work exceptional. But it's difficult to argue with a Pulitzer Prize winner. I have read several of his son novels and fail to find it as inspiring. The younger Shaara has a tendency to slide into endless internal monologue to advance the plot... problem is we have no idea as to the accuracy of what Robert E. Le ...more
This interesting study of the expedition led by General Winfield Scott into Mexico from Veracruz to Mexico City highlights the role played by Captain Robert E. Lee as an engineer and strategist working under the careful, prudent command of General Scott. The string of victories by Scott's army from Veracruz to Mexico City during March to September 1847 would seem in general history books to be little more than an effortless march into the interior of Mexico and gain of immense lands comprising m ...more
The Mexican War, 1847-1848 -- something I know little about. I was impressed with Shaara's strong sense of politics and the difficulties it makes for the military. Politicians who have agendas of their own (and that's probably too many of them) have little or no understanding of military principle in this historical narrative. President James K. Polk used his generals and his political underlings cavalierly, tossing them under the train when they cease their viability to his plan, which puts the ...more
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.
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
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.
Ian Sullivan
The Mexican War is an often overlooked, yet critical aspect of US history. Shaara's "Gone for Soldiers" does an excellent job telling the story of that war through the eyes of such luminaries as Winfield Scott, Robert E. Lee, Santa Anna, and others. I found the characters fascinating, namely as they struggled to rectify the nature of the war, from a political sense, with the nature of warfare. It is a telling lesson on one's duty; to nation, commander, and colleague. This book spoke to me in uni ...more
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
A wonderful description of the Mexican War. As an historical novel, he incorporates dialog which obviously can't be totally accurate, allows for an entertaining read. I wasn't familiar with the Mexican War as the author states is frequently the case because the war is overshadowed by the soon to come Civil War.
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
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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
More about Jeff Shaara...
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