itpdx's Reviews > A Glorious Defeat: Mexico and Its War with the United States

A Glorious Defeat by Timothy J. Henderson
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's review
Feb 18, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction
Recommended for: politicos, history buffs, and Texans
Read in February, 2009

I read the Patron Saint of Plagues, a sci fi book set in a future Mexico City that is the capital of a country that covers Latin America and part of the current US. It mentioned that the US had taken Mexico City in the past. I had completely forgotten that. I remember the Alamo, but had forgotten the rest of the war that gave the US Texas, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and parts of Colorado and Wyoming, which was 55% of Mexico's land area.

This is a readable account of the war and what lead up to it. The book tells how the differences between England and Spain as colonial powers, and the geographies of the US and Mexico made differences in the countries facing a crisis over the independence of Texas. It was eye opening to me to realize that in the time between independence (1821) and the war (1846), the leadership of Mexico only changed hands peacefully and according to a constitution once. Other changes were by coup, revolts, and other power plays. Some of Mexico's current struggles are still the same. Both countries had bloody civil wars following this one. One issue that both countries were struggling with was race. In the US it was slavery. In Mexico it was the attitude toward the indigenous and mixed race people. The US attitude toward the Mexican "underclass" is shocking and instructive. Both countries were facing the issue of states' rights versus central government control.

This is an excellent book to read to understand Mexico's early independent history; this period of history both in the US and Mexico; and some of the roots of our current relations with Mexico.

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