Great story! I was not familiar with the Mexican War in such detail before. As with all of Jeff Shaara's books, he makes reading history very interesting!
Great book about the Mexican war and how most of the people involved went on to fight on seperate sides in the civil war.
I've read excerpts from this and other Shaara works (by both the father & the son). Outstanding works but so descriptive that I had trouble following the scenes as they changed from one story to another. One must really have an eye for detail and already be very familiar w/ Civil War commanders, the Mexican War, and the history of the period.
The veteran major-general Winfield Scott and an upstart Robert E. Lee anchor Gone for Soldiers. Headstrong, brilliant, and generally distrustful of his less able subordinates, Scott leads the U.S. troops slowly and inevitably toward Mexico City, imparting martial lessons along the way. "The worst consequence of fighting a war is not if you lose, Mr. Lee," he sighs. "The worst thing you can do is win badly." Lee distinguishes himself throughout the campaign, his meticulous scouting and shrewd inferences winning both Scott's admiration and the jealousy of officers whose ambition surpasses their experience. Lee, too, frequently assesses his place in the hierarchy, but he--like Scott--remains more bemused than seduced by the glitter of fame.
This sympathy between the two men grows as Lee observes Scott embroiled in the distracting politics of war: officers salivating for promotion, enemies more preoccupied with saving face than lives, distant legislators issuing directives. If Gone for Soldiers occasionally bogs down during its many lengthy battle scenes, unexpected and delightful small touches arise nearly as often--the "capture" of Mexican leader Santa Anna's wooden leg or the chance encounter between Lee and a young Ulysses S. Grant. Duty-bound and humble, Lee cultivates a perpetual stoicism. "Now we're out here in some place God may not want us to be. It's hard to believe He is happy watching us fight a war," he muses, a sobering coda to the grim calculations of victory.
Typical Jeff Shaara book. Excelent in every way. Should be read before his civil war novels bot good at any point.
If you like Jeff Shaara don't miss reading this one which is an excellent narrative history of an unknown war told only as Jeff can tell it in his very readable style.
"With his acclaimed New York Times bestsellers Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure, Jeff Shaara expanded upon his father's Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War classic, The Killer Angels--ushering the reader through the poignant drama of this most bloody chapter in our history.
Now, in Gone for Soldiers, Jeff Shaara carries us back fifteen years before that momentous conflict, when the Civil War'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.
In vivid, brilliant prose that illuminates the dark psychology of soldiers and their commanders trapped behind enemy lines, Jeff Shaara brings to life the haunted personalities and magnificent backdrop, the familiar characters, the stunning triumphs and soul-crushing defeats of this fascinating, long-forgotten war. Gone for Soldiers is an extraordinary achievement that will remain with you long after the final page is turned." amazon
This is both fact neatly entwined with fiction. It is a classic recount of the Mexican-American War. Led by General Winfield Scott, many of the lower ranking officers will see duty in the Civil War, prominent among them are Lee, Grant, Johnston, Jackson, Beauregard, Longstreet, Shields, and Magruder. This is well worth reading as a prelude to Gods and Generals.
My husband read this one and said it was ok. He was expecting more from the book.
A story wrapped around a war you already know some things about. A cast of characters that you know well. And yet, you find out you really didn't know anything about this "war" against Mexico. Many of the historical people that you know so well actually weren't always enemies but contemporaries and even friends caught up in a "situation" brought about by politics and greed. And, even better, it works so very well. Through very real historical facts sprinkled in the stories (I'm reading all of them), Jeff Shaara is teaching me much about american history. And, I thought I was reasonably well read on this subject especially our war history. Once again it demonstrates to me that historical fiction well done, teaches what you can't get from the "history" books. A flavor for a period, what people were like and how they actually lived, not just the facts of what they did. Look him up and don't forget his dads book "Killer Angels" the story of Joshua Chamberlain and the Battle of Gettysburg.
Shaara has again done a very good job of telling the story of one of our country's wars. I found it amazing that we could win this relatively obscure war, considering the jealousy and rivalry between many of the major characters.
Powerfully written by the author of "Gods and Generals", this book illuminates the dark psychology of soldiers in a long-forgotten war. General Winfield Scott and Robert E. Lee led eight thousand soldiers into battle against Santa Anna in the Mexican-American War. A must read!
One of the best Civil War chroniclers.