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.
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.
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.