A Wicked War by Amy S. Greenberg

A Wicked War

Often forgotten and overlooked, the U.S.-Mexican War featured false starts, atrocities, and daring back-channel negotiations as it divided the nation, paved the way for the Civil War a generation later, and launched the career of Abraham Lincoln. Amy S. Greenberg’s skilled storytelling and rigorous scholarship bring this American war for empire to life with memorable characters, plotlines, and legacies.    When President James K. Polk compell...

Details A Wicked War

TitleA Wicked War
Release DateNov 6th, 2012
GenreHistory, North American Hi..., American History, Nonfiction, Politics, War

Reviews A Wicked War

  • Peter Mcloughlin
    People don't think much about the Mexican-American war of 1846-48. If they do they might remember that the American southwest was carved out of Mexico because we won it. This book looks at the political history of a war that was opposed by an antiwar movement before it was even declared. Thoreau wrote civil disobedience in opposing this war and going to jail for it. This book sees the war from the perspective of several politicians and soldiers w...
  • Jay Perkins
    "A Wicked War" is an engaging narrative of the political background of the Mexican War. Though not a military history, Greenberg does briefly cover many battles. The book is primarily an examination of the causes and motives that lead the Polk administration and the people of the United States into war. President Polk firmly believed that it was God's plan and America's destiny that she acquire large portions of Mexico, and he literally killed hi...
  • Michael
    This is, without a close second, the worst and most one-sided account of the Mexican-American War I have ever read. If I could have given it zero stars, I would have. It is sad to me to think that someone could read this book, in the hope of learning about this time period and think this is an accurate accounting of the facts.Is war a terrible thing? Most definitely.Did bad things happen during this time period? Without question.Did the US always...
  • Ryan Bach
    Greenberg's thesis is not very original as far as the way the Mexican American War is taught in public high schools today: President Polk was a bad guy who got us into an unnecessary war against a neighboring republic. However, Greenberg aims to get into the minds and thus motives of several key actors in the lead up to war, the war itself, and the response to the war.This book is useful as an introduction to the historical event, but her content...
  • Mark Selby
    Got to just more than half way and finally couldn't force myself to continue. Life is too short. Listening to the audio book and the narrator they choose is horid. She constantly uses a southern accent when reading quotes. Don't know if she really is from the south, but the accent is annoying to distraction. Further, she has a 'know-it-all' tone of voice which makes it sound like she dissapproves of the actions of the individuals in the book. Did...
  • Jenny
    This book tried to present the history of the US was with Mexico through the stories of individuals involved but I think there was too little history and too much extraneous personal information about the people involved. The political connections between Polk, Clay, Hardin and Lincoln were interesting, although I have read enough about Lincoln to know that there was more to his start in politics than depicted here. The background on Nicholas Tri...
  • Chris
    A very interesting history of the Mexican War as told through the lives of five men: Lincoln, Clay, Polk, Trist, and Hardin. Nothing to glorify in the American character here. Growing up and reading about manifest destiny I'd never seen it for the arrogant and racist imperialism it was. We took Mexico's land but didn't want their people. Just a very sad chapter in American History that too few Americans know about in detail. A great study in mora...
  • Glen Stott
    There has been some talk recently about how America stole Texas, New Mexico, and California from Mexico. This massive land transfer came as a result of the United States’ war with Mexico. So, the question revolves around the war. My small knowledge was that when the Republic of Texas was annexed to the United States, Mexico said it was Mexican territory. In addition, Mexico claimed that the border between Texas and Mexico was the Nueces river ...
  • Emily
    The problems with this book start with the framing. Between Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the Mexican American War, Clay and Lincoln have absolutely nothing to do with the war (besides expressing their opinions like every other politician and citizen).The book starts with Clay being surprised by Polk's politically popular skulduggery, which he reads about in the newspaper. Clay had just lost an election to Polk and was transitioning from beloved polit...
  • Daniel
    A book about the Mexican-American war told through the politicians that influenced it. This is a story of John Hardin, James Polk, Nicholas Triste and Henry Clay and to a much lesser extent Abraham Lincoln. It doesn't seem at first like the most balanced of narratives with the President, James Polk, being the villain of the story and Henry Clay and Nicholas Triste being the heroes and in some instances the suffering martyrs, but the more I read o...
  • Aaron
    On the front cover of this book is the review, "If one can read only a single book about the Mexican-American War, this is the one." Well, this is the only book I have read on the War, and I went into the book excited to learn about this little known and commonly taught war. And I am very disappointed that I chose this book as my one book to read on the Mexican-American War. The largest reason I am disappointed in this book is that it focuses hea...
  • Hannes
    This is an illustrative and information-packed book that tells the tale of the forgotten war of the Yanks, and it had me hooked from start to finish!
  • Nicole
    A terrific book in so many ways, and definitely an excellent choice for an undergraduate or graduate historiography/methods course, because it does so much so well, and yet there are potentially controversial things about it that would lend themselves well to discussion. It would also probably be great for Osher-type readers. If my mom's book club could read history, I'd even recommend it for that, as there is a lot to think about, and it's very ...
  • Jim Burns
    I read about 15 history books per year. Every once in a while I read a book that rattles my world, totally reshapes my thinking, and makes me think "I can't believe I didn't know this already". Just a few days ago I completed "A Wicked War" by Professor Greenberg. I could not put the book down and when finished was enthralled by the subject matter and writing style and wanted more. Professor Greenberg’s narrative is a fast paced enjoyable read....
  • Jo Stafford
    How easily we forget just how much of the present-day United States was once part of Mexico! In this compelling history of the US-Mexican War of 1846-1848, Amy Greenberg sets out the causes of the conflict and details the negotiations that finally brought it to an end, long after Texas's border dispute with its southern neighbor had been resolved. A Wicked War is not a military history. Greenberg pays little attention to the battlefield. Her acco...
  • Ben
    In March 1846, [General Zachary] Taylor marched his four thousand men through the Nueces Strip. It was "dreary, desolate, dry, and barren" countryside, a land better suited for snakes than people. The nearer they got to the Rio Grande, "the more dwarfed and thorny the vegetation -- only the cactus more hideously large." And it was hot. "The sun streamed upon us like living fire," one soldier recorded. Despite Taylor's proclamation asserting the "...
  • Jan
    It was only in reading this book that I realized that I pretty much knew nothing about the Mexican-American War. In fact, like many Americans, I wrongly thought that battles like the Alamo happened during the war (they didn't - that was part of Texas's battle for independence from Mexico, which happened before the U.S.-Mexico War). I blame this on how they teach history in the U.S., which is basically to rush from major war to major war that glos...
  • Ben
    A cowboy expansionist president that dupes Congress into supporting a foreign war under false pretenses - a war that is initially hugely popular, thanks to some swift victories, then becomes much less popular once the casualties roll in with no exit strategy in sight. Of course, I am talking about James Polk and the US-Mexican War. You don't hear much about this war in the history books, or, as the book points out, in history. It's one of the onl...
  • Frank
    An outstanding read! I had not read anything about the war with Mexico previously and was thoroughly engaged with Ms. Greenberg's coverage of the war; particularly with President Polk's role in initiating the war, and his secret desire to extend the boundary of the U.S all the way to the California coast, picking up Oregon in the process. Polk's lies started the war; not unlike the Vietnam war, only with an outcome that proved more beneficial to ...
  • Lois
    A true blending of storytelling and scholarship, Greenberg's book has educated me about a war that was never featured in the History Books.I was fascinated to learn more of James K Polk, UNC alum, and his wife who had gone to Salem. While in many ways they weren't admirable, I did admire their hard work and determination.Reading of Lincoln in his early days and how Clay was such a model for him was very interesting. I also appreciated reading abo...
  • Brian Eshleman
    This work was really engaging. The author took a subject of the Mexican war which is often overshadowed by the Civil War, brought her into that time period, and managed to find there some very old roots of issues we face today. I could argue that anybody making or voting on American foreign policy in the 21st-century should be required to read this book. Ecclesiastes was right. There really is nothing new under the sun.
  • Rae
    The main title comes from a comment by Lt. Ulysses Grant about the war with Mexico, and the subtitle gives a pretty good summary of the author's opinion of the war. An interesting look at the politics and some of the people involved in this war which brought much of the present southwest into U.S. territory.
  • Paul Slack
    I thought it was a very biased account of the Mexican-American War. If you read this book, you'll get the impression that America, led by President James K. Polk attacked Mexico out of sheer greed and meanness.She fails to consider the role of Mexico in the conflict.
  • Naomi
    Well-written history of a grim and brutal unjust war, Greenberg's analysis and attention to race, gender, class, and religion make this history vital to students of American history.
  • Pieter Burggraaf
    A Wicked War by Amy GreenburgBeginning:Location 677-679 | Added on Thursday, January 10, 2013 6:47:43 PMIf a man could connect with his constituency, deliver a heartfelt speech about opportunity and equality, and convince the voters that he felt their pain, that he was one of them, then no office in the land was out of reach.Location 680-680 | Added on Thursday, January 10, 2013 6:48:18 PMA remarkable number of Democratic politicians in the 1830s...
  • Joseph Hamilton
    Most academics are politically left wing and for social scientists like this author that bias often prevails in their writing. That said there were a few factoids I picked up here that I did not previously know, e.g., many, perhaps most of the Mexican upper class wanted the U.S. to annex the entire country; American atrocities were a response to Mexican brigandage that did not accord with the rules of war as understood at that time.What the autho...
  • Rob Conner
    A fantastic book that filled in a hole in my understanding of United States history! I absolutely loved this book and everything about it. Many have said it is biased in it's portrayal of the war. They claim that it leans heavily on the Whig side of the war. While I see their point of view on it, I think it is fairly balanced in it's portrayal of the war and it's actions. I definitely think it leans Whig, but I don't think it is biased in it's po...
  • Hank Pharis
    I accidentally clicked on this on the library's Hoopla and I couldn't give it back ... so I listened to it. It turned out to be surprisingly interesting. With all of the Texas history I've enjoyed over the years I never thought that much about the aftermath when the Texas nation joined the U.S. When Texas joined the U.S. it virtually guaranteed a confrontation with Mexico. But President Polk used this inevitability to try to claim huge sections o...
  • Reggiefras
    A good and eye opening history of the Mexican American War. This history explains the causes and the execution of the war, as well as the longer lasting effects of the war on both the United States and Mexico. It thoroughly maps the major battles and how those battles affected both countries, although the thrust was on the losses suffered by the states, Hardin, Clay and others, aspiring leaders all who were lost to us as a result of this war, and...
  • M Tucker
    American exceptionalism, that America has always been a force for good in the world, is shown to be a narcissistic myth. Amy Greenberg tells a wonderfully rich and informative tale that is hard to put down. She reminds us that any nation, even a liberal democracy, can do very wicked things to its sister nations and still believe they are a shining example of freedom, equality and justice. That is why this chapter in American history is not really...