Gone for Soldiers: A Novel of the Mexican War

( 56 )

Overview

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

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Overview

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 March 1847, the U.S. Navy delivers eight thousand soldiers on the beaches of Vera Cruz. They are led by the army's commanding general, Winfield Scott, a heroic veteran of the War of 1812, short tempered, vain, and nostalgic for the glories of his youth. At his right hand is Robert E. Lee, a forty-year-old engineer, a dignified, serious man who has never seen combat.

Scott leads his troops against the imperious Mexican dictator, General Antonio Lopez de Santa Ana. Obsessed with glory and his place in history, Santa Ana arrogantly underestimates the will and the heart of Scott and his army. As the Americans fight their way inland, both sides understand that the inevitable final conflict will come at the gates and fortified walls of the ancient capital, Mexico City.

Cut off from communication and their only supply line, the Americans learn about their enemy and themselves, as young men witness for the first time the horror of war. While Scott must weigh his own place in history, fighting what many consider a bully's war, Lee the engineer becomes Lee the hero, the one man in Scott'scommand whose extraordinary destiny as a soldier is clear.

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.
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble Guide to New Fiction
Shaara's most recent Civil War novel is seen through the eyes of Robert E. Lee. It received our highest score, introducing readers to the most famous war heroes as they taste combat for the first time. "Gives life and color to one of the most significant wars of the U.S., and to the great names in connected to it."
KLIATT
This historical novel rips off the polite mask of "Manifest Destiny" and shows us the blood and guts of the Mexican War of 1846-1848. It would be impossible to praise too highly Shaara's work. He tells the story of an unpopular war from the perspectives of those involved: Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, Winfield Scott, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, Stonewall Jackson, and others who are well known to students of the Civil War. Shaara's gift is the ability to put the reader there, to recreate the history. The novel reads at times like an action film, with explosions, body parts, screaming horses and bayonet thrusts. At other times Shaara takes us into the minds of those who fought and died. We share the arrogance of Santa Anna, the cunning of Scott, the ingenuity of Grant, and the growing competence of Robert E. Lee. We know, as the characters do not, what is to come in the near future and how their relationships will change. We also learn about the politics of the war, about the hidden motives of Washington and the President. As Lee comes to understand, the war was not about bravery or saving Mexicans from a dictator. It was about land: the land of Texas and New Mexico and California, land that the U.S. finally paid for at more advantageous terms because of the American occupation of Mexico City. Highly recommended. KLIATT Codes: SA*—Exceptional book, recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, Ballantine, 426p., $15.95. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Janet Julian; English Teacher, Retired, Grafton H.S., Grafton, M , November 2001 (Vol. 35, No. 6)
Library Journal
This is Shaara's successful prequel to his father Michael's Pulitzer Prize-winning Civil War novel, The Killer Angels. Many of the same characters inhabit its pages but before their allegiances have been fatally strained by the tensions of an impending Civil War. The protagonists are Gen. Winfield Scott, who created our first modern army, and young engineer Robert E. Lee, being tested for the first time as soldier and leader in the little-known Mexican War. Add Stonewall Jackson, Ulysses S. Grant, Jeb Stuart, Joe Johnston, Beauregarde, Mexican general Santa Anna--what a cast of characters! The book is simply wonderful, populated with eminently human heroes who are called upon to perform Herculean tasks in a war muddied beyond redemption by the ambitions of back-home and battlefield politicians. Like Patrick Rambaud's The Battle (LJ 5/1/00) this is first-rate military historical fiction. Well worth reading. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/00.]--David Keymer, California State Univ., Stanislaus, CA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Kirkus Reviews
Lg. Prt.: 0-375-43057-1 Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Shaara's son (who followed his late father's classic The Killer Angels with his own Civil War-set Gods and Generals, 1996, and The Last Full Measure, 1998) moves into new historical territory with this impressive fictional account of the comparatively lesser-known Mexican War (1846-48). The novel's (almost exclusively military) actions are presented in parallel stories primarily featuring US Army commander Winfield (`Old Fuss and Feathers`) Scott, a decorated veteran of the War of 1812, and Scott's more-than-efficient subordinate, a 40-year-old engineer and artillery specialist named Robert E. Lee. To the younger Lee, the war is a welcome test of his still-developing tactical skills and his resolve; to the grizzled, unillusioned Scott, it's `a nasty little fight all about land,` and further evidence of catastrophic interference contributed to the war effort by the ill-judged `diplomacy` of President James Polk. The (invariably interesting) thoughts and experiences of both men are buttressed—and illuminated—by intermittent segments of the narrative presented from the viewpoints of such other combatants as roughhewn Captain Joe Johnston, brother officers Thomas J. `Stonewall` Jackson and Ulysses S. Grant (in these antebellum years, Lee's comrade-in-arms), and, notably, Mexico's defiant military leader Santa Anna (a richly drawn character who probably deserves his own novel). Shaara offers superb impressionistic descriptions of such crucial campaigns as the (early) naval attack on the port of Vera Cruz; the battles of Cerro Gordo, the `lava field` known as the Pedregal, and Churubusco; and the triumphantconquest ofMexico City, after which Scott is offered the position of `dictator of Mexico.` Parallels to Viet Nam aren't forced, but are strongly felt throughout this simultaneously stirring and deeply cautionary saga. Another fine historical novel from a new master of the genre.Author tour
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345427526
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/4/2003
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 512
  • Sales rank: 171,483
  • Product dimensions: 4.18 (w) x 6.88 (h) x 1.11 (d)

Meet the Author

Jeff Shaara is the New York Times bestselling author of A Chain of Thunder, A Blaze of Glory, The Final Storm, No Less Than Victory, The Steel Wave, The Rising Tide, To the Last Man, The Glorious Cause, Rise to Rebellion, and Gone for Soldiers, as well as Gods and Generals and The Last Full Measure—two novels that complete the Civil War trilogy that began with his father’s Pulitzer Prize–winning classic, The Killer Angels. Shaara was born into a family of Italian immigrants in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He grew up in Tallahassee, Florida, and graduated from Florida State University. He lives again in Tallahassee.

Good To Know

Shaara didn't begin writing until he was 42 years old. In our interview, he explains, "My father had been the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Killer Angels, and died never fulfilled, nor successful as an author. I had no inclination to pursue writing at all, but was inspired by the suggestion of filmmaker Ron Maxwell, who suggested I continue the Civil War story my father had begun."

For 24 years, Shaara was a dealer in rare coins and precious metals. "The polar opposite career choice and lifestyle of an author," Shaara admits. "My criminology degree was inspired by a serious drive to find fulfillment as a wildlife officer (a game warden). With my coin business thriving, I never pursued the career."

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    1. Hometown:
      Kalispell, Montana
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 21, 1952
    2. Place of Birth:
      New Brunswick, New Jersey
    1. Education:
      B.S. in Criminology, Florida State University, 1974
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

IN 1844 THE UNITED STATES IS VERY MUCH A NATION FEELING ITS youth. Since the country was doubled in size by the Louisiana Purchase, there has been a passion for expansion, for pushing the boundaries farther west, a mission to bring the new enlightenment of the "American Ideal" to the entire continent. To politicians in Washington, this expansion is justified not just by an enthusiasm for our system of government, but by official policy. The document is the Monroe Doctrine, and the rallying cry becomes Manifest Destiny, as though it is not only in the nation's best interests to expand our influence, but the best interest of anyone whose culture we might absorb. This practice has already resulted in bloody conflict with several Indian Nations, notably the Seminoles in Florida. It also leads to a showdown with the British over the Oregon Territory, a threat the British defuse by backing away.

In summer 1844 the independent nation of Texas is annexed by the United States. The territory of Texas had been part of Mexico itself, only became independent in 1836 when Mexican leader Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was defeated by Sam Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto. This defeat followed Santa Anna's highly publicized massacre of the defenders of the Alamo, in San Antonio.

To the Mexican government, led by the moderate General José Joaquin de Herrera, the loss of Texas is a severe blow to Mexican pride. While Herrera favors negotiation to resolve differences, specifically the growing border disputes, loud voices of ultrapatriotism within his country consider the loss an outrage, an assault on the sovereignty of Mexico, which must be avenged.

In December 1844, Texas is officially granted statehood. The decision is controversial. Because it was admitted as a slave state, many in the north opposed Texas's inclusion. However, as a necessary ingredient of Manifest Destiny, even opponents concede that the land, and the passion for expansion, make Texas a valuable treasure.

The Texans consider their border to extend to the Rio Grande River. To the Mexicans, Texas stops at the Nueces River, some one hundred miles farther north. The land in between the two rivers is mostly barren and uninhabited, but both sides begin making moves to secure the land for their own cause.

To protect the new wave of citizens that move into the disputed area, President James K. Polk sends a military force of nearly three thousand men, under the command of General Zachary Taylor. This so inflames the spirits of many Mexicans that Herrera cannot hold power, and he is replaced by General Mariano Padredes, an ultrapatriot who immediately declares that Mexico is in a state of "defensive war" with the United States.

As the wheels of war grind forward, neither side seems to understand the forces driving the other. The Mexicans are far from accepting Manifest Destiny as legitimate, and the Polk Administration has no grasp of the nationalism and fiercely proud protectionism that so motivates the Mexicans.

As Taylor's forces move into the disputed territory between the two rivers, Mexican General Ampudia marches troops northward, intending to turn Taylor away. While politicians in both capitals seem helpless to find some middle ground, some way of avoiding the inevitable war, Taylor confronts a sizable Mexican force at Palo Alto, a small crossroads village. The resulting fight is the first engagement of the war, and is a decided victory for Taylor and the Americans. The Mexicans retreat to a strong defensive position at an old riverbed called Resaca de la Palma. Taylor pursues, and defeats the Mexicans again. The Mexican forces have no choice but to retreat below the Rio Grande.

With the spilling of blood, the disputes move beyond the angry protests of politicians. The diplomatic wrangling gives way to the harsh reality that the dispute over boundaries and the inability of each culture to understand the customs and needs of the other, has but one possible outcome. Even the voices of reason in both capitals are powerless to stop the momentum. On May 13, 1846, President Polk convinces Congress to declare war on Mexico.

1. Lee

March fifth, 1847

THEY HAD SAILED EARLY, CUTTING SOUTHWARD THROUGH THE quiet water, the rugged coastline barely visible to the west. Lee had moved to the bow of the tall ship, staring out quietly, tasting the salt air, the cool wind that pushed into the great sails above him. At first he was alone, but then more of the officers were moving forward, and like Lee, they stared to the front, watching for any sign, the first glimpse of the rest of the great fleet.

Lee glanced to one side, saw a small figure, thought, My dear friend Joe ... you look awful. He would never say that to the man's face, knew Johnston was embarrassed, sensitive about his seasickness. The agony had been on Johnston's face even before the ship had left Tampico, and it made no difference if the weather rolled them about or, like this morning, was ghostly calm. Joe Johnston would never be a sailor.

Lee moved toward him, eased along the heavy wood rail. "You all right, Captain?"
Johnston, weary, his eyes heavy, looked at Lee, nodded, said nothing. Lee glanced at the dome of exposed scalp on Johnston's head, looked away, would not let his friend catch him staring. He knew Johnston was a vain man, frustrated with the baldness that had shown itself when he was still young. He had a small frame, thin, and some at the Point had even used the word fragile to describe him. It had made Johnston furious, and Lee knew his vanity had been a form of self-defense. Johnston had begun to comb his hair straight forward, covering his high forehead. But today there was none of the self-consciousness, and Lee could not be pleased about that, knew it meant that Johnston was feeling sick indeed.

Lee, still looking away, pointed out beyond the bow. "We'll be there soon I think. The masts should come into view first."

Johnston nodded, looked now toward the horizon, his expression a mix of hope and a silent plea for the trip to end.

Lee put a hand on Johnston's shoulder, felt the rough wool of Johnston's coat, felt Johnston sag beneath his grip. He pulled his hand away, thought, Maybe best to just let him be. He leaned out again on the rail, and now the sun had come up, full above the flat ocean to the east. He looked toward the warmth, felt the energy, felt a light salty breeze drifting across the deck. There was a new sound now, birds, the high call of the gulls, gathering, dancing in the air, near the stern of the ship. He looked up, smiled slightly, stared into the deep blue of a cloudless perfect morning. Suddenly there was a voice, behind him, high up on the lookout.

"Ship ho!"

The men around Lee pressed forward, and Lee stared again to the front, saw now a fleck of orange, a brief flicker of sunlight reflecting on ... something. The others saw it as well, the soldiers betraying their excitement, while all around them the sailors seemed only to do their work, and if they paid any attention at all to what lay in front of them, they would not reveal it to these men who fought on land.

Lee saw more reflections now, and someone had a pair of field glasses, passed them along the rail, and as each man took his turn, there was a smile, a small sound, recognition. Now the glasses came to Lee, and he raised them up, and the flecks of light were suddenly clear. He felt his heart thump hard in his chest, could not help but smile, thought,Yes, a ship! He lowered the glasses, offered them to Johnston, who took them and without looking, passed them along. Lee wanted to say something, encourage his friend, to help him put the sickness aside somehow. Still Lee's attention was drawn to the front, where there were a great many more reflections, and it did not take the glasses to see that before them, spread across the wide gulf, was an enormous fleet.

The first big ship was plainly visible now, and Lee could feel the Massachusetts turning, the helmsman steering General Winfield Scott's flagship to a path closer to the warships. Lee was still feeling the excitement, examined the big ship as though he were a small child. He was stunned by the size, the great rows of small black eyes, the enormous firepower of the big man-of-war. He had seen ships like this before, near the forts in the East, but this was very different, moving past so close, the view from the deck of another great ship, so near the mouths of all those guns. Lee stared into the open gun ports, felt a sudden chill. My God, he thought, the pure power. So much artillery in one place. He had never seen a naval bombardment, certainly had never seen two great ships at war, swirling around each other in a violent fury of sound and smoke. He blinked, thought, No, you have never seen much of anything to compare to this.

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First Chapter

IN 1844 THE UNITED STATES IS VERY MUCH A NATION FEELING ITS youth. Since the country was doubled in size by the Louisiana Purchase, there has been a passion for expansion, for pushing the boundaries farther west, a mission to bring the new enlightenment of the "American Ideal" to the entire continent. To politicians in Washington, this expansion is justified not just by an enthusiasm for our system of government, but by official policy. The document is the Monroe Doctrine, and the rallying cry becomes Manifest Destiny, as though it is not only in the nation's best interests to expand our influence, but the best interest of anyone whose culture we might absorb. This practice has already resulted in bloody conflict with several Indian Nations, notably the Seminoles in Florida. It also leads to a showdown with the British over the Oregon Territory, a threat the British defuse by backing away.

In summer 1844 the independent nation of Texas is annexed by the United States. The territory of Texas had been part of Mexico itself, only became independent in 1836 when Mexican leader Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was defeated by Sam Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto. This defeat followed Santa Anna's highly publicized massacre of the defenders of the Alamo, in San Antonio.

To the Mexican government, led by the moderate General José Joaquin de Herrera, the loss of Texas is a severe blow to Mexican pride. While Herrera favors negotiation to resolve differences, specifically the growing border disputes, loud voices of ultrapatriotism within his country consider the loss an outrage, an assault on the sovereignty of Mexico, which must be avenged.

In December 1844, Texas is officially granted statehood. The decision is controversial. Because it was admitted as a slave state, many in the north opposed Texas's inclusion. However, as a necessary ingredient of Manifest Destiny, even opponents concede that the land, and the passion for expansion, make Texas a valuable treasure.

The Texans consider their border to extend to the Rio Grande River. To the Mexicans, Texas stops at the Nueces River, some one hundred miles farther north. The land in between the two rivers is mostly barren and uninhabited, but both sides begin making moves to secure the land for their own cause.

To protect the new wave of citizens that move into the disputed area, President James K. Polk sends a military force of nearly three thousand men, under the command of General Zachary Taylor. This so inflames the spirits of many Mexicans that Herrera cannot hold power, and he is replaced by General Mariano Padredes, an ultrapatriot who immediately declares that Mexico is in a state of "defensive war" with the United States.

As the wheels of war grind forward, neither side seems to understand the forces driving the other. The Mexicans are far from accepting Manifest Destiny as legitimate, and the Polk Administration has no grasp of the nationalism and fiercely proud protectionism that so motivates the Mexicans.

As Taylor's forces move into the disputed territory between the two rivers, Mexican General Ampudia marches troops northward, intending to turn Taylor away. While politicians in both capitals seem helpless to find some middle ground, some way of avoiding the inevitable war, Taylor confronts a sizable Mexican force at Palo Alto, a small crossroads village. The resulting fight is the first engagement of the war, and is a decided victory for Taylor and the Americans. The Mexicans retreat to a strong defensive position at an old riverbed called Resaca de la Palma. Taylor pursues, and defeats the Mexicans again. The Mexican forces have no choice but to retreat below the Rio Grande.

With the spilling of blood, the disputes move beyond the angry protests of politicians. The diplomatic wrangling gives way to the harsh reality that the dispute over boundaries and the inability of each culture to understand the customs and needs of the other, has but one possible outcome. Even the voices of reason in both capitals are powerless to stop the momentum. On May 13, 1846, President Polk convinces Congress to declare war on Mexico.

1. Lee

March fifth, 1847

THEY HAD SAILED EARLY, CUTTING SOUTHWARD THROUGH THE quiet water, the rugged coastline barely visible to the west. Lee had moved to the bow of the tall ship, staring out quietly, tasting the salt air, the cool wind that pushed into the great sails above him. At first he was alone, but then more of the officers were moving forward, and like Lee, they stared to the front, watching for any sign, the first glimpse of the rest of the great fleet.

Lee glanced to one side, saw a small figure, thought, My dear friend Joe ... you look awful. He would never say that to the man's face, knew Johnston was embarrassed, sensitive about his seasickness. The agony had been on Johnston's face even before the ship had left Tampico, and it made no difference if the weather rolled them about or, like this morning, was ghostly calm. Joe Johnston would never be a sailor.

Lee moved toward him, eased along the heavy wood rail. "You all right, Captain?"
Johnston, weary, his eyes heavy, looked at Lee, nodded, said nothing. Lee glanced at the dome of exposed scalp on Johnston's head, looked away, would not let his friend catch him staring. He knew Johnston was a vain man, frustrated with the baldness that had shown itself when he was still young. He had a small frame, thin, and some at the Point had even used the word fragile to describe him. It had made Johnston furious, and Lee knew his vanity had been a form of self-defense. Johnston had begun to comb his hair straight forward, covering his high forehead. But today there was none of the self-consciousness, and Lee could not be pleased about that, knew it meant that Johnston was feeling sick indeed.

Lee, still looking away, pointed out beyond the bow. "We'll be there soon I think. The masts should come into view first."

Johnston nodded, looked now toward the horizon, his expression a mix of hope and a silent plea for the trip to end.

Lee put a hand on Johnston's shoulder, felt the rough wool of Johnston's coat, felt Johnston sag beneath his grip. He pulled his hand away, thought, Maybe best to just let him be. He leaned out again on the rail, and now the sun had come up, full above the flat ocean to the east. He looked toward the warmth, felt the energy, felt a light salty breeze drifting across the deck. There was a new sound now, birds, the high call of the gulls, gathering, dancing in the air, near the stern of the ship. He looked up, smiled slightly, stared into the deep blue of a cloudless perfect morning. Suddenly there was a voice, behind him, high up on the lookout.

"Ship ho!"

The men around Lee pressed forward, and Lee stared again to the front, saw now a fleck of orange, a brief flicker of sunlight reflecting on ... something. The others saw it as well, the soldiers betraying their excitement, while all around them the sailors seemed only to do their work, and if they paid any attention at all to what lay in front of them, they would not reveal it to these men who fought on land.

Lee saw more reflections now, and someone had a pair of field glasses, passed them along the rail, and as each man took his turn, there was a smile, a small sound, recognition. Now the glasses came to Lee, and he raised them up, and the flecks of light were suddenly clear. He felt his heart thump hard in his chest, could not help but smile, thought,Yes, a ship! He lowered the glasses, offered them to Johnston, who took them and without looking, passed them along. Lee wanted to say something, encourage his friend, to help him put the sickness aside somehow. Still Lee's attention was drawn to the front, where there were a great many more reflections, and it did not take the glasses to see that before them, spread across the wide gulf, was an enormous fleet.

The first big ship was plainly visible now, and Lee could feel the Massachusetts turning, the helmsman steering General Winfield Scott's flagship to a path closer to the warships. Lee was still feeling the excitement, examined the big ship as though he were a small child. He was stunned by the size, the great rows of small black eyes, the enormous firepower of the big man-of-war. He had seen ships like this before, near the forts in the East, but this was very different, moving past so close, the view from the deck of another great ship, so near the mouths of all those guns. Lee stared into the open gun ports, felt a sudden chill. My God, he thought, the pure power. So much artillery in one place. He had never seen a naval bombardment, certainly had never seen two great ships at war, swirling around each other in a violent fury of sound and smoke. He blinked, thought, No, you have never seen much of anything to compare to this.

Copyright© 2000 by Jeff Shaara. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 56 )
Rating Distribution

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(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 3, 2012

    Excellant reading

    Since the Mexican War happened so close to the War Between The States, not as much has been written about that war. This is a typical Jeff Shaara book that tells the story through the mouths of those who were there. I learned a lot that had been unknown to me previously.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 25, 2012

    A must for history buffs

    As usual I was not disappointed with Jeff Shaara; his look at all these people in their earlier years before the Civil War is enlightening.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 20, 2013

    Excellent story of a little known war.

    This is another one of the excellent Shaara historical novels. While the Mexican War is not one of the biggest or longest wars in our history, The author does a very good job of chronicling the Mexican War through the major soldiers involved. I only began reading historical novels in the last 2 years and the Shaara's have to rank up there with the best.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 25, 2013

    Another Great Jeff Shaara Novel

    This was the 9th novel written by Mr. Shaara that I have read. Once again he brings history to life. We learn of the early days in the careers of soldiers who play critical roles in the American Civil War. Amongst those are Robert E' Lee, U.S. Grant, George Pickett just to name a few. I heartily recommend this book to anyone intersted in American History.

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  • Posted November 29, 2012

    Jeff Shaara took you into the heart of the battles. He made you

    Jeff Shaara took you into the heart of the battles. He made you feel what the characters were feeling, and made you see what the soldiers saw around them. It shows you that battles aren't all about the victories, it's also about your friends and comrades that have risked and sacrificed their lives. At some points in the book, I was actually getting nervous about what would happen next.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 2, 2012

    Shaara does it again!

    This is the 5th book by Mr. Shaara that I've read recently and he continues to amaze me how interesting he makes the events and characters come to life. I didn't know much about the Mexican-American War before this book and didn't realize how important the outcome was to our history. Also you see how future Civil War leaders began their military careers working together not knowing years later many of them would face each other on the battlefield. A really great read with plenty of action and a great insight into Robert E Lee as a young officer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2012

    Higly Recommend For all Historical fiction fans

    This protrayes and excellent view into the Mexican war as seen through the eyes of a Young Robert E. Lee. It also gives aus a peek as to his development that made him such a powerful leader in his later years during the Civil War.

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  • Posted October 5, 2011

    A Must for Fans of Shaara's Civil War Series!

    Jeff Shaara has done all who have loved the Civil War series he and his father gave us a great service with "Gone for Soldiers". Not only does this book offer us the same almost-personal view of the Mexican War, it introduces the people who played such an enormous role in the later Civil War. All of these books have given me a much better sense of history than even more detailed military history books have given, and I find I'm now able to read those other more scholarly works with more enjoyment, having finally grasped the context and the sweep of events.

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  • Posted September 2, 2011

    Great book!

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Posted September 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    the ugly business of nation building.

    Manifest Destiny knew few boundaries. If we could breathe under water, we wouldn't have stopped when we reached the Pacific. Truly, we make the Louisiana Purchase (like it was France's to sell?) then MAKE Mexico sell us half its land in this GRAB. From sea to shining sea, and lock down the borders. Nice to meet Lee, and other soon to be household names.

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  • Posted May 13, 2010

    A Lesser Known War

    I knew nothing about the Mexican War when I picked this book up and I must say, in usual Shaara fashion, he drew me in. Read how legends of the Civil War like Robert E. Lee, James Longstreet, Ulysses S. Grant, and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson became battle-tested soldiers. The Americans, under the leadership of one of its greatest generals, Winfield Scott, outmaneuvered the Mexicans. I was also interested to learn of the political dabbling and intrigue that plagued the army to some degree. The men in Washington dabbling in things they don't know enough about and causing problems. The political aspect is something I've noticed in all of Shaara's books. The myth that those things only developed later in American society and politics is torn down...this has always been a problem from our fight for independenced to the present day. Shaara does an excellent job of bringing that aspect of the story to light without overdoing it and losing the book's focus. Another splendid book by Shaara. If you know nothing of this war and have little interest, I think you'll be pleasantly surprised if you read it.

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  • Posted December 17, 2009

    GREAT BOOK

    Did I like this book? I thought it was a pretty good book. And since I'm saying it was pretty good most people would probably think it's great because I REALLY don't like to read AT ALL! I liked it because it was very interesting and informative. We learn about the Mexican-American war in school but it was mostly about the battle of Santa Anna, so most people don't usually learn about the other historic battles that happened in the Mexican-American War. Things that stood out were that the book was mostly about only two characters Robert E. Lee and Winfield Scott, but sadly some other major military leaders were almost totally ignored in this book. Such as General Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, James Longstreet, and Stonewall Jackson. But at the same time it did give good looks at some battles that I never heard of. So that mostly makes up for it I feel. I would recommend this book, I thought it was a book that was very easy to be able to "connect" with be able to stay focused on reading I actually read a lot more than usually would because I really liked what was happening and wanted to know what happened next. Would I recommend it to a high school student? It really depends on the student, if they aren't committed to reading it then probably not because it does take a while to read it is a long book. If they are a student who wants to learn about the Mexican-American war that wasn't explained in detail in your book, then yes it has some very good information. I feel that I know a lot more about the war now. In the school text books the Mexican-American war is based almost totally about the Alamo, I knew very little about the battle of Vera Cruz.

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  • Posted August 2, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A Forgotten War

    This is a very good fictional account of a war most Americans know little or nothing about. Jeff Shaara is excellent in his use of fiction to bring historical figures to life. This war was not only important to an expanding young nation but also was the proving ground for many men who would become the leaders from both sides of the American Civil War.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2006

    Wonderful Book

    Jeff has done it again. He has brought history alive in a way that is very readable for everyone. Can't wait for his next book to be released!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2006

    WOW

    wow.. amazing i never thought that a book could put you in the position of a soldier, this is a must read book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2004

    Great Book of future Civil war leaders

    I'm not really interested in the Mexican war, but it great reading about officers like Lee and seeing his growth into the leader that he became.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2003

    GREAT!!!!!

    Loved this book, once I opened it, I couldn't set it down till I reached the very last page, read it at least twice over. Great book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2003

    READ THIS NOVEL....6 STARS

    I knew nothing about the Mexican-American war before I read this....and I mean nothing. This book is unlike many other history books, because it puts you in the minds of the people fighting, and not just giving you a bunch of facts. I would suggest reading Jeff and Michael Shaara's Civil War Trilogy after you read this because it flows right into the next book which is God's and General's.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2002

    Great Account Of Mexican-American War

    The book "Gone for Soldiers" was pleasing for a war story for someone who does not enjoy this subject. I was expecting it to be long and boring just like the other old war stories I¿ve read. But the author goes into great detail during the war scenes which I particularly liked. Jeff Shaara¿s style of writing also helped me get along through the book. I liked how we saw what was happening through the eyes of the soldiers (mainly General Scott and Captain Lee) and not from the third person. The only thing that bothered me was some of the reading in between the war scenes. It felt like he digressed and it made it uninteresting. Other than that, the book was enjoyable for me; the plot was unpredictable, the characters are unique and it portrays what the Mexican American War was really about. I would definitely recommend this for people who love war stories but if not, it wouldn¿t hurt to try it because you just might like it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2001

    18th Century War Has Similarities to Afghan War

    Like all the Shaara books by both father and son, the storytelling and character development are excellent. The reading of 'Gone for Soldiers' has become even more interesting in the days following September 11, given the similarities between the Mexican-American War and the war in Afghanistan. In both, the United States is viewed by its enemy as 'the devil.' And, in both, America and its soldiers struggle to understand a foreign religion that the enemy holds dear. While today, it is the Muslim faith we try to understand. In 1847, it was Catholicism.

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