Santa Anna of Mexico

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Overview


Antonio López de Santa Anna (1794–1876) is one of the most famous, and infamous, figures in Mexican history. Six times the country’s president, he is consistently depicted as a traitor, a turncoat, and a tyrant—the exclusive cause of all of Mexico’s misfortunes following the country’s independence from Spain. He is also, as this biography makes clear, grossly misrepresented.
 
Drawing on seventeen years of research into the politics of independent Mexico, Will Fowler provides a revised picture of Santa Anna’s life, with new insights into his activities in his bailiwick of Veracruz and in his numerous military engagements. The Santa Anna who emerges from this book is an intelligent, dynamic, yet reluctant leader, ingeniously deceptive at times, courageous and patriotic at others. His extraordinary story is that of a middle-class provincial criollo, a high-ranking officer, an arbitrator, a dedicated landowner, and a political leader who tried to prosper personally and help his country develop at a time of severe and repeated crises, as the colony that was New Spain gave way to a young, troubled, besieged, and beleaguered Mexican nation.
 
Deconstructing the myths surrounding Santa Anna’s life, the book offers a fresh view of a critical chapter in Mexico’s history.
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Editorial Reviews

Bulletin of Latin American Research - Matthew Brown

"This biography is a marvellous introduction to Santa Anna's life and times."—Matthew Brown, Bulletin of Latin American Research
Journal of Southern History - Ana Luisa Martinez-Catsam

"Santa Ann of Mexico is a well-research and clearly written biography that provides an appreciation for the political complexity and volatility of Mexico and the man who led the nation during this turbulent period."—Ana Luisa Martinez-Catsam, Journal of Southern History
 
Waterline - Cmdr. Youssef Aboul-Enein

"This is a detailed biography for those with a passion for Mexican history, Texas history and American relations with Mexico."—Cmdr. Youssef Aboul-Enein, Waterline
Historian - Patricia L.P. Thompson

"In this compelling biography of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the author sets the record straight about the man who served Mexico six times as president yet is vilified today as a tyrant and traitor to his country."—Patricia L.P. Thompson, Historian
Journal of the West - Andrae M. Marak

"Fowler's balanced and well-researched biography of Santa Anna correctly adds nuance to the existing black legend of Mexico's favorite villain."—Andrae M. Marak, Journal of the West
Abdiel O�ate

“Assessing the many findings made in the last thirty years of historiography on the topic, Fowler develops a persuasive new understanding of Santa Anna and the problems that beset the then-young Mexican republic. Fowler’s writing style is eloquent, rigorous, and accessible. He articulates complex ideas with clarity and simplicity, and establishes clear connections between themes. The text is an enjoyable read—and one which is sure to make an important contribution to Mexican historiography.”—Abdiel Oñate, professor of history at San Francisco State University
Abdiel Oñate

“Assessing the many findings made in the last thirty years of historiography on the topic, Fowler develops a persuasive new understanding of Santa Anna and the problems that beset the then-young Mexican republic. Fowler’s writing style is eloquent, rigorous, and accessible. He articulates complex ideas with clarity and simplicity, and establishes clear connections between themes. The text is an enjoyable read—and one which is sure to make an important contribution to Mexican historiography.”—Abdiel Oñate, professor of history at San Francisco State University
Bulletin of Latin American Research
"This biography is a marvellous introduction to Santa Anna's life and times."

— Matthew Brown, Bulletin of Latin American Research

Journal of Southern History
"Santa Ann of Mexico is a well-research and clearly written biography that provides an appreciation for the political complexity and volatility of Mexico and the man who led the nation during this turbulent period."

— Ana Luisa Martinez-Catsam, Journal of Southern History

Eric Van Young
"There have been many other biographies of Santa Anna, both by Anglophone and Mexican scholars, but none as balanced or revisionist in tone as Fowler's. He seeks to look at Santa Anna 'warts and all' in a searching way in which few authors of even longer works have done. This book will be an important contribution to the field because it gives us a compelling narrative that is scrupulously researched and nicely written. . . . Fowler's bibliography constitutes an excellent entry-point into the historiography on the Santa Anna period."

-Eric Van Young, author of The Other Rebellion: Popular Violence, Ideology, and the Mexican Struggle for Independence, 1810-1821

Abdiel Onate
"Assessing the many findings made in the last thirty years of historiography on the topic, Fowler develops a persuasive new understanding of Santa Anna and the problems that beset the then-young Mexican republic. Fowler's writing style is eloquent, rigorous, and accessible. He articulates complex ideas with clarity and simplicity, and establishes clear connections between themes. The text is an enjoyable read-and one which is sure to make an important contribution to Mexican historiography."

-Abdiel Oñate, professor of history at San Francisco State University

Waterline

"This is a detailed biography for those with a passion for Mexican history, Texas history and American relations with Mexico."—Cmdr. Youssef Aboul-Enein, Waterline

Historian

"In this compelling biography of Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, the author sets the record straight about the man who served Mexico six times as president yet is vilified today as a tyrant and traitor to his country."—Patricia L.P. Thompson, Historian

Eric Van Young

“There have been many other biographies of Santa Anna, both by Anglophone and Mexican scholars, but none as balanced or revisionist in tone as Fowler’s. He seeks to look at Santa Anna ‘warts and all’ in a searching way in which few authors of even longer works have done. This book will be an important contribution to the field because it gives us a compelling narrative that is scrupulously researched and nicely written. . . . Fowler’s bibliography constitutes an excellent entry-point into the historiography on the Santa Anna period.”—Eric Van Young, author of The Other Rebellion: Popular Violence, Ideology, and the Mexican Struggle for Independence, 1810–1821
Abdiel Oate

“Assessing the many findings made in the last thirty years of historiography on the topic, Fowler develops a persuasive new understanding of Santa Anna and the problems that beset the then-young Mexican republic. Fowler’s writing style is eloquent, rigorous, and accessible. He articulates complex ideas with clarity and simplicity, and establishes clear connections between themes. The text is an enjoyable read—and one which is sure to make an important contribution to Mexican historiography.”—Abdiel Oñate, professor of history at San Francisco State University

Journal of the West

"Fowler''s balanced and well-researched biography of Santa Anna correctly adds nuance to the existing black legend of Mexico''s favorite villain."—Andrae M. Marak, Journal of the West

— Andrae M. Marak

Library Journal

In this unabashedly revisionist biography, Fowler (Latin American studies, Univ. of St. Andrews, Scotland; Mexico in the Age of Proposals, 1821-1853) presents Santa Anna not as a politician but as a soldier and landowner, willing to bring order out of the chaos of political factionalism and to defend Mexico against internal revolts and foreign invasions. Fowler explodes the myth that Santa Anna alone should be held responsible for losing half of his country to the United States, clearly demonstrating that Santa Anna never recognized Texas's independence and showing that during the Mexican War, hobbled by factionalism, lack of resources, and his own mistakes, Santa Anna's plans had no chance of succeeding. Fowler also pays great attention to Santa Anna's relationship with his home province of Veracruz, showing how his strength there was a major factor in his return to power after he was seemingly out of public life forever. Drawing on archives in Mexico, Spain, Britain, and Texas as well as published sources, Fowler supplies a much-needed corrective to existing impressions of Santa Anna with this balanced and well-written work. Highly recommended for all libraries.
—Stephen H. Peters

Choice - S. F. Voss

"Building on recent historiography, this is a breakthrough study of Santa Anna."—S. F. Voss, Choice
Journal of Arizona History - Joseph A. Stout

"[Santa Anna of Mexico] is carefully documented and well-written. Historians of Mexico on both sides of the border should read this excellent effort."—Joseph A. Stout, Jr., Journal of Arizona History
A Contracorriente - Michael Ducey

"This reevalution of Antonio López de Santa Anna is long overdue given the sophistication of our understanding of Mexico's turbulent decades following independence in 1810. . . .This biography will become obligatory text for students of the period that will also hold the attention of the casual reader."—Michael Ducey, A Contracorriente
Journal of Latin American Studies - Donald F. Stevens

"Fowler has written an unsurpassed biography of one of Mexico's most famous leaders. Everyone with an interest in Mexican history should read it."—Donald F. Stevens, Journal of Latin American Studies
Choice
Building on recent historiography, this is a breakthrough study of Santa Anna.—S. F. Voss, Choice

— S. F. Voss

Journal of Arizona History
[Santa Anna of Mexico] is carefully documented and well-written. Historians of Mexico on both sides of the border should read this excellent effort.—Joseph A. Stout, Jr., Journal of Arizona History

— Joseph A. Stout, Jr.

Journal of Military History

“Superb. . . . Fowler has produced an elegantly-written and engaging study about one of Mexico’s most notorious and misunderstood leaders. His evenhanded assessment of Santa Anna as more than just a power-hungry, opportunistic, and corrupt politician makes this biography a most welcome and valuable addition to Mexican historiography.”—Journal of Military History
A Contracorriente
This reevalution of Antonio López de Santa Anna is long overdue given the sophistication of our understanding of Mexico's turbulent decades following independence in 1810. . . .This biography will become obligatory text for students of the period that will also hold the attention of the casual reader.—Michael Ducey, A Contracorriente

— Michael Ducey

Journal of Latin American Studies
Fowler has written an unsurpassed biography of one of Mexico's most famous leaders. Everyone with an interest in Mexican history should read it.—Donald F. Stevens, Journal of Latin American Studies

— Donald F. Stevens

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780803226388
  • Publisher: UNP - Bison Books
  • Publication date: 11/1/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 528
  • Sales rank: 1,471,710
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author


Will Fowler is a professor of Latin American studies at the University of St. Andrews. His books include Mexico in the Age of Proposals, 1821–1853, Tornel and Santa Anna: The Writer and the Caudillo, Mexico, 1795–1853, and Latin America, 1800–2000.
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Table of Contents


List of Illustrations     viii
Preface     ix
Acknowledgments     xiii
Introduction: Traitor, Turncoat, and Tyrant     xvii
Santa Anna's Early Life, 1794-1823
Between the Volcano and the Sea, 1794-1810     3
An Officer and a Gentleman, 1810-1821     20
Liberator of Veracruz, Founder of the Republic, 1821-1823     43
The Making of a Caudillo, 1823-1832
A Federalist on the Periphery, 1823-1825     71
Among the Jarochos, 1825-1828     88
General of Tricks, 1828-1832     109
The Returns of the Phoenix, 1832-1841
The Absentee President, 1832-1835     133
The Warrior President, 1835-1837     158
The Landowner President, 1837-1841     184
A Road Paved with Good Intentions, 1841-1848
The Santanista Project, 1841-1844     213
Our Man in Havana, 1844-1846     238
The Mexican-American War, 1846-1848     256
The Autumn of the Patriarch, 1849-1876
The Man Who Would Be King, 1849-1855     289
The General in His Labyrinth, 1856-1876     317
Conclusion: "A Good Mexican"     346
Chronology     369
Notes     391
Bibliography     449
Index     477
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