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In this first of two volumes, Thomas L. Whigham provides an engrossing and comprehensive account of the war's origins and early campaigns, and he guides the reader through the complexities of South American nationalism, military development, and political intrigue. Whigham portrays the conflict as bloody and inexcusable, though it paved the way for more modern societies in the continent. The Paraguayan War fills an important gap in our understanding of Latin American history.
"Whigham's contribution is a detailed narrative that reveals a Lopez whose strategic and geopolitical instincts were sound but whose arrogance undercut his ability to lead. The description of the geographic setting and the vivid thumbnail sketches of many of the officers further elevate the account beyond that of one man's blindness. The reader understands the full history of a tragic war, lengthened because of incompetence and errors on all sides."—Judith Ewell, Journal of Military History
— Judith Ewell
"The longest and fullest ever written, destined to remain a standard text for decades. The author displays great command of his multiple sources."—David Rock, The Historian
— David Rock
"Whigham has produced a magnificent book. . . . A powerful and lucid narrative of the war's developments, with all its complexities: its military manoeuvres, internal politics and diplomatic exchanges, and its horrors and cruelties on the battlefield."—Eduardo Posada-Carbo, The International History Review
— Eduardo Posada-Carbo
“Thomas Whigham’s new history is greatly to be welcomed.”—Charles J. Esdaile, Hispanic American Historical Review
— Charles J. Esdaile
“It is rare to come across a work of traditional diplomatic history among new books appearing on Latin American history. It is also most unusual to find that the same study will be spread out over tow volumes. The Paraguayan War is certainly a fitting topic for such extensive and in-depth treatment. Professor Whigham’s first volume explores the causes and recounts in detail the early part of the conflict up to New Years Day 1866.”—Joseph Smith, Journal of Latin American Studies
— Joseph Smith
Posted January 23, 2003
Between 1864 and 1870 Paraguay was at war against the combined forces of the Brazilian Empire, Argentina and Uruguay. This book is the definitive presentation of the background and early stages of the bloodiest war in South American history. Competing nationalisms, boundary conflicts, and fear of Brazilian hegemony in the Río de la Plata are all discussed with excellent analyses of the personalities involved. The author's sympathy for the common solider of all the beligerents is quite clear. Civil War buffs, take notice! Much of this war centered on control of the rivers of the Río de la Plata and in the belligerents' employment of river navies, weaponry, tactics, and siegecraft there is an eerie resemblance to the Western Theater of the North American war. Those who wish to know more about this defining moment of national development for the four states involved in the conflict should get this work.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.