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The Training Ground : Grant, Lee, Sherman, and Davis in the Mexican War, 1846-1848
by Martin Dugard


Overview - Nearly all of the Civil War's greatest soldiers had been forged in the heat of the Mexican War. Full of dramatic battles, daring rescues, secret missions, soaring triumphs and tragic losses, this text looks at that time and presents history at its finest.  Read more...

 
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More About The Training Ground by Martin Dugard
 
 
 
Overview

Nearly all of the Civil War's greatest soldiers had been forged in the heat of the Mexican War. Full of dramatic battles, daring rescues, secret missions, soaring triumphs and tragic losses, this text looks at that time and presents history at its finest.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780316166256
  • ISBN-10: 0316166251
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company
  • Publish Date: May 2008
  • Page Count: 446

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Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 65.
  • Review Date: 2008-03-17
  • Reviewer: Staff

Dugard (The Last Voyage of Columbus) offers a fast-paced, colloquially written account of the Mexican War of 1848, constructed around the experiences of the U.S. Army’s corps of junior officers. Shaped by the common experience of West Point and tempered by battle, these comrades in arms (including Lee, Grant, Davis and Sherman) matured into the leading generals and statesmen on both sides of the Civil War. Dugard introduces others as well, from Union artilleryman Henry Hunt to Confederate icon Stonewall Jackson, who also learned their craft fighting the Mexicans. At the war’s end, commanding general Winfield Scott saluted West Point’s graduates as the key to America’s victory over Mexico. The image of a band of brothers transformed into enemies by conscience and politics is a familiar trope of the Civil War, but Dugard’s spirited narrative animates a group of men whose force of character, professional skill and ability to think outside conventional limits revitalized the sclerotic army. Readers will conclude this book with reinforced awareness of why the Civil War was so long and so bitterly fought: because, as Dugard shows, the contending armies were shaped and led by a remarkably capable—and experienced—body of officers. (May)

 
BookPage Reviews

Before it all began

A war begun for spurious reasons, initiated at the behest of a U.S. president whose term in office amounted to little more than the flexing of American might. As familiar as that might sound, we're actually talking about the Mexican War and President James K. Polk. Odds are the territory gained in that conflict—including California and New Mexico—may very well have accrued to the U.S. anyway. Yet besides its land-grab aspects, the Mexican War also proved important in later years because it was there that many commanders in the Civil War got their first real battle experience. Martin Dugard's The Training Ground: Grant, Lee, Sherman, and Davis in the Mexican War, 1846-1848 does a wonderful job of explaining the war's origins and political ramifications in the aftermath of the fight for Texas independence. Thereafter, the author follows the lives and careers of the later-to-be-famous military men—including Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, William Tecumseh Sherman, Stonewall Jackson, Joseph Hooker, eventual Confederate president Jefferson Davis and many others—leading up to and including their performance on the other side of the Rio Grande. American forces in Mexico were commanded by Gen. Zachary Taylor, himself elected U.S. president shortly after the war's end. Dugard gives us a full strategic and tactical history of the war, with the coverage of the noted individuals folded neatly within, including the roles they played at battles whose names—Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, Buena Vista—are rarely ever mentioned in common contemporary discourse.

 
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