A Wicked War presents the definitive history of the 1846 war between the United States and Mexico - a conflict that turned America into a continental power. Amy Greenberg describes the battles between American and Mexican armies, but also delineates the political battles between Democrats and Whigs - the former led by the ruthless Polk, the latter by the charismatic Henry Clay and a young representative from Illinois named Abraham Lincoln. Greenberg brilliantly recounts this key chapter in the creation of the United States with authority and narrative flair.
©2012 Amy Greenberg. (P)2012 HighBridge Company
“Greenberg’s probing account of this war reveals its drama - and its very modern complexity.”(Publishers Weekly)
Greenberg has written a lively political history of the Mexican war and the substantial but disorganized opposition to it. Key players include Henry Clay, James K. Polk, Nicholas Trist, and Abraham Lincoln: all deftly characterized with a few well-chosen anecdotes. The military history is covered in broad strokes - for more detail on that, a better choice would be Martin Dugard's Training Ground. But if you want a clear and vivid picture of the machinations that led to the war and to its ultimate conclusion, this is the book for you.
There are obvious parallels with more recent wars, some of them opposed by many in the US, but Greenberg doesn't hit us over the head with that. Apart from a few somewhat anachronistic references to "embedded journalists," she leaves us to our own conclusions. This is political history, not politicized history.
Caroline Shaffer's narration is equally lively. At first it seemed discordantly "peppy" to me, but as I got used to her style of delivery, I realized her unflagging energy was keeping me drawn to the story. All in all, I really enjoyed it.
Enlightening historical drama
Unique perspectives from well known figures in our country's history
The only thing I was not a huge fan of was how the narrator spoke with a "mexican" accent when quoting mexicans. It seemed to imbue character to a quotation that may have been taken out of context.
This a special combination of amazing historical narrative with the perfect choice of narrator.
Once again I am outraged at my public miseducation as a child. We lionized a few presidents. I was an adult before I truly discovered Andrew Jackson. I never really bothered with the uninteresting Polk and after Greenberg's work it's clear why. His record hardly supports the jingoism of the fairly tales of childhood pedagogy.
Great book about undiscussed history of the Mexican-American War. Unfortunately the narrator distracts from the story. She over-acts and attempts to speak with voices and accents that seem tortured.
nothing narrated by Caroline Shaffer her style is terrible
Really did not have a favorite character. Santana was a poor leader.
voice, tone, theatrical attempts poor. The narration detracted from the enjoyment so much that I quit before the end and read the book.
read the book rather than listen to that woman
Pretty up there. I will listen to it again.
This book is a refreshing and lively take on a period of our history that is largely ignored. I recently read Howard Zinn's "A People's History" and am enjoying these new perspectives. After all, there is some science and some "art" in the interpretation of history. As a woman, I've felt left out of a lot of it throughout my life.
I loved this narrator!!! There was a nasty review I read here from someone who called her "that woman" and I question such a personal reaction. She has a very feminine voice and perhaps that is threatening to some people? She keeps the narration lively and fun and I appreciate that. And whether you like the choice of her voice, she certainly reads intelligently and with clear thought groupings. There's no reason to "hate."
No. This book is dense and requires breaks.
I'll be looking for more from Ms. Greenberg (wish I could be in a class of hers) and Ms. Shaffer.
On level 5 of Robot Hell
Greed, Lies, Racism.
I do not thing there was a particular character that stood out. Rather she handled a range of different people and accents fairly well. At the beginning I was not sure I liked her handling of accents but as time wore on they seemed to come into their own and were quite enjoyable.
No it is far too long for one sitting.
Brett from NC
From the title of this book its obvious that there will be some editoralizing about the topic of the Mexican American war. The beliefs of the author seem to me to be as follows:
James Polk was a very, very bad man who had a lame idea called "maifest destiny". The evil Polk hijacked the presidential election and forced the country to go to war with Mexico. Everyone hated the war, especially Abe Licoln who was a very, very nice man. The nasty old Polk would stop at nothing to acheive his goal of stealing as much land from Mexico as possible and turing it into slave havens.
Editoralizing aside this book can be a real snoozer. It seems that the author gets most of her info from diaries, letters, and newspapers. This leads to lengthy details about everything boring and sketchy detail on everything interesting. For example John J. Hardin's demise on the battel field was quickly outlined but the details of his funeral went on and on and on.
At the end of the day this book did a decent job describing an era of history that is often overshadowed by the civil war. It is facinating to learn how much this war changed the United States and would shape its future. If you don't know anything about the Mexican-American war then this book may be a good introduction if you can get passed the boring parts.
"from the halls of montezuma....."
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