Two Armies on the Rio Grande
The First Campaign of the US-Mexican War
Military History - Mexican War - Texas History
6.125 x 9.25, 336 pp.
11 b&w photos. 8 maps. Bib. Index.
Pub Date: 11/07/2014
Williams-Ford Texas A&M University Military History Series
Price:        $45.00 s

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Winner, 2015 Cleotilde P. Garcia Book Prize, sponsored by the Tejano Geneology Society of Austin

Two Armies on the Rio Grande

The First Campaign of the US-Mexican War

By Douglas Murphy

Winner, Clotilde P. Garcia Tejano Book Prize

The opening campaign of the US-Mexican War transformed the map of each nation and shaped the course of conflict.

Armed with a broad range of Mexican military documents and previously unknown US sources, Douglas Murphy provides the first balanced view of early battles such as Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. He reassesses previously covered territory and also poses new questions.

Why did Mexico establish its defenses south of the Rio Grande while claiming territory north of the river? What was Mexico’s strategy in the campaign against the United States? What factors most affected Mexico’s defeat?

In confronting these questions, Murphy shows that the campaign was a complex chess match with undercurrents of political intrigue, economic motivations, and personal animosities as much as military action. Two Armies on the Rio Grande will transform our understanding of the US-Mexican War.

DOUGLAS A. MURPHY is park historian and chief of operations at Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park. He also serves as an adjunct professor of history at the University of Texas at Brownsville.

What Readers Are Saying:

"Two Armies on the Rio Grande is much more than a minutely detailed narrative of the earliest engagements of the US-Mexican War. It manages to vividly recreate the tedium of camp life and the horror of combat; the harshness and beauty of the natural environment; the calculations and intrigues of leaders; and the aspirations and fears of men at war. And it does all this with exhaustive knowledge of, and great sensitivity toward, both sides in the conflict. Assiduously researched and gracefully written, this is military history at its best."--Timothy Henderson, author, A Glorious Defeat: Mexico and Its War with the US

"For over twenty years Douglas Murphy has worked as an historian at the Palo Alto Battlefield National Historical Park, the only federally-protected site from the US-Mexican War. Drawing upon battle reports, journals, and letters from both US and Mexican archives, Murphy provides a rare glimpse into the minds of the leaders of the opposing sides and skillfully narrates the inciting events that ultimately led to conflict. Two Armies on the Rio Grande fills an important gap in the historiography of the US-Mexican War and sheds considerable light on a poorly understood campaign that ultimately changed the course of world history."--Michael Scott Van Wagenen, author, Remembering the Forgotten War: The Enduring Legacies of the US-Mexican War

“It is extremely rare to find such a well-researched, well laid out and colorful story in a historical document. Douglas Murphy has taken dates and people of history and done just that. . . Murphy has explained brilliantly not only conditions, but also an in-depth look at the way the war was viewed by both countries and especially insight into the way military men think and react. . . it is refreshing to see such candor and fairness when dealing with the conflicts of man.”—True West Magazine

“Murphy has performed a valuable service for scholars of the war, the antebellum U.S., and the early Mexican republic.”—The Journal of Military History 

“. . . greatly expands the scholarship on the U.S.-Mexico War by providing readers with a far better look at the Mexican side of the conflict. Murphy’s balanced approach to the narrative gives new insights into why the first campaign of the war followed the course that it did. This book is important for anyone wanting to learn more about South Texas or the border relationship between the United States and Mexico.”—Southwestern Historical Quarterly

"The book is a contribution to a growing body of scholarship on the U.S.-Mexican War and continued efforts to see the wat from multiple perspectives. Murphy's use of Spanish and English sources paves the way toward a well-rounded approach to military History."-- Journal of Southern History


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