Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Cumberland's examination of original material from the Archivo
Hist6rico de la Defensa Nacional is a noteworthy accomplishment, since
for too long researchers have had to rely mainly on the accounts of Juan
Barragin and Alvaro Obreg6n. Apparently the author did not have an
opportunity to utilize the large Carranza collection at the Fundaci6n
Cultural de CONDUMEX; but even so, it is unlikely that this study
will be surpassed in the near future.
University of Rhode Island ANTHONY BRYAN
An Army for Empire. By Graham A. Cosmas. (Columbia: University of
Missouri Press, 1972. Pp. 334. Illustrations, bibliography, index.
This outstanding book goes far toward erasing the odium which the
United States Army and the War Department received during and after
the war with Spain. Professor Cosmas focuses on the Department's inter-
nal developments in the 188o's and 1890's and shows that war came at
just the wrong time, when the service was implementing improved train-
ing, education, and staff work, and new ordnance. Even given the inevi-
table confusion that came from fighting during this transition, Cosmas
argues that the volunteer army performed well, and better than its
counterpart in the first stages of the Civil War.
Cosmas sets his story in the mainstream of events, and judges major
protagonists. He finds President William McKinley an able commander-
in-chief, well informed, and eager to use professionals first to fight the
war, then to reorganize the service. Cosmas chiefly faults McKinley for
unexpectedly enlarging the army's missions as his diplomatic goals in-
creased. These changes would seem less baffling to Cosmas if he had
delved more deeply into the era's diplomacy. He criticizes General Nel-
son Miles for manufacturing a crisis over "embalmed beef," apparently
for personal and political reasons. He is equally critical of parochial
politicians and national guard lobbyists who opposed an enlarged and
highly skilled federal army. Secretary Russel Alger remains a figure of
some personal sympathy, caught in several political crossfires; but he was
clearly not the man either to reorganize or direct an army.
The Department's adverse image came chiefly from critics in the field,
such as Theodore Roosevelt and war correspondents with political axes
to grind. Critics made the most public impact in attacking food and
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 76, July 1972 - April, 1973. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101202/. Accessed March 9, 2014.