The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

from the Mexican perspective can start here. Anyone interested in the scope of
contemporary Mexican art dealing with the war will also be highly rewarded by
getting this volume. Properly translated and introduced, La intervenci6n norteam-
ericana would be a very useful way of introducing the American reading public to
some of the historical baggage that U.S.-Mexican relations carry today.
Southwest Texas State University JEsis F. DE LA TEJA
Historical Dictionary of the United States-Mexican War. By Edward H. Moseley and
Paul C. Clark Jr. (Lanham, Md.: The Scarecrow Press, Inc., 1997. Pp.
liv+345. Maps, illustrations, editor's foreword, preface, chronology, intro-
duction, dictionary, bibliography, author profiles. ISBN 0-8108-3334-4-
$59.00, cloth).
This book, published in the sesquicentennial year of the Mexican War, is not
meant, as the authors make clear, to be interpretive history. Rather "its purpose
is to serve as a reference work" (p. xxix). In that ambition, they succeed al-
though some interpretation is inevitable as they candidly concede, and as the
thoughtful reader doubtless will perceive.
The editors, both Latin Americanists, examined printed and manuscript mate-
rial, and they visited major sites that included not merely battlefields but also
approach routes, logistical centers, operational areas, and the like. In that enter-
prise, they brought along their skills as infantry officers and an awareness of ter-
rain, climate, weaponry, and such.
The volume's value is enhanced by a brief but excellent introduction, a well-
presented chronology, and a solid bibliographical essay in which they openly
and decently acknowledge their debt to previously published compilations, most
notably Seymour Connor and Odie Faulk, Norman E. Tuturow, and Jenkins Gar-
rett. This dictionary, however, is no mere rewriting; it has its own strengths not
the least of which is its detail, surprising in view of its compactness. Well over a
thousand items are contained in only 283 pages.
For all the dictionary's unquestioned worth, there are, inevitably, a few times
here and there, where one will wish for a bit more clarity, or perhaps one might
say consistency. For example, the comment on John C. Calhoun in the introduc-
tion, on the surface at least, seems to contradict his entry in the corpus of the
dictionary. In the first instance, one is told that Calhoun was an "ardent support-
er of expansion" into Texas (p. 5), but in the second he is described as outspo-
ken "against the annexation" (p. 67). The latter description appears to be the
more nearly accurate. Calhoun saw the benefit of Texas's acquisition as a slave
state offset by an even greater and accompanying addition of free territory that
would tend to overwhelm the South in future years. As late as the Senate vote,
war was approved by a lopsided 40-2 decision; but even then, Calhoun not only
spoke against it but also abstained in the ballot. The misleading inconsistency
surely was not intended by the authors, but its presence, nevertheless,, is a dis-
traction.
To repeat, this modest adverse criticism notwithstanding, it must be plainly

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 102, July 1998 - April, 1999. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101219/. Accessed April 20, 2014.