The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002

Book Reviews

The book's title, Tornel and Santa Anna, is somewhat misleading as this mono-
graph is really a biography of the former. The work is straightforward and
chronologically organized, tracing the life of Tornel from his childhood years in
Orizaba to the corridors of power in and around Mexico City until his death in
1853. It is a biography of a "professional politician" trying to reconcile contra-
dictory goals, like espousing certain political ideals, preserving Santa Anna's pa-
tronage, and making a living by finding employment in the government more or
less continuously for three decades. Fowler's book is well researched and well
crafted. When confronted with contradictory information or gaps in the histori-
cal record, the author provides alternative explanations letting the reader make
up his/her own mind. Another strength of this work is that even though it focus-
es on the life of Tornel and to a lesser extent that of Santa Anna, it nonetheless
addresses broader themes of Mexican history. For instance, there are informa-
tive passages on how Creoles in general reacted to the establishment of Itur-
bide's empire, the unfolding of the yorkino-escosis conflict, a vivid description of
the Pariin riot, and an interesting aside on Creole zndigenzsmo. At times the au-
thor yields to the temptation to play up his character when discussing Tornel's
role in persuading Santa Anna to join the independence movement or his influ-
ence over President Guadalupe Victoria, or when the author writes that "al-
though there is no documentary evidence, Tornel and Santa Anna almost
certainly must have sat down and plotted the forthcoming overthrow of the Bus-
tamante regime" (p. 125).
Overall, this biography succeeds in demonstrating that, for all his loyalty to
the mercurial Santa Anna, Tornel had his own political ideas that included re-
spect for the written law, promotion of education, and reform of the army. This
biography shows the drama and tensions prevalent in Mexico's cutthroat early-
nineteenth-century political world, where ideals, patronage, and survival coexist-
ed in complicated arrangements.
University of California, Davzs Andr6s Resendez
Dueling Eagles: Reinterpreting the U.S.-Mexican War, x846-I848. Edited by Richard
V. Francaviglia and Douglas W. Richmond. (Fort Worth: Texas Christian
University Press, 2ooo. Pp. viii-191. Introduction, selected reading and
viewing, contributors, index. ISBN o-87565-232-8. $16.95, paper.)
Five years ago the University of Texas at Arlington organized a symposium
to mark the sesquicentennial of the beginning of the U.S. Mexican War.
They invited U.S. and Mexican scholars to develop original papers and this
book is the result. The anthology presents new perspectives on this impor-
tant event and reflects an admirable attempt to transcend nationalist narra-
tives about this conflict and present a readable anthology based on current
scholarship.
Richard V. Francaviglia's essay on the geographic legacies of the war help
us to appreciate how little the north Americans knew about this region as
well as general ways in which the physical landscape of the region influenced
the war as well as the cultural developments that followed. Sam Haynes's
scholarship unravels the British involvement with Texas prior to the war and

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 105, July 2001 - April, 2002. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101222/. Accessed July 22, 2014.