The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935 Page: 155

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Book Reviews and Notices

may be counted for righteousness when the academic scribes of the
New Deal indite the epitaph of the "Capitalistic System."
Santa Anna, the Napoleon of the West. By Frank C. Hanighen.
(New York: Coward McCann, Inc., 1934.)
In the volume under review Mr. Hanighen is dealing with a
topic of growing interest to the student of the history of Mexican
affairs. The history of Mexico from 1821 to 1855, may be said to
be the chronicle of continuous revolutions and counter-revolutions
revolving around the person and activities of Antonio Lopez de
Santa Anna. So completely did his personality dominate the
course of events in Mexico during that time, that the whole period
may properly be called the Santa Anna era. The author of this
popular biographical sketch of Santa Anna covers not only the
public career of the man, but also has an interesting chapter devoted
to the events of his private life, from 1855 to 1876.
The spirit of the work is indicated by the author's declaration
that his book is "the first definitive biography of the outstanding
villain of American history." The style is calculated to catch the
popular ear. Mr. I-Hanighen's comments, interpretations, and con-
clusions with reference to legends and facts uniformly cater to
popular prejudices. He seldom fails to give the darkest hue to the
acts and motives of Santa Anna, whom he denominates variously
"Our Hero," "His Excellency," "Old Peg-leg," etc.
The book was not designed to be a scholarly work. It seems
certain that this will not be the last "definitive biography," if in-
deed it can be said to be definitive at all. It can be said to be the
first serious effort at writing anything like a comprehensive and
popular biography of Santa Anna. This biography represents a
large amount of serious reading and collecting of original ma-
terials. Mr. Hanighen has done considerable research work, as his
bibliography will show. While giving at all times undue emphasis
or importance to unfavorable gossip or legendary accounts coming
without exception from Santa Anna's enemies, the author shows
himself thoroughly familiar with the real facts. He invariably
distinguishes between fact and fiction, but generally injects shady
reflections upon Santa Anna that the adverse stories against him


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935, periodical, 1935; Austin, Texas. ( accessed October 20, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.