WHO: Amy S. Greenberg
A WICKED WAR: Polk, Clay, Lincoln, and the 1846 U.S. Invasion of Mexico
Published by Knopf November 8, 2012
“Probing and illuminating.
“The seldom-sung Mexican War emerges as one of America’s most morally ambiguous and divisive conflicts in this illuminating history by Greenberg, who gives sketchy, colorful recaps of the battlefield highlights, but focuses on the war’s politics and shifting ideological currents.
“Provoked by President James K. Polk to further his expansionist program and silence Whig critics, the war began as a wildly popular vehicle for manifest destiny and American fantasies of martial vigor. But Greenberg demonstrates the rapid spread of public disillusionment and opposition, despite triumphant victories, as casualties and desertion took their toll on war-weary soldiers; press reports of American atrocities tarnished the war’s glamour, and a nationwide antiwar movement condemned the invasion as an unjust landgrab.
“The author arranges her lucid narrative around vivid profiles of central and marginal figures, including first lady Sarah Polk, an influential adviser to her husband; Abraham Lincoln, whose politics were galvanized by the war; and envoy Nicholas Trist, who was so ashamed of the war that he disobeyed Polk’s orders and negotiated a relatively lenient peace treaty. Greenberg’s probing account of this war reveals its drama—and its very modern complexity.”
“A well-rendered, muscular history of a war whose ramifications are still
being carefully calibrated.” —KIRKUS REVIEWS
“Provocative and freshly original” —Gilbert Taylor, BOOKLIST
President James K. Polk’s cabinet in 1846. When the early photographic technique known as daguerreotype was less than ten years old, Sarah Polk arranged for a photographer to be present just after a cabinet breakfast. The result was the first photograph ever taken in the White House, and the first of a presidential cabinet. From left to right: Attorney General John Y. Mason, Secretary of War William Marcy, Postmaster General Cave Johnson, President Polk, Navy Secretary George Bancroft, and Treasury Secretary Robert J. Walker. Secretary of State James Buchanan is absent. (Photo by John Plumbe Jr. Courtesy James K. Polk Memorial Association, Columbia, Tennessee.)
Publicist for this title:
Kim Thornton | 212-572-2299 | firstname.lastname@example.org