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Sources about atrocities in the Southwest?
June 29, 2009 1:15 PM   Subscribe

What are the best nonfiction sources about the atrocities surrounding the Mexican-American War and related Native American wars?

Having recently read In the Rogue Blood and being now halfway through Blood Meridian, I'm curious how close to fact the authors are when describing the absolute horrors committed in the Southwest during the 19th century. I'd love to find an engaging history book on the subject, but will take any suggestions for sources.
posted by Bookhouse to Society & Culture (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
bury my heart at wounded knee?

a frightening read.
posted by the_very_hungry_caterpillar at 1:42 PM on June 29, 2009 [1 favorite]


Although I recall it speaking more about non-war atrocities, The Other Californians talks a lot about the treatment of Native Americans and other minorities during the Mexican-American war period.
posted by JauntyFedora at 1:52 PM on June 29, 2009


The Rogue's March is the story of the San Patricios -- a battalion in the Mexican army composed mainly of Irish deserters from the US army. It provides a good description of how the Irish (and other Catholics) were mistreated in the US at that time. Many of them enlisted under the impression that they would fight the British in the Northwest Territories, but ended up fighting fellow Catholics in Mexico.
posted by joaquim at 1:55 PM on June 29, 2009


Shadows at Dawn by Karl Jacoby is a detailed account of the Camp Grant Massacre of 1871 - truly heinous
posted by jammy at 2:07 PM on June 29, 2009


War of a Thousand Deserts: Indian Raids and the U.S.-Mexican War by Brian Delay
posted by jammy at 2:33 PM on June 29, 2009


one more: A Short, Offhand, Killing Affair: Soldiers and Social Conflict during the Mexican-American War by Paul Foos
posted by jammy at 2:38 PM on June 29, 2009


I assume you already have Zinn's "A Peoples' History of the United States?"
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:56 PM on June 29, 2009


So Far from God: The U.S. War With Mexico, 1846-1848 is a good overview of the conflict.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:24 PM on June 29, 2009


This may be overkill (sorry) but the list is largely contemporary.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:24 PM on June 29, 2009


Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano - focuses a bit farther south than you're talking about, but relevant nevertheless.
posted by crazylegs at 6:39 PM on June 29, 2009


Larry McMurtry gave generally positive reviews (not available on the web, sadly) to two recent books in the NYRB. The books are War of a Thousand Deserts: Indian Raids and the US–Mexican War and Shadows at Dawn: A Borderland Massacre and the Violence of History
The two action-packed and densely argued histories by Brian DeLay and Karl Jacoby concern themselves with the terror, carnage, and widespread desolation suffered by the citizens of northern Mexico and the American Southwest, mainly in the second and third quarters of the nineteenth century.
posted by shothotbot at 6:47 PM on June 29, 2009


The key source material for Blood Meridian is My Confession by Samuel Chamberlain. While Chamberlain may have played a little fast and loose with the facts on occasion, it is shocking how closely Blood Meridian follows the historical narrative. Most of Chamberlain's book documents his involvement in the Mexican-American War, only the last 30 pages or so deal with his involvement with the Glanton Gang.
posted by BigSky at 1:36 PM on June 30, 2009 [1 favorite]


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