Friday, April 2, 2010

Booknotes - "Trailing Clouds of Glory"

It is certainly not unusual for scholarly military histories published by academic presses to be authored by individuals with professional backgrounds far afield, and Felice Flanery Lewis's new book Trailing Clouds of Glory: Zachary Taylor's Mexican War Campaign and His Emerging Civil War Leaders (U. of Alabama Press, 2010) appears to be much more than a mere curiosity. The research is weighted heavily toward manuscripts and other primary source materials, and it covers the battles of Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, Monterrey, and Buena Vista in detail similar to that found in Timothy Johnson's recent history of Winfield Scott's Mexico City campaign (A Gallant Little Army). As the subtitle suggests, the careers of officers attached to Taylor who would later became famous Civil War generals is a major focus of the work. Regular readers would be correct in supposing that one of the first things I look at upon cracking open a new campaign history is the cartography. Although, few in number (about one for each battle), the maps here are better than average.

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