To the Halls of the Montezumas (Magill's Literary Annual 1986)
Wars, by their nature, tend to engulf both participants and spectators in a fast-moving chain of events while generating much interest and comment. The war with Mexico (1846-1848) proved to be no exception. American public attention was already focused on Mexico in the wake of Texas’ recent war for independence and the controversy surrounding Texas’ annexation by the United States in 1845. The country was, it seemed, looking for an excuse to teach the Mexicans a lesson, and when events both real and imagined led to a declaration of war, the country responded with volunteers and a wide-ranging outpouring of expressions of approval.
Rather than a military history of the Mexican War, Robert W. Johannsen’s To the Halls of the Montezumas: The Mexican War in the American Imagination is an examination of the ways in which the country perceived and interpreted the war—in the press, popular culture, literature, and the arts. The patriotism which the war inspired resulted in an outpouring of writing and artistic works that reflected many of the values and assumptions of nineteenth century American culture—attitudes toward romanticism, republicanism, nationalism, racism, and other aspects of nineteenth century life.
The war was a celebration of patriotism and nationalism, and it fostered a period of national unity even as its successful prosecution was laying the ground for disunity. Sectionalism was brushed aside, even though some...
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1986)
Booklist. LXXXI, March 1, 1985, p. 922.
Choice. XXII, July, 1985, p. 1691.
History: Reviews of New Books. XIII, May, 1985, p. 124.
Kirkus Reviews. LII, December 15, 1984, p. 1187.
Library Journal. CX, February 15, 1985, p. 167.
The New York Times Book Review. XC, April 14, 1985, p. 37.
The New Yorker. LXI, September 16, 1985, p. 123.
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