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Last Updated on May 6, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 184

[Bound for the Rio Grande: The Mexican Struggle, 1845–1850] is not another history from the Mexican or Mexican-American viewpoint, but a study of how the war with Mexico grew out of the spirit of Manifest Destiny and the conflict between anti-and pro-slavery forces…. Meltzer devotes some attention to the very fluid political situation in Mexico and to Santa Anna's overconfident strategy, but the primary sources principally reveal the American soldier's disillusionment with the violence, cruelty and bungling of this "most abominable war." In one especially interesting chapter, Meltzer reports on widespread desertion from the American army and on the formation of the San Patricio Battalion, composed of former soldiers (many of them Irish Catholic immigrants) who fought for the Mexican cause in a number of important battles…. And Meltzer draws together a number of critical issues—including slavery, expansionism and the Presidential conduct of foreign policy—which converge to make the Mexican War such an important period in the American past.

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A review of "Bound for the Rio Grande: The Mexican Struggle, 1845–1850," in Kirkus Reviews (copyright © 1974 The Kirkus Service, Inc.), Vol. XLII, No. 9, May 1, 1974, p. 493.

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