The Mexican-American War was one of the pivotal moments in 19th-century American history. It bridged the Jacksonian period and the Civil War era and was a highly controversial and politically partisan conflict, the first American war to result in significant land acquisition for the young nation. In The Dead March: A History of the Mexican-American War
(Harvard University Press, 2017), Indiana University Professor of history Peter Guardino
argues that in order to understand the war’s beginnings, its course, and its legacy, both Mexico and the United States need to be considered as equal halves in the conflict’s history. Guardino uses comparative social history to examine the lived experiences of soldiers and civilians, men and women, who lived and died in the deserts of northern and central Mexico in the late 1840s. Guardino offers a cautionary tale about what happens when nationalism drives international relations and the unforeseen consequences that arise from wars of conquest. The Dead March
came out with Harvard University Press in 2017 and last year won book prizes from the Society for Military History, the Conference on Latin American History, and the Western History Association.
Stephen Hausmann is an Assistant Professor of US History at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. He teaches courses on modern US history, environmental history, and Indigenous history and is currently working on his book manuscript, an environmental history of the Black Hills of South Dakota and Wyoming.