Cover image for Encyclopedia of the Mexican-American War
Encyclopedia of the Mexican-American War
Crawford, Mark, 1954-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Santa Barbara, Calif. : ABC-CLIO, [1999]

Physical Description:
xx, 350 pages : illustrations, maps ; 26 cm
An encyclopedia of the Mexican-American War, including excerpts from eyewitness accounts that highlight the day-to-day reality of marching and fighting.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E404 .C93 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks-Non circulating

On Order



A fully illustrated compendium of pivotal figures, battles, and political strategies of the Mexican-American War.

* A-Z entries range over such diverse subjects as the Battle of El Brazito, John C. Calhoun, Antonio Campazano, Manifest Destiny, and many more

* An extensive bibliography of titles in both English and Spanish guides readers in further explorations

* A chronology provides an overview of key events

Author Notes

Mark Crawford is a professional geologist and science editor.

David S. Heidler , PhD, is an independent scholar.

Jeanne T. Heidler is professor and director of American history at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

As the author states in his preface, the Mexican-American War "is one of the least-understood conflicts in U.S. history and generally forgotten when compared with larger wars. Yet it had one of the highest U.S. mortality rates of any U.S. war, gave the U.S. California and the Southwest, and devastated the struggling new Republic of Mexico, including taking over half of its territory." The purpose of the encyclopedia "is to increase reader's awareness by exploring people and events, some big and some small, but all of them important." Content includes a table of contents, an introduction, the entries, a chronology, a bibliography, and an index. The introduction provides an overview of the complex and various causes that sparked the war. Entries are alphabetically arranged, followed by a three-page chronology of events from before the war in 1830 going through and up to the last official days of the war and an extensive, 25-page bibliography. The index indicates main entries in bold type. The 458 entries cover people (e.g., Juan Almonte Nepomuceno, Henry Clay, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Andrew Jackson), battles, places, and extenuating factors such as disease, weapons, and political treaties. The majority of entries are about people and events and run from one paragraph to two pages. In the context of the war, the length of the articles on individuals is appropriate. Most entries have cross-references, and all conclude with further reading lists. Illustrations include lithographs from newspapers at the time and four small maps; additional maps would have been useful. The bibliography includes references in English and Spanish; primary and secondary sources; books, articles, and dissertations; original government reports; regimental reports; and accounts by soldiers of all ranks and by war correspondents. Several standard works are cited, including Our Army on the Rio Grande (Carey and Hart, 1846), by T. B. Thorbe, a correspondent from New Orleans who wrote the first accounts of the war; War with Mexico, by Justin H. Smith (Macmillan, 1919); and the more modern So Far from God: The U.S. War with Mexico, 1846^-1848, by John S. D. Eisenhower (Random House, 1989). This work is a good ready-reference choice for high-school and up as well as for public libraries despite the dearth of maps that would have enhanced understanding and the not inconsiderable price. Another recent work, Macmillan's United States and Mexico at War [RBB Ag 98], is more scholarly and comprehensive (covering the years from 1821 to 1854) and also better illustrated. Libraries that have purchased the Macmillan volume may not need an additional book, but Encyclopedia of the Mexican-American War does fill a gap in U.S. and Mexican history.

Choice Review

For a conflict that cost Mexico approximately half its territory and served as the training ground for many officers on both sides of the US Civil War, the Mexican-American War has been little covered in the reference literature. Crawford (geologist and science editor) joins consulting editors David S. Heidler and Jeanne T. Heidler (historians and joint editors of Encyclopedia of the War of 1812, CH, May'98) to provide a subject encyclopedia about that war. Crawford's introduction intends to provide context by examining the conflict's root causes. The four maps (a general map of the theater of war, the battle of Buena Vista, the siege of Vera Cruz, and American capture of Mexico City) are woefully inadequate considering the scope of the conflict. The alphabetically arranged entries in the encyclopedia proper are supplemented by numerous black-and- white illustrations. The compilers' difficulty in locating information (especially biographical) about the Mexicans results in a decided bias toward the US side of the conflict. A brief chronology and a 26-page bibliography of English- and Spanish-language titles conclude the work. Despite its shortcomings, this encyclopedia supplants Edward H. Moseley and Paul C. Clark's Historical Dictionary of United States-Mexican War (1997) as the best ready-reference title available on the subject. Recommended for military history collections. J. R. Burch Jr.; Cumberland College