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Publisher's Summary

Nearly all of the Civil War's greatest soldiers - Grant, Lee, Sherman, Davis, and Jackson - were forged in the heat of the Mexican War. This is their story.The Mexican War has faded from our national memory, but it was a struggle of enormous significance. It was the first U.S. war waged on foreign soil, and it nearly doubled the size of our nation. At this fascinating juncture of American history, a group of young men came together to fight as friends - only, years later, to fight again as enemies.Full of dramatic battles, daring rescues, secret missions, soaring triumphs, and tragic losses, The Training Ground is history at its finest.
©2008 Martin Dugard; (P)2008 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Richard on 05-16-09

Excellent Story

Not a detailed history of the war, but a researched element of the conflict. For Civil War buffs, if you haven't read about the details of this conflict, you will miss the reason why your favorite General (blue or gray) is the way they were. The author keeps you focused on the reason for the story, not a diatribe on how the war was unjust. It will leave you wondering how this "band of brothers" could ever fight each other. Maybe there was something to 1860's state loyalty. Manifest Destiny has lost its meaning to modern scholars, but the future soldiers for and against slavery were trained for the horrific clash of the Civil War. The American character had been established 150 years before, but it was clearly demonstrated during the short 18 months war as told by the author. Even our enemies today would do well to study this American way of fighting before starting any future conflicts against the US.

The author would do well to write a definitive account of the Battle of Monterrey and/or Mexico City. Not one about the Campaigns, these have been done. No revisionism typical of modern histories, but recognizing the validity of Manifest Destiny of 1846. The bravery of both the American and Mexican soldiers deserve any detailed accounting of the war.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Joel Langenfeld on 11-18-08

Flawed, but engaging nevertheless.

The title pretty much sums up the authors main thesis - that the Mexican War was unique in both molding the characters of many notable figures of the Civil War, as well as strengthening the bonds they'd already formed through their tenure at West Point.

His coverage of the war itself sometimes takes a back seat to the "characterizations" of Grant, Lee, Jefferson Davis and George Meade, but is still compelling - especially from a political perspective. However, there were some gaffes in offhanded comments about the War of 1812 and the Civil War. For example, characterizing Pickett's Charge as a "one of the great *cavalry* charges of the Civil War" left one scratching their head - especially given that George Pickett was one of figures highlighted (albeit only briefly).

Still, the book is worth the effort, if only to shed some light on an often-ignored chapter of American history.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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