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Other titles in the Lamar Series in Western History series:
War of a Thousand Deserts: Indian Raids and the U.S.-Mexican War (Lamar Series in Western History)by Brian Delay
Synopses & Reviews
In the early 1830s, after decades of relative peace, northern Mexicans and the Indians whom they called and#147;the barbariansand#8221; descended into a terrifying cycle of violence. For the next fifteen years, owing in part to changes unleashed by American expansion, Indian warriors launched devastating attacks across ten Mexican states. Raids and counter-raids claimed thousands of lives, ruined much of northern Mexicoand#8217;s economy, depopulated its countryside, and left man-made and#147;desertsand#8221; in place of thriving settlements. Just as important, this vast interethnic war informed and emboldened U.S. arguments in favor of seizing Mexican territory while leaving northern Mexicans too divided, exhausted, and distracted to resist the American invasion and subsequent occupation.
Exploring Mexican, American, and Indian sources ranging from diplomatic correspondence and congressional debates to captivity narratives and plains Indiansand#8217; pictorial calendars, War of a Thousand Deserts recovers the surprising and previously unrecognized ways in which economic, cultural, and political developments within native communities affected nineteenth-century nation-states. In the process this ambitious book offers a rich and often harrowing new narrative of the era when the United States seized half of Mexicoand#8217;s national territory.
When Martha Summerhayes (1844and#8211;1926) came as a bride to Fort Russell in Wyoming Territory in 1874, she and#8220;saw not much in those first few days besides bright buttons, blue uniforms, and shining swords,and#8221; but soon enough the hard facts of army life began to intrude. Remonstrating with her husband, Jack Wyder Summerhayes, that she had only three rooms and a kitchen instead of and#8220;a whole house,and#8221; she was informed that and#8220;women are not reckoned in at all in the War Department.and#8221;and#160;
Although Martha Summerhayesand#8217;s recollections span a quarter of a century and recount life at a dozen army posts, the heart of this book concerns her experiences during the 1870s in Arizona, where the harsh climate, rattlesnakes, cactus thorns, white desperadoes, and other inconveniences all made for a less-than-desirable posting for the Summerhayeses.
First printed in 1908, Vanished Arizona is Summerhayesand#8217;s memoir of her years as a military wife as her husbandand#8217;s Eighth Regiment conducted Gen. George Crookand#8217;s expedition against the Apaches. It was so well received that she became an instant celebrity and the book a timeless classic. The book retains its place securely among the essential primary records of the frontier-military West because of the narrative skill of the author and her delight in life.
About the Author
Brian DeLay is assistant professor of history, University of California, Berkeley.
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