In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

BOOK REVIEWS257 of Romero's personal experiences and observations. Unfortunately, the material seldom provides information that could not be found in the daily newspapers, which is where Romero probably culled most of his information. The reviews lack the drama and insider's view that one finds in the memorandums. Schoonover tells us this is intentional, that the new volume seeks to underscore the links between domestic events and foreign policy by revealing those domestic American events that Romero considered important for furthering Mexican interests in the United States. In this light, the reviews will be useful to students of Mexican-American relations during this stormy period. Schoonover does a more thorough editorial job in the new volume, particularly in relating events in the United States to Romero's diplomatic mission and Mexico's interpretation of the situation abroad. He also supplies notes and a bibliographical essay on current historical literature concerning events and people mentioned by Romero. The first volume had neither. On the other hand, as in his first volume, Schoonover fails to make any but the most basic internal editorial changes in the Romero text, and he never ventures to correct errors made by Romero. For instance, Romero states that Leroy R Walker replaced Braxton Bragg as Confederate secretary of war. Sixteen pages later, he correctly identifies Judah P. Benjamin as the new secretary (although who Benjamin replaced—Walker or Bragg—remains unclear), but then proceeds to make Braxton Bragg (rather than his brother Thomas) the new attorney general. Elsewhere, Romero has Gideon Pillow, Simon Buckner, and Albert S. Johnston being captured at Fort Donelson. When he corrects this error by having Pillow and Buckner retreat from Donelson six pages later, Johnson is still apparently sitting in a Yankee prison. Schoonover allows these and other errors, including misspelled place names, to pass without comment. Overall, Romero's reviews provide diplomatic historians with handy translations of otherwise rare materials, but students of the United States domestic scene between 1860 and 1867 will find them less valuable. Daniel E. Sutherland University of Arkansas The Presidency ofFranklin Pierce. By Larry Gara. (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 1991. Pp. xiv, 218. $25.00.) Gara's volume, best described as a study of the years of the Pierce presidency, is one of the volumes in the American Presidency Series. The author has commendably resisted the trap into which many biographers fall: becoming overly sympathetic with his subject. There is no renovation of Pierce's reputation; rather, he is described as overwhelmed by the demands of the presidency, as a vacillating, inept alcoholic who 258CIVIL WAR HISTORY was deeply pro-Southern in orientation. About the only firm values he held were profound commitments to his party—so profound that he virtually never deviated from a party line, only to be abandoned by that party during his presidency—and to the Union, and the Constitution, as he understood it. But he was incapable of leadership, so that, in Gara's view, the years of his presidency were years of government or administration by cabinet. Within the cabinet there were three strong figures: William Marcy in the State Department; Caleb Cushing, the attorney general; and Jefferson Davis, the secretary of war. The latter two were of the utmost importance on domestic policies and reenforced Pierce's tilt toward the South and against any sort of opposition to the institution of slavery. Marcy was the most moderate of the three, and he performed well in various diplomatic contretemps and crises. Nonetheless , all of these men supported an expansionism marked by bluster and aggressiveness, even to the point of bombarding a British town, Greytown, in Central America. One of the most significant events during the Pierce years, moreover, owed very little to Pierce himself, or even his cabinet: the passage of the Kansas-Nebraska Act was due to Stephen A. Douglas, and its final form owed more to the strong proslavery F Street Mess than to the Pierce administration, even though Pierce was persuaded to support it. One of the real strengths of Gara's account is that he weaves into his study consideration of domestic policies, large and small, and foreign policy problems (framed by proslavery concerns...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6271
Print ISSN
0009-8078
Pages
pp. 257-259
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.