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Eagles and Empire

  A war that started under questionable pretexts. A president who is convinced of his country’s might and right. A military and political stalemate with United States troops occupying a foreign land against a stubborn and deadly insurgency.The time is the 1840s. The enemy is Mexico. And the war is one of the least known and most important in both Mexican and United States history—a war that really began much earlier and whose consequences still echo today. Acclaimed historian David A. Clary presents this epic struggle for a continent for the first time from both sides, using original Mexican and North American sources.To Mexico, the yanqui illegals pouring into her territories of Texas and California threatened Mexican sovereignty and security. To North Americans, they manifested their destiny to rule the continent. Two nations, each raising an eagle as her standard, blustered and blundered into a war because no one on either side was brave enough to resist the march into it.In Eagles and Empire, Clary draws vivid portraits of the period’s most fascinating characters, from the cold-eyed, stubborn United States president James K. Polk to Mexico’s flamboyant and corrupt general-president-dictator Antonio López de Santa Anna; from the legendary and ruthless explorer John Charles Frémont and his guide Kit Carson to the “Angel of Monterey” and the “Boy Heroes” of Chapultepec; from future presidents such as Benito Juárez and Zachary Taylor to soldiers who became famous in both the Mexican and North American civil wars that soon followed. Here also are the Irish Soldiers of Mexico and the Yankee sailors of two squadrons, hero-bandits and fighting Indians of both nations, guerrilleros and Texas Rangers, and some amazing women soldiers.From the fall of the Alamo and harrowing marches of thousands of miles in the wilderness to the bloody, dramatic conquest of Mexico City and the insurgency that continued to resist, this is a riveting narrative history that weaves together events on the front lines—where Indian raids, guerrilla attacks, and atrocities were matched by stunning acts of heroism and sacrifice—with battles on two home fronts—political backstabbing, civil uprisings, and battle lines between Union and Confederacy and Mexican Federalists and Centralists already being drawn. The definitive account of a defining war, Eagles and Empire is page-turning history—a book not to be missed.From the Hardcover edition.

A Tramp's Notebook

  a selection from the first chapter:A WATCH-NIGHT SERVICE IN SAN FRANCISCO How much bitter experience a man keeps to himself, let the experienced say, for they only know. For my own part I am conscious that it rarely occurs to me to mention some things which happened either in England or out of it, and that if I do, it is only to pass them over casually as mere facts that had no profound effect upon me. But the importance of any hardship cannot be estimated at once; it has either psychological or physiological sequelæ, or both. The attack of malaria passes, but in long years after it returns anew and devouring the red blood, it breaks down a man's cheerfulness; a night in a miasmic forest may make him for ever a slave in a dismal swamp of pessimism. It is so with starvation, and all[Pg 2] things physical. It is so with things mental, with degradations, with desolation; the scars and more than scars remain: there is outward healing, it may be, but we often flinch at mere remembrance. But time is the vehicle of philosophy; as the years pass we learn that in all our misfortunes was something not without value. And what was of worth grows more precious as our harsher memories fade. Then we may bear to speak of the days in which we were more than outcasts; when we recognised ourselves as such, and in strange calm and with a broken spirit made no claim on Society. For this is to be an outcast indeed. I came to San Francisco in the winter of 1885 and remained in that city for some six months. What happened to me on broad lines I have written in the last chapter of The Western Avernus. But nowadays I know that in that chapter I have told nothing. It is a bare recital of events with no more than indications of deeper miseries, and some day it may chance to be rewritten in full. That I was of poor health was nothing, that I could obtain no employment was little, that I came to depend on help was more. But the mental side underlying was the worst, for the[Pg 3] iron entered into my soul. I lost energy. I went dreaming. I was divorced from humanity. America is a hard place, for it has been made by hard men. People who would not be crushed in the East have gone to the West. The Puritan element has little softness in it, and in some places even now gives rise to phenomena of an excessive and religious brutality which tortures without pity, without sympathy. But not only is the Puritan hard; all other elements in America are hard too. The rougher emigrant, the unconquerable rebel, the natural adventurer, the desperado seeking a lawless realm, men who were iron and men with the fierce courage which carries its vices with its virtues, have made the United States. The rude individualist of Europe who felt the slow pressure of social atoms which precedes their welding, the beginning of socialism, is the father of America. He has little pity, little tolerance, little charity. In what States in America is there any poor law? Only an emigration agent, hungry for steamship percentages, will declare there are no poor there now. The survival of the fit is the survival of the strong; every man for himself and the devil take the hindmost might replace[Pg 4] the legend on the silver dollar and the golden eagle, without any American denying it in his heart....

The Goose Girl

  CONTENTS: I. SOME IN RAGS II. AN AMERICAN CONSULT III. FOR HER COUNTRY IV. THE YOUNG VINTNER V. A COMPATRIOT VI. AT THE BLACK EAGLE VII. AN ELDER BROTHER VIII. THE KING'S LETTER IX. GRETCHEN'S DAY X. AFFAIRS OF STATE XI. THE SOCIALISTS XII. LOVE'S DOUBTS XII.I A DAY DREAM XIV. FIND THE WOMAN XV. THE WRONG MAN XVI. HER FAN XVII. AFTER THE VINTAGE XVIII. A WHITE SCAR XIX. DISCLOSURES XX. THE KING XXI. TWIN LOCKETS XXII. A LITTLE FINGER XXIII. HAPPINESS *** CHAPTER I SOME IN RAGS An old man, clothed in picturesque patches and tatters, paused and leaned on his stout oak staff. He was tired. He drew off his rusty felt hat, swept a sleeve across his forehead, and sighed. He had walked many miles that day, and even now the journey's end, near as it really was, seemed far away. Ah, but he would sleep soundly that night, whether the bed were of earth or of straw. His peasant garb rather enhanced his fine head. His eyes were blue and clear and far-seeing, the eyes of a hunter or a woodsman, of a man who watches the shadows in the forest at night or the dim, wavering lines on the horizon at daytime; things near or far or roundabout. His brow was high, his nose large and bridged; a face of more angles than contours, bristling with gray spikes, like one who has gone unshaven several days. His hands, folded over the round, polished knuckle of his staff, were tanned and soiled, but they were long and slender, and the callouses were pink, a certain indication that they were fresh. The afternoon glow of the September sun burned along the dusty white highway. From where he stood the road trailed off miles behind and wound up five hundred feet or more above him to the ancient city of Dreiberg. It was not a steep road, but a long and weary one, a steady, enervating, unbroken climb. To the left the mighty cliff reared its granite side to the hanging city, broke in a wide plain, and then went on up several thousand feet to the ledges of dragon-green ice and snow. To the right sparkled and flashed a wild mountain stream on its way to the broad, fertile valley, which, mistily green and brown and yellow with vineyards and hops and corn, spread out and on to the north, stopping abruptly at the base of the more formidable chain of mountains. Across this lofty jumble of barren rock and glacial cleft, now purpling and darkening as the sun mellowed in its decline, lay the kingdom of Jugendheit; and toward this the wayfarer gazed meditatively, absorbing little or nothing of the exquisite panorama. By and by his gaze wavered, and that particular patch in the valley, brown from the beating of many iron-shod horses, caught and chained his interest for a space. It was the military field, and it glittered and scintillated as squadron after squadron of cavalry dashed from side to side or wheeled in bewildering circles.

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