Soon after emigrating from Germany to the United States, Frederick Zeh impulsively joined the army as war with Mexico loomed. His written account is the first book-length description of the Mexican War by a German-American participant--a significant contribution, given that nearly half the regular army was made up of immigrant recruits. Although Zeh held the lowly rank of "laborer" in the army, he was well educated and an astute observer, and his story is both lively and well written. Besides the horror of battles, he describes relations between officers and enlisted men, military punishment, and day-to-day life. He is unusually candid about abuses that occurred in the American army and toward Mexican civilians. The editors' introduction gives biographical information on Zeh and sets the stage for the narrative. An epilogue traces the highlights of his activities in the half-century following his military service.
WILLIAM J. ORR, a foreign service officer with the U.S. State Department since 1987, received his Ph. D. from University of Wisconsin, Madison, and has taught European history at Beloit College and Carroll College. He has done extensive work in translating and editing foreign language documents pertaining to U.S. history.ROBERT RYAL MILLER died in 2004. Among his many books on U.S.-Mexican history is "The Mexican War Journal and Letters of Ralph W. Kirkham."
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