Drumms War

William F. Bragg, Author, R. C. House, With
William F. Bragg, Author, R. C. House, With M. Evans and Company $16.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-87131-695-0
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This compelling historical novel by House ( The Sudden Gun ) and the late western writer Bragg suggests that skepticism is indeed a proper attitude when discussing the Mexican War (1846-1848). Just prior to the war, the U.S. government orders a small contingent of dragoons, including topographical experts led by Capt. Andrew Jackson Drumm, into the Southwest to report on Mexican strength. Seemingly jinxed from the beginning, the corps loses many men in a running battle with Mexican regulars. Upon their return to barracks in St. Louis, Drumm and two fellow officers they must answer to a rigid army bureaucracy and are arrested for willful disregard for military property. Eventually vindicated, they are welcomed home to Washington, saluted by the secretary of War and feted at the home of future president James Buchanan, then secretary of State. Detailed and meticulously researched, Bragg and House's tale of an ill-fated mission is leavened by good-natured humor. Only the abrupt ending to this otherwise crackerjack adventure, with the book's heroes heading off to war immediately after the death of Drumm's fiancee, rings false. (Dec.)
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