So Far from God Book Summary - So Far from God Book explained in key points

So Far from God summary

John S.D. Eisenhower

Brief summary

So Far from God by John S.D. Eisenhower is a captivating historical account that examines the complexities and challenges faced by American soldiers during World War II, offering a unique perspective on an unforgettable era.

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    So Far from God
    Summary of key ideas

    Religion and Superstition Collide

    In John S.D. Eisenhower's So Far from God, the turbulent era of the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) unfolds right before our eyes. It begins with the inception of the conflict, taking us on a nuanced journey through a divisive episode in both countries' histories. The opening of the narrative presents the political and religious turmoil preceding the war, revealing an unsteady Mexico struggling to maintain its territories whilst grappling with issues of regionalism and centralism within its governance.

    The author vividly portrays the clash between religious piety and rampant superstition that marked Mexican society, alluding to its pervading influence even within the rank-and-file soldiers on the battleground. Eisenhower also adeptly explains how such ingrained spiritual beliefs, coupled with deep-seated societal divisions, hindered Mexico's unified defense against the invading American forces.

    American Expansionism and War

    The story then progresses to explore the intricate details of American motivations, primarily its aims of territorial expansion guided by the belief in Manifest Destiny. Here, we get to know national figures like President James K. Polk, who spearheaded the war effort with his eye on California and New Mexico, fertile lands then under Mexican control. This part of the book also explores how a determined yet relatively inexperienced American military, set foot on Mexican territory, showcasing its resilience and adaptability in the face of unfamiliar terrain and diseases.

    Eisenhower proceeds to discuss the various military campaigns, capturing the stark contrasts between the disciplined American forces and the valiant yet ill-coordinated Mexican troops. Throughout, he brings the reader face-to-face with brutal battles and strategic war maneuvers, highlighting key events like the Siege of Veracruz, Battle of Cerro Gordo, and the hard-fought Battle for Mexico City.

    End of War: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo

    As we advance towards the end of So Far from God, we witness the culmination of the conflict with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. This pivotal moment marked the end of the Mexican-American War, ceding immense territories, including modern-day California, Texas, and New Mexico, to American control.

    This section effectively captures the deepening crisis within the Mexican leadership, underscored by their failure to secure a better peace deal. In this chapter, Eisenhower argues that it was Mexico's internal divisions and lack of a clear national identity, more than the sheer force of the American military, that led to its downfall.

    Ramifications and Legacies

    In the final part of the book, Eisenhower explores the profound long-term implications of the Mexican-American War. He highlights how it served as a training ground for American officers who would later play crucial roles in the Civil War. Similarly, he points out that for Mexico, this war laid the groundwork for eventual political and social reforms, albeit at a painful cost.

    Ultimately, So Far from God provides a balanced and comprehensive view of the Mexican-American War, highlighting the socio-ethnic, political, and religious complexities at its core. Through his expert storytelling, Eisenhower demonstrates the multi-faceted nature of history where two neighboring nations, informed by different ethos, clashed in a battle of territorial dominance and national identity.

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    What is So Far from God about?

    'So Far from God' by John S.D. Eisenhower is a historical account of the Mexican-American War. It offers a comprehensive exploration of the political, military, and social factors that led to this conflict. Drawing from primary sources and expert analysis, this book provides valuable insights into this pivotal chapter in American history.

    Who should read So Far from God?

    • Anyone interested in historical events and World War II
    • Readers who want to gain insights into the life and presidency of Dwight D. Eisenhower
    • People who enjoy reading biographies and learning about influential figures in history

    About the Author

    John S.D. Eisenhower was an American historian, author, and military officer. He was the son of President Dwight D. Eisenhower and served as an Army officer during World War II. Eisenhower wrote extensively on military history and his works include "The Bitter Woods" and "So Far from God." He was also a prolific biographer, writing about his father and other notable figures in history. Overall, Eisenhower made significant contributions to the field of military history with his insightful and well-researched writings.

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