Kearny's March by Winston Groom
The Epic Creation of the American West, 1846-1847

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In June 1846, General Stephen Watts Kearny rode out of Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, with two thousand soldiers, bound for California. At the time, the nation was hell-bent on expansion: James K. Polk had lately won the presidency by threatening England over the borders in Oregon, while Congress had just voted, in defiance of the Mexican government, to annex Texas. After Mexico declared war on the United States, Kearny’s Army of the West was sent out, carrying orders to occupy Mexican territory. When his expedition ended a year later, the country had doubled in size and now stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific, fulfilling what many saw as the nation’s unique destiny—and at the same time setting the stage for the American Civil War.
Winston Groom recounts the amazing adventure and danger that Kearny and his troops encountered on the trail. Their story intertwines with those of the famous mountain man Kit Carson; Brigham Young and his Mormon followers fleeing persecution and Illinois; and the ill-fated Donner party, trapped in the snow of the Sierra Nevada. Together, they encounter wild Indians, Mexican armies, political intrigue, dangerous wildlife, gold rushes, and land-grabs. Some returned in glory, others in shackles, and some not at all. But these were the people who helped America fulfill her promise.
Distilling a wealth of letters, journals, and military records, Groom gives us a powerful account that enlivens our understanding of the exciting, if unforgiving, business of country-making.

About Winston Groom

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WINSTON GROOM is the author of fourteen previous books, including Patriotic Fire, Shrouds of Glory, Forrest Gump, and Conversations with the Enemy (with Duncan Spencer), which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. He lives with his wife and daughter in Point Clear, Alabama.
Published November 8, 2011 by Knopf. 336 pages
Genres: History, War. Non-fiction

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Fleeing persecution, stalled in Nebraska, Brigham Young used the money raised from the enlistment of the Mormon Battalion—whose trek on behalf of a U.S. government that suddenly needed them was, unlike Kearny’s, all on foot—to finance the Mormon’s passage to Utah, “the single greatest human migra...

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Novelist, historian and American raconteur all rolled into one, Winston Groom has penned an equally ambitious literary exploration into the story of the American conquest of the West in Kearny’s March: The Epic Creation of the American West, 1846-1847.

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Dallas News

This is a narrative where a general “hightails” out of the path of an enemy army, where a con or a double cross is called by name, and where you find out why a Conestoga wagon was called a prairie schooner, a blue streak called a blue streak, and the Golden Gate called the Golden Gate.

Dec 09 2011 | Read Full Review of Kearny's March: The Epic Crea...

Portland Book Review

Fremont’s march west through the wild mountains, Kit Carson, Zachary Taylor, and the Donner party – each group gets quite a bit of attention, which distracts from Kearny marching across the Southwest and finding a passage across the desert.

Apr 03 2012 | Read Full Review of Kearny's March: The Epic Crea...

The Weekly Standard

Frémont was already celebrated as the “Pathfinder,” though according to Groom this was a misnomer since Frémont had found no new paths in the western wilderness.

Feb 27 2012 | Read Full Review of Kearny's March: The Epic Crea...

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