This is an excellent and very readable history of the almost forgotten Mexican War of 1845 to 1848, with very many interesting details about President Polk, his powerful and politically savvy first lady Sara Polk, the great orator Henry Clay, and the very early years of young Abraham Lincoln, a raw representative from Illinois.
It is a fast read of only 283 pages, with many extensive pages of notes and bibliography, which reflects the years of research that Penn State University history professor Amy Greenberg put in before publication in 2012.
Usually only cursory attention is given to this war in the typical high school history class, in spite of its significance in setting the stage for the greater Civil War soon to follow. There are many interesting details about the Mexican war young officers named William Sherman, Robert E. Lee, Ulysses Grant, and older generals such as Zachary Taylor and Winfield Scott, not just about their actions, but in their beliefs at that time revealed in their letters. Abraham Lincoln [a Whig] got the nickname "Spotty Ranchero" at this time, and Mexico ceded California to us just 3 months before the gold discovery at Sutter's mill!
This book is recommended for anyone interested in a more detailed knowledge and understanding of US history in the 19th century.