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Illusions of Empire
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Illusions of Empire
The Civil War and Reconstruction in the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands

William S. Kiser

304 pages | 6 x 9 | 11 illus.
Cloth Nov 2021 | ISBN 9780812253511 | $55.00s | Outside the Americas £44.00
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the series America in the Nineteenth Century

"Simply put, this is one of the best books I have read in years. William S. Kiser is a rapidly emerging scholar of the United States-Mexico borderlands. His historical sleuthing into various archives is superb in every respect. Illusions of Empire is a well-written and engrossing book that takes the reader on a journey of extraordinary riches deep into the history of the Southwest in a crucial era of American and Mexican history. It is highly recommended for scholars and general readers alike."—Jerry Thompson, Texas A&M International University
Illusions of Empire adopts a multinational view of North American borderlands, examining the ways in which Mexico's North overlapped with the U.S. Southwest in the context of diplomacy, politics, economics, and military operations during the Civil War era.

William S. Kiser examines a fascinating series of events in which a disparate group of historical actors vied for power and control along the U.S.-Mexico border: from Union and Confederate generals and presidents, to Indigenous groups, diplomatic officials, bandits, and revolutionaries, to a Mexican president, a Mexican monarch, and a French king. Their unconventional approaches to foreign relations demonstrate the complex ways that individuals influence the course of global affairs and reveal that borderlands simultaneously enable and stifle the growth of empires.

This is the first study to treat antebellum U.S. foreign policy, Civil War campaigning, the French Intervention in Mexico, Southwestern Indian Wars, South Texas Bandit Wars, and U.S. Reconstruction in a single volume, balancing U.S. and Mexican source materials to tell an important story of borderlands conflict with ramifications that are still felt in the region today.

William S. Kiser is Associate Professor of History at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.

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