Empires Lost and Won (Atheneum, 1996)

Empires Lost and Won: The Spanish Heritage in the Southwest

Albert Marrin

In 1528, Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, looking for riches and adventure, did not know how much adventure he would find when he left Spain for the New World. From his experiences as he wandered toward Spanish Mexico we learn of the many that followed him. Albert Marrin presents a cast of hundreds, famous and infamous: characters from Cabaza de Vaca and Coronado to Zebulon Pike. It includes Santa Anna, Sam Houston, and the heroes of the Alamo, as well as Cochise, Geronimo and Quanah Parker, who fought for the traditions and lives of the Apaches and Comanches. We learn about the Mexican War and the future heroes it produced such as Robert E. Lee, U. S. Grant, George E. Pikett and George B. McClellan. This is a history of the United States that began in the East, and that had enormous influence on the formation and culture of this country today.


This author does a good job summarizing the important aspects of this history. Along the way, he brings some interesting stories into the overall historical summation. . . . Marrin always brings interesting stories into his narration. You find out the origin of Texas, how Ps and Qs became a phrase, Taylor's reaction to a self important Lieutenant, and others. These stories liven up the historical summation. They are a joy to read. This is a good read for both teenagers and adults.

—Amazon Review