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Kearny's March: The Epic Creation of the American West, 1846-1847
By Winston Groom. Alfred A. Knopf. 311 pp. Index. $27.95.
Here is Winston Groomís sixteenth book, an epic of magnificent proportions meant to tell the tale of President James K. Polkís desire to have a secure America from sea to sea with Stephen Watts Kearny as its major player. Itís a good read, but one might come up short in reading his version of Jedediah Smithís death by Comanches, which is purely speculative and not footnoted. The major report of Kearnyís march to California, was published in 1848 by his chief Topographical Engineer, William Hemsley Emory, Notes of a Military Reconnaisance. There is no evidence that Emoryís original report was consulted for this volume. As a matter of fact, Niles National Register, referenced fifty-six times, appears to be the major source of military reports, and can be searched online. The trail map of the Western United States could stand improvement. []

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