100 books like Down the Santa Fe Trail and into Mexico

By Susan Shelby Magoffin, Stella M. Drumm (editor),

Here are 100 books that Down the Santa Fe Trail and into Mexico fans have personally recommended if you like Down the Santa Fe Trail and into Mexico. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Santa Fe Trail: Its History, Legends, and Lore

Doug Hocking Author Of Terror on the Santa Fe Trail: Kit Carson and the Jicarilla Apache

From my list on Santa Fe Trail for history buffs.

Why am I passionate about this?

Historian Doug Hocking grew up on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation of New Mexico. He knows her peoples, towns, and trails. He has completed advanced studies in history, his first love, anthropology, and historical archaeology. Since retiring as an armored cavalry officer, Doug has owned his own business. With this background he has insight into America’s great commercial road, the Santa Fe Trail, and into battles and soldiering. He understands Apache lives as few others do.

Doug's book list on Santa Fe Trail for history buffs

Doug Hocking Why did Doug love this book?

Dary set out to tell the whole story in easily accessible language introducing the student to a wide range of excitement on this trail that built America and made it great. From 1830 until the Civil War, the United States had no national bank and relied on the silver dollars brought from Mexico over the trail as its currency. Fortunes were made and lost and Missouri, the terminus of the trail, became powerful.

By David Dary,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Santa Fe Trail as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A prize-winning historian of the Old West brings to life the people who laid down the Santa Fe Trail and opened commerce with Spanish America. He uses first-hand accounts and contemporary records to give us a vivid recreation of a time and place crucial to America's westward expansion.


Book cover of Commerce of the Prairies: Life on the Great Plains in the 1830's and 1840's

Doug Hocking Author Of Terror on the Santa Fe Trail: Kit Carson and the Jicarilla Apache

From my list on Santa Fe Trail for history buffs.

Why am I passionate about this?

Historian Doug Hocking grew up on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation of New Mexico. He knows her peoples, towns, and trails. He has completed advanced studies in history, his first love, anthropology, and historical archaeology. Since retiring as an armored cavalry officer, Doug has owned his own business. With this background he has insight into America’s great commercial road, the Santa Fe Trail, and into battles and soldiering. He understands Apache lives as few others do.

Doug's book list on Santa Fe Trail for history buffs

Doug Hocking Why did Doug love this book?

Gregg traveled the trail many times relating its wonders and its economics. He tells his own story of adventure on the plains. Commerce may sound boring, but Gregg was a keen observer and commented on all that he saw, treating it as fresh and new. He talks of the customs of Mexicans and Native Americans as well as of what each wanted in trade. 

By Josiah Gregg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Commerce of the Prairies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This classic account includes the following chapters:

I. Santa Fe Trade
II. The Departure
III. Catch Up
IV. A Desert Plain
V. Arrival at Santa Fe
VI. Sketches of the History of Santa Fe
VII. Geographical Position of New Mexico
VIII. The Mines of New Mexico
IX. Domestic Animals and Their Conditions
X. Condition of the Arts and Sciences in New Mexico
XI. Style of Dress in New Mexico — Customs
XII. Government of New Mexico
XIII. Military Hierarchy — Religious Superstitions and Ceremonies
XIV. The Pueblos
XV. The Wild Tribes of New Mexico
XVI. Incidents of a Return Trip…


Book cover of The Mexican Road: Trade, Travel, And Confrontation On The Santa Fe Trail

Doug Hocking Author Of Terror on the Santa Fe Trail: Kit Carson and the Jicarilla Apache

From my list on Santa Fe Trail for history buffs.

Why am I passionate about this?

Historian Doug Hocking grew up on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation of New Mexico. He knows her peoples, towns, and trails. He has completed advanced studies in history, his first love, anthropology, and historical archaeology. Since retiring as an armored cavalry officer, Doug has owned his own business. With this background he has insight into America’s great commercial road, the Santa Fe Trail, and into battles and soldiering. He understands Apache lives as few others do.

Doug's book list on Santa Fe Trail for history buffs

Doug Hocking Why did Doug love this book?

This is a collection of articles including some by Marc Simmons, Gardner’s mentor and frequent writing partner. The pair are the greatest experts on the trail to be found. If you can locate a copy, its articles provide a broad perspective on where Santa Fe Trail research has taken us in recent years by people who love the trail and its peoples.

By Mark Lee Gardner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Mexican Road as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Thirteen papers on the Santa Fe Trail, of which ten are reprinted from the April 1989 issue of Journal of the West . Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.


Book cover of Over the Santa Fe Trail to Mexico: The Travel Diaries and Autobiography of Dr. Rowland Willard

Doug Hocking Author Of Terror on the Santa Fe Trail: Kit Carson and the Jicarilla Apache

From my list on Santa Fe Trail for history buffs.

Why am I passionate about this?

Historian Doug Hocking grew up on the Jicarilla Apache Reservation of New Mexico. He knows her peoples, towns, and trails. He has completed advanced studies in history, his first love, anthropology, and historical archaeology. Since retiring as an armored cavalry officer, Doug has owned his own business. With this background he has insight into America’s great commercial road, the Santa Fe Trail, and into battles and soldiering. He understands Apache lives as few others do.

Doug's book list on Santa Fe Trail for history buffs

Doug Hocking Why did Doug love this book?

Dr. Willard traveled the trail in the 1820s. He met Hugh Glass, the Revenant as Hollywood named him, and inspected his wounds. Willard brought medicine to New Mexico and Mexico where the Catholic church had made life difficult for doctors. He describes the treatments he used and it’s truly remarkable that any of his patients survived.

By Rowland Willard, Joy L. Poole (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Over the Santa Fe Trail to Mexico as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the first Anglo-Americans to record their travels to New Mexico, Dr. Rowland Willard (1794-1884) journeyed west on the Santa Fe Trail in 1825 and then down the Camino Real into Mexico, taking notes along the way. This edition of the young physician's travel diaries and subsequent autobiography, annotated by New Mexico Deputy State Librarian Joy L. Poole, is a rich historical source on the two trails and the practice of medicine in the 1820s.

Few Americans knew much about New Mexico when Willard set out on his journey from St. Charles, Missouri, where he had recently completed a…


Book cover of Saint Patrick's Battalion

Michael Hogan Author Of The Irish Soldiers of Mexico

From my list on the Irish who fought for Mexico.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of 30 books. I live and teach in Mexico. I became interested in the St. Patrick's Battalion story when I moved here in 1990. The only book at the time was Shamrock and Sword, and while I enjoyed the book, I was dismayed that there were no Mexican or Irish sources. I did intensive research in the military archives of both countries and visited every battle site. Spurred on by the fact that one of my ancestors fought in the war, it became a passion. Later, I wrote my book and was a consultant for the film One Man's Hero. The rest, as they say, is history.

Michael's book list on the Irish who fought for Mexico

Michael Hogan Why did Michael love this book?

I enjoyed this fictional account of the Irish Battalion, which is told through the eyes of two Mexican and American boys. We learn there were also Scots and Germans involved and that both sides were brutal.

This book is accessible to young adults as well as mature readers and is compelling because of the fast-paced, visual action scenes.

By James Alexander Thom,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Saint Patrick's Battalion as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a monastery built by Franciscan monks on the site of an Aztec war god’s temple, a rogue battalion of cannoneers prepares to make its final stand along a strategic road to Mexico City. Reviled by its enemies and lionized by its allies, Saint Patrick’s Battalion will fight under an emerald green flag with the fury of the proud and the damned. And as James Alexander Thom’s extraordinary new novel reaches a shattering climax, the reader hurtles into a collision between true loyalty and true betrayal–and between the best and basest reasons for war.

Narrated by two soldiers on opposite…


Book cover of The Dead March: A History of the Mexican-American War

Stephen B. Neufeld Author Of The Blood Contingent: The Military and the Making of Modern Mexico, 1876–1911

From my list on 19th Century Mexico’s military history.

Why am I passionate about this?

My passion for Mexican and military history came from many sources. Wandering in my 20s in Europe and Asia honed my appreciation for the historical experience. Good friends in the Canadian military made me curious about the odd rituals and strange subcultures they inhabited. As I moved from Calgary to Vancouver to Tucson I devolved from degree to degree, studying deviance, military history, Mexican culture, and finally finishing a dissertation that combined these elements into one work. And now I happily get to inflict all of this history on my students in California.  

Stephen's book list on 19th Century Mexico’s military history

Stephen B. Neufeld Why did Stephen love this book?

This work combines excellent writing with impeccable research from a scholar I deeply respect. Guardino’s take on this war is persuasive and somewhat controversial, at least in Mexican circles, due to his analysis showing endemic supply issues at the heart of military failures in the face of a US invasion. He shows how the war goes horribly wrong for Mexico in a New Military History style approach that examines society using the army as a lens.  

By Peter Guardino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dead March as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Bolton-Johnson Prize
Winner of the Utley Prize
Winner of the Distinguished Book Award, Society for Military History

"The Dead March incorporates the work of Mexican historians...in a story that involves far more than military strategy, diplomatic maneuvering, and American political intrigue...Studded with arresting insights and convincing observations."
-James Oakes, New York Review of Books

"Superb...A remarkable achievement, by far the best general account of the war now available. It is critical, insightful, and rooted in a wealth of archival sources; it brings far more of the Mexican experience than any other work...and it clearly demonstrates the social…


Book cover of The Rogue's March: John Riley and the St. Patrick's Battalion, 1846-48

Michael Hogan Author Of The Irish Soldiers of Mexico

From my list on the Irish who fought for Mexico.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of 30 books. I live and teach in Mexico. I became interested in the St. Patrick's Battalion story when I moved here in 1990. The only book at the time was Shamrock and Sword, and while I enjoyed the book, I was dismayed that there were no Mexican or Irish sources. I did intensive research in the military archives of both countries and visited every battle site. Spurred on by the fact that one of my ancestors fought in the war, it became a passion. Later, I wrote my book and was a consultant for the film One Man's Hero. The rest, as they say, is history.

Michael's book list on the Irish who fought for Mexico

Michael Hogan Why did Michael love this book?

I like this version of the story because Stephens went to Ireland and researched the life and times of John Riley, the commander of the San Patrico Battalion. He shows his motivation for joining the Mexican Army, leadership skills, artillery knowledge, and more.

It is a bird’s eye view of the life of a soldier in the Irish diaspora and how he associated an Anglo-American army invading a Catholic neighbor with his own native land invaded by the English army 400 years before.

By Peter F. Stevens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Rogue's March as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The controversial true story of the US Army deserters--the majority of them Irish immigrants--who fought valiantly as a Mexican Army unit during the Mexican War of 1846. It takes a close look at the organized prejudice against irish Catholic and German immigrants.


Book cover of Gods, Gachupines and Gringos: A People's History of Mexico

Michael Hogan Author Of The Irish Soldiers of Mexico

From my list on the Irish who fought for Mexico.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of 30 books. I live and teach in Mexico. I became interested in the St. Patrick's Battalion story when I moved here in 1990. The only book at the time was Shamrock and Sword, and while I enjoyed the book, I was dismayed that there were no Mexican or Irish sources. I did intensive research in the military archives of both countries and visited every battle site. Spurred on by the fact that one of my ancestors fought in the war, it became a passion. Later, I wrote my book and was a consultant for the film One Man's Hero. The rest, as they say, is history.

Michael's book list on the Irish who fought for Mexico

Michael Hogan Why did Michael love this book?

This nonfiction history of Mexico was compelling because it details everyday life in the occupied country. It also provided details of the US and Mexico before and after the Mexican War.

We get a clearer sense of what motivated soldiers on both sides to join in the largest territorial battle in North America. For Americans it was a great adventure, for Mexicans, the defense of their homeland. I also like the author's use of irony and humor, which gives the book a balance that more academic history cannot risk.

By Richard Grabman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gods, Gachupines and Gringos as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A complete, accessible, and nonacademic history of Mexico for general readers, this volume is a solidly researched introduction to a surprisingly multicultural, multifaceted nation. Presenting Mexico as it is and often with a refreshing wit and humor, this history puts flesh and bones on the dusty figures of the past while shedding light on the common humanity of the uncommon humans who created this unique country and its culture. From Mayans and Spanish conquistadors to guerillas and tourist invasions, the full thread of Mexican history is told here in a fresh, lively, uncompromising narrative for scholars, general readers, and generations…


Book cover of Shamrock and Sword: The Saint Patrick's Battalion in the U.S.-Mexican War

Michael Hogan Author Of The Irish Soldiers of Mexico

From my list on the Irish who fought for Mexico.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of 30 books. I live and teach in Mexico. I became interested in the St. Patrick's Battalion story when I moved here in 1990. The only book at the time was Shamrock and Sword, and while I enjoyed the book, I was dismayed that there were no Mexican or Irish sources. I did intensive research in the military archives of both countries and visited every battle site. Spurred on by the fact that one of my ancestors fought in the war, it became a passion. Later, I wrote my book and was a consultant for the film One Man's Hero. The rest, as they say, is history.

Michael's book list on the Irish who fought for Mexico

Michael Hogan Why did Michael love this book?

This is the story about the San Patricio Battalion, which fought for Mexico in the war of 1846-48 and were ultimately hanged as traitors. It is told primarily from the American standpoint using exclusively US documents. What makes it fascinating to me is that the author reveals why this history was hidden from researchers and scholars alike for so many years.

I had heard about this group in Mexico, but since I could find no information on it, I assumed it was mostly legend. What a revelation to discover that it was real and that the Irish actually did join up with the Mexicans to fight against the US invasion.

By Robert Ryal Miller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shamrock and Sword as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


This fascinating true story about war, intrigue, defection to the enemy, and brutal military justice is a dramatic example of the conflicts that frequently arise between humanitarian values and inflexible military regulations.

Shamrock and Sword's setting is the U.S.-Mexican War, remembered by Americans as an illustration of Manifest Destiny, the inevitable extension of the American frontier. It is remembered differently by Mexicans, who lost a substantial portion of their territory to an invading army. Perceptions on both sides of the border will be reshaped by Robert Ryal Miller's account of American soldiers who deserted to fight in the Mexican army.…


Book cover of A Ballad of Love and Glory

Michael Hogan Author Of The Irish Soldiers of Mexico

From my list on the Irish who fought for Mexico.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of 30 books. I live and teach in Mexico. I became interested in the St. Patrick's Battalion story when I moved here in 1990. The only book at the time was Shamrock and Sword, and while I enjoyed the book, I was dismayed that there were no Mexican or Irish sources. I did intensive research in the military archives of both countries and visited every battle site. Spurred on by the fact that one of my ancestors fought in the war, it became a passion. Later, I wrote my book and was a consultant for the film One Man's Hero. The rest, as they say, is history.

Michael's book list on the Irish who fought for Mexico

Michael Hogan Why did Michael love this book?

This author tells the story of the Irish Battalion and the Mexican War from the perspective of a female nurse who treated soldiers on both sides. It provides an element of compassion as the day-to-day conflicts unfold within and without.

I could sympathize with the plight of women, whether camp followers on the Mexican side or washerwomen and cooks on the American side. I especially liked the fact that she does not shy away from women of loose morals while at the same time showing the dignity and courage of those who helped heal and comfort the wounded.

By Reyna Grande,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Ballad of Love and Glory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

2023 International Latino Book Award Winner
Finalist for the Texas Institute of Letters’s Jesse H. Jones Award for Best Fiction

A Long Petal of the Sea meets Cold Mountain in this “epic and exquisitely wrought” (Patricia Engel, New York Times bestselling author) saga following a Mexican army nurse and an Irish soldier who must fight, at first for their survival and then for their love, amidst the atrocity of the Mexican-American War—from the author of The Distance Between Us.

A forgotten war. An unforgettable romance.

The year is 1846. After the controversial annexation of Texas, the US Army marches south…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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