Lavender's Buena Vista installment in the Great Battles of History Series is one of the best. Its achievement is a pocket history of the War with Mexico, which was mainly political, capped by the Buena Vista climax--though the rest of the war is truncated. The rest was not extensive and Lavender elucidates the battles of Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, and Monterrey, which were successes that finally coalesced at Buena Vista. Throughout, the heroes are Zachary Taylor versus Santa Anna, while President Polk gnashes his teeth on the sidelines about Taylor's Presidential hopes. The battle pieces are superior to Mari Sandoz' recent Battle of Little Big Horn (p. 342) in that the action is clear where Miss Sandoz is sometimes muzzy. Also, Lavender admits to fogginess at times. While the final battle occupies only a fourth of the text, the political machinations are smartly set forth, and these really are more absorbing than the dispersal of troops. To be truthful, Lavender falls short of ransacking diaries and letters, in the Horizon approach, in that the foot-soldier is never heard from. But altogether this is an excellent capsule, even if the Mexicans are seen as terrific children, running about under the historian's eyes.