- S/ 39.90
Santa Fe, in the early 1800s, was a part of Mexico, and the city's landed gentry, the haciendados, had developed an appetite for the good life. Matthew Collins, an entrepreneurial American, sees opportunity there. He bankrolls a wagon train filled with fine goods from St. Louis and, with a partner, succeeds in transporting everything, despite storms and fierce bands of Comanches, across the Great American Desert to a ready market in Santa Fe.
Soon, Matt and his partner become prosperous and respected men. Matt profits from the trapping and selling of hundreds of beaver skins just before the London market for them collapses. Welcomed into the home of Moses Mendoza, one of the leading haciendados, Matt eventually marries Moses's daughter Celestina.
By the mid-1840s, war looms between the United States and Mexico. Matt is called to Washington by President Polk. The urgent matter: how to arrange the turnover of New Mexico and Santa Fe to the United States without causing great bloodshed. Matt develops a plan...
Mixing a fascinating and exciting cast of characters with the adventure and uncertainty of the times, Santa Fe Passage is a remarkable story full of rich detail and vivid imagery of life in then Mexico in the early nineteenth century.
New Mexico's colorful and turbulent mid 19th-century past is the focus of Bauman's uneven debut. His descriptions of Mexican politics and culture and American arrogance and expansion are right on target, but his unconvincing characters and wearisome plots make this a long journey on the dusty Santa Fe Trail. In 1822, teenage orphan Matthew Collins runs away from indenture in Illinois to seek his fortune as a trader on the famed trail. He's hired as a teamster, then a scout; he avoids being scalped by the Comanches; he learns to flatter and bribe the right officials. As the years pass, Matt, with his partner, Edward Waterman, becomes a prosperous and respected New Mexico businessman. Matt favors Mexican customs, marrying the beautiful daughter of a wealthy Mexican landowner and even becoming a Mexican citizen. While the marriage was for love, the change of citizenship was for business, with the result that Matt finds himself caught between two cultures and two loyalties, a dilemma that intensifies as an American war with Mexico becomes imminent in 1846. When war comes, Matthew is forced to choose which side he will support. Bauman does a masterful job portraying the events, people, politics and history of New Mexico; unfortunately there is little suspense and less action, and the characters move woodenly from one frontier conversation to the next.