Osprey's The Paraguayan War 1864-70


Gabriele Esposito


Osprey Publishing


$24.00 MSRP


Scott Van Aken

Notes: 96 pages, 7 x 9 inches, softcover

As with every place on the planet, when an area is provided its ability to govern itself after being a part of or a colony of another nation. Things do not always go smoothly. The nations of South America were no different. Within a fairly short period of time, many nations came into existence. Frequently these started with a fairly democratic government, but equally frequently these nations became ruled by a very small minority of people. Some were 'monarchies' and others became dictatorial. Others were rife with strife due to differences between political parties.

In the mid 1800s, this sort of situation was what you had in southern South America. Brazil was a monarch, Uruguay had recently become independent, Argentina had been suffering from internal struggle for several years, while Paraguay was run by a leader who felt that it should be the leader of the region and was looking to expand. Unfortunately, the areas into which it wanted to expand were under the control of Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina.

The Brazilians had been deeply involved in assisting Uruguay in its current civil war, and with the largest, and best equipped army/navy in the area, was considered by the leader of Paraguay to be fairly involved militarily. Such that it would not be able to put all its forces to use against another military campaign. Argentia was simply not properly equipped to deal with conflict and the Uruguayans were already fairly busy.

So began the Paraguayan War that lasted for six years. It was a conflict that was conducted in areas that were nearly impossible to reach over land, so the large, wide rivers of the area were what was used for the most part to transport troops and supplies. Initially, Paraguay did well as they took many by surprise. However, the ability of Brazil to combat this aggression and the combination of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay into an alliance were sorely underestimated by the Paraguayan leadership.

This book covers what has come to be the largest war in South America, one that is fairly unknown outside the region. Thanks to the excellent research of the author as well as some superbly drawn maps and some great priod art work and photos, we get to see how this conflict played out. There were many firsts in terms of Latin American history that occurred during this war and the number of people involved has not been seen in this part of the world since. It makes for a fascinating look at South American history and one that I'm sure you will find as interesting as did I.'

August 2020

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