For all the recent interest in the border by practitioners of various disciplines, few have stopped to consider the basic processes by which a two-thousand-mile-long “line” separating Mexico from the United States came to be drawn. In this fascinating but frustrating book, Paula Rebert sets herself the task of reconstructing that process in the immediate aftermath of the Mexican-American War. Her narrative follows the surveying and mapping of the border from 1849 to 1857. After an introductory overview of the problems arising from the use of John Disturnell’s 1847 Mapa de los Estados Unidos de Méjico in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, Rebert picks up the story of the two boundary commissions—the U.S. Boundary Commission and the Mexican Comisión de Límites— created by each government for the purposes of mapping and surveying the line. She then follows the “cooperation and controversy,” as well...

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