Customer Reviews for

The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War

Average Rating 3
( 208 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(51)

4 Star

(38)

3 Star

(42)

2 Star

(37)

1 Star

(40)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

Most Helpful Favorable Review

15 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

COMPELLING GRIPPING FASCINATING FACTUAL IMPORTANT ASTOUNDING SHOCKING

I hate to admit that it has been several years since I have read through a book, cover to cover - non-stop, but I not only did that with Imperial Cruise, but I read it a second time. I have brought it around with me on a Thanksgiving trip and am sharing it with people, ...
I hate to admit that it has been several years since I have read through a book, cover to cover - non-stop, but I not only did that with Imperial Cruise, but I read it a second time. I have brought it around with me on a Thanksgiving trip and am sharing it with people, I am buying several for Christmas presents and got my local bookseller interested in it and they're going to carry it. Imperial Cruise is a riveting narrative non-fiction, it is recovered history, and it is as relevant to understanding contemporary American-Asian foreign policy as would be any State Department background briefing. It is also, I think, a "new" type of history that does not rely on some magic cache of a previously undiscovered trunk of letters. Instead, it gathers together for the first time bits and stray strands of material which is already available in archives and libraries - that has been studiously ignored or misperceived to be merely errant oddities. Like a wise attorney, Bradley assembles all the pieces in place, to not only make sense if a complicated puzzle but to also provide an unblinkingly factual context.

Imperial Cruise also proves just how consciously and vividly Theodore Roosevelt crafted and manipulated his public image. Some of Roosevelt's own words on white supremacy in Imperial Cruise are shocking as I've read them here for the first time, without the excisions made by earlier biographers and historians whose intention was to only glorify the legendary Rough Rider. I think people will be mistaken, however, if they take it as a wholesale degradation of T.R. It presents a darker human side of him, that will counterbalance, for example, his intentions to ensure safe food and drug standards and preserve natural environments for the masses, regardless of their race, as well as his advocacy for a more equitable society which he freshly espoused as the Progressive Party leader during the 1912 election. I am surprised to learn the extent to which Taft was compliant in all this, particularly in light of his genuinely enlightened words and deeds against anti-Semites and bigots. I hate to say it, but the book leaves one feeling that politics - in North America, Asia, anywhere, is a business more often driven by greed and ambition than altruism and generosity.

Finally, all of this "information" may never have been read by me had the quality of the writing not been so fluid and compelling. Even if one isn't necessarily interested in U.S. foreign policy, they will find Imperial Cruise to be a solid story, an adventure tale with a cautionary arc as its backbone. Bradley's decision to tell all of this against the ports of call on the historic voyage to Asia of the first American celebrity of the 20th century, presidential daughter Alice "Princess" Roosevelt, gives it a human dimension. And then, when one finishes it, one recognizes an implicit irony. There seems no more chilling evidence of Theodore Roosevelt's belief that some humans were more worthy than others than in the way he treated his own flesh and blood. Poignantly told by Bradley, Roosevelt emotionally strangulated his daughter Alice, who always loved him.

Carl Sferrazza Anthony, author of Nellie Taft: The Unconventional First Lady of the Ragtime Era; America's First Families; The Kennedy White House; Florence Harding: The First Lady...and the Death of America's Most Scandalous President; First Ladies: The Saga of the Presidents' Wives; As We Reme

posted by Carl_Anthony on November 27, 2009

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review

Most Helpful Critical Review

21 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

Extremely biased account

While I am acutely aware of American racial bias during the period this book covers, Bradley's strident account and historical inaccuracies leave much to be desired. His writing is certainly fluid and easy to digest but, undocumented statistics in particular, make me su...
While I am acutely aware of American racial bias during the period this book covers, Bradley's strident account and historical inaccuracies leave much to be desired. His writing is certainly fluid and easy to digest but, undocumented statistics in particular, make me suspicious that many of his quotes may have been taken out of context. An example might certainly be Stanford's remark concerning the Chinese and completion of the transcontinental railroad.

As to the statistics: several that come to mind include 1) the Philippine exhibit at the 1904 St. Louis Fair made up about 10% of the total fairgrounds, 2) total attendance was about 20 million not 90, 3) Japanese casualties in the Russo-Japanese War were about 106,000 killed not hundreds of thousands (twice as many as Russia incidentally).

Giving short shrift to the Boxer Rebellion was annoying and should have been included in Chapter 7. Also the lack of a formal bibliography was rather astounding. Not making use of Iris Chang's "The Chinese in America"
in discussing American immigration policy and hostility toward this segment of the population may be because it isn't strident enough for his agenda.

The fact that Bradley is not a professional historian is no excuse for these glaring errors.

Overall,however, this was an interesting and worthwhile read but should be taken with a large grain of salt.

posted by 1106189 on December 18, 2009

Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 review with 3 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 3
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2009

    Extremely biased account

    While I am acutely aware of American racial bias during the period this book covers, Bradley's strident account and historical inaccuracies leave much to be desired. His writing is certainly fluid and easy to digest but, undocumented statistics in particular, make me suspicious that many of his quotes may have been taken out of context. An example might certainly be Stanford's remark concerning the Chinese and completion of the transcontinental railroad.

    As to the statistics: several that come to mind include 1) the Philippine exhibit at the 1904 St. Louis Fair made up about 10% of the total fairgrounds, 2) total attendance was about 20 million not 90, 3) Japanese casualties in the Russo-Japanese War were about 106,000 killed not hundreds of thousands (twice as many as Russia incidentally).

    Giving short shrift to the Boxer Rebellion was annoying and should have been included in Chapter 7. Also the lack of a formal bibliography was rather astounding. Not making use of Iris Chang's "The Chinese in America"
    in discussing American immigration policy and hostility toward this segment of the population may be because it isn't strident enough for his agenda.

    The fact that Bradley is not a professional historian is no excuse for these glaring errors.

    Overall,however, this was an interesting and worthwhile read but should be taken with a large grain of salt.

    21 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 6, 2009

    compelling history somewhat incomplete

    James Bradley asserts in his latest book that the foreign policy of Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 was directly responsible for the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor which anniversary we observe just two days from now.

    compelling as his arguments are, Bradley forgets a few things.
    First of all, Japan NEVER FULLY embraced western ways. Just look at the evidence of the samurai influence on the way Japan fought World War Two. The enshrined emperor Hirohito as a God, and fought the way of the Samurai all the way. Roosevelt could hardly be blamed for that. People make choices, pure and simple. Japan chose to enter the war the way they did and had only themselves to blame. To pin all this on one man is ludicrous. One man simply doesn't make history all by himself, a Bradley here correctly states, however the blame is placed solidly on Roosevelt himself.

    Taft acted as an ambassador on this cruise. This is an important concept because an ambassador truly positioned, speaks on behalf of the President as if the president himself were there speaking. Did Taft honestly and truly reflect Roosevelt's personal opinions or party plank in everything he said and did on that cruise? Bradley would have us believe so, though there are many dots with open spaces, many unanswered questions. Why did Roosevelt pick a somewhat rebellious daughter, given to anti-social behavior at times to carry his name across headlines for a secret cruise? What was exactly word for word the so called treaty that made what Roosevelt allegedly did an impeachable offense? Was there really a formal declaration or treaty signed ? one that could be binding in world court? I personally find all of this, if not strictly illegal, certainly unethical considering the importance of all people who went on the cruise.

    Bradley writes that Roosevelt was a "public relations genius". Any good politician will be. Nothing wrong with that.

    Two of our comparatively recent presidents could have benefited by better public relations. Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson both were terrible at public relations. Both suffered for it. In fact Nixon sank his own campaign against John F. Kennedy for just that reason. Lyndon Johnson was an absolute boor when it came to social graces and public relations.

    Roosevelt's image was one of a man of action, a man of progress, certainly NOT the isolationist peacemaker that Bradley stated that Roosevelt painted himself as.

    Much has been written about Roosevelt's foibles, public faux pas, and even his "Aryan" attitudes, although I believe that Aryan attitudes and the ability to self govern should not be used in the same sentence. Roosevelt never presented himself as the "peacemaker" although he did moderate the portsmouth peace treaty in `1905. To tie his Nobel Peace Prize in with his subsequent "betrayal" of the Koreans to the Japanese is perhaps stretching things a bit, but if it was found to be completely true, then certainly Roosevelt might have been impeached.

    Finally, Taft was eventually Chief Justice of the United States, NOT Chief Justice of the Supreme court, and that is highly important. Also Bradley barely mentions that Roosevelt acted for a time as his own Secretary of State, which is a telling facet of Roosevelt, but not telling enough for further elaboration on Bradley's part.

    All in all, with holes and questions, this is compelling reading, and worth a look if not f

    12 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Copy editing needed

    James Bradley's "The Imperial Cruise" is a book that would have benefitted from a vigorous copy editing or the judicious use of a thesaurus. For instance, Bradley uses the word "Aryan" and the term "Aryan American" so often that the attempt to create outrage creates instead a yawn or saying "Enough already." It's almost as though he were trying to yell "Fire" in a crowded theater. Most Americans would associate "aryan" with the outrages and pseudo-science of the Hitler years or the white supremacists who call themselves The Aryan Nation. The sense of outrage is dampened by hyperbole. The story is an ugly one; racism (a word more accurate in defining the protagonists)is never pretty, and that presidents act without due regard for the Constitution is certainly old news by now. And, does anyone doubt the genocidal march to the West?
    Although Manifest Destiny is mentioned, it is not indexed and certainly should have received fuller treatment in understanding the westward course of American imperialism, an imperialism manifest from the founding of this nation. The book could have incorporated this information and remained the same size by reducing the white space between the lines. One reviewer referred to the book as a "term paper" and I wonder how many bulked out their term papers using this same gimmick.
    These criticisms aside, "The Imperial Cruise" serves as a reminder of Lord Acton's memorable statement: "Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men."
    Three stars because it is important that we be constantly reminded of what we (or our leaders) should not do.
    Another quote, from George Santayana, to close: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

    11 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 3, 2014

    I am starting to undestand

    This book is difficult for someone who has not been exposed to the realities of American racial prejudice.
    Also for non history buffs it will be hard to believe some of the stuff the good guys did that wasn t so good. It will be easy to see how the pasr has gotten us here today.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 23, 2011

    Tough reading

    I must admit that I'm still trying to find my way thru this book. To say that the author has an ax to grind is an understatment. He seems to rejoice in protraying the US administration as being patronizing to all cultures other than whites, when if the true were told, it was a common theme across all of Europe at the time. In fact, if you were to insert the words, "Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, etc." for the US, the book would largely read the same. Still, it's a good companion to the books on Teddy Roosevelt by Edmund Morris, but Edmunds Trilogy is a much better read in general. If I have a different opinion after (if) I finish this book I'll chime in.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 5, 2010

    Interesting history of Teddy Roosevelt

    Paints an image of Teddy that is contadictory to the one most of us got in our history classses. I enjoyed his other two books much more.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A gift...

    Bought this for my History addicted hubbie. Unfortunately he said he's "not into that period" and he hasn't even opened it, yet. I know he will soon, though.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 17, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Book People Should Read

    Not a bad book. Lots and Lots of good information concerning imperialism. The first 200 pages are absolutely riveting. Then, I thought the book died a little bit.
    Imperialism by the great powers was awful for the native peoples. There is no question about it. Having read all of Mr. Bradley's books, I applaud him for his work in trying to not only explain cultures and events, but also in his attempt to bridge cultural divides. As much as we still need to have a dialogue in this country about race, we need to explore the effects of imperialism abroad as well.
    My only real criticism of the book is the constant use of the word Aryan. That use made the book very repetitive in some places.
    Bradley had a tough task and a lot to cover in the book - I think his journey was successful. With that said, you are either going to really like this book or not like it. I do not think, and especially reading the other reviews here, that you will find yourself in the comfortable middle on this one.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2010

    Historical narrative

    Filter out the author's obvious political bias. Then enjoy the factual narrative of an interesting niche in US history.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 25, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 review with 3 star rating   See All Ratings
Page 1 of 3