Honor in the Dust: Theodore Roosevelt, War in the Philippines, and the Rise and Fall of America's Imperial Dream

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Overview

On the eve of a new century, an up-and-coming Theodore Roosevelt set out to transform the U.S. into a major world power. The Spanish-American War would forever change America's standing in global affairs, and drive the young nation into its own imperial showdown in the Philippines.

From Admiral George Dewey's legendary naval victory in Manila Bay to the Rough Riders' heroic charge up San Juan Hill, from Roosevelt's rise to the presidency to charges of U.S. military misconduct in...

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Honor in the Dust: Theodore Roosevelt, War in the Philippines, and the Rise and Fall of America's Imperial Dream

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Overview

On the eve of a new century, an up-and-coming Theodore Roosevelt set out to transform the U.S. into a major world power. The Spanish-American War would forever change America's standing in global affairs, and drive the young nation into its own imperial showdown in the Philippines.

From Admiral George Dewey's legendary naval victory in Manila Bay to the Rough Riders' heroic charge up San Juan Hill, from Roosevelt's rise to the presidency to charges of U.S. military misconduct in the Philippines, Honor in the Dust brilliantly captures an era brimming with American optimism and confidence as the nation expanded its influence abroad.

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Editorial Reviews

Candice Millard
What is striking about Honor in the Dust, Gregg Jones's fascinating new book about the Philippine-American War, is not how much war has changed in more than a century, but how little. On nearly every page, there is a scene that feels as if it could have taken place during the Bush and Obama administrations rather than those of McKinley and Roosevelt…Jones, who was once a correspondent in Manila…has a thorough understanding of the Philippines. But it is on the United States that Honor in the Dust casts the brightest, and at times harshest, light.
—The New York Times Book Review
Library Journal
Journalist Jones debuts with this book on TR's darker side. Teddy Roosevelt was a colorful figure of many accomplishments, but most historians today doubt he deserves his place on Mount Rushmore. At best he was a near-great, owing to his penchant for colonialism. Jones covers TR's insistence, as assistant secretary of the navy, on the Spanish-American War of 1898 against the initial inclination of President William McKinley; TR's military glory in Cuba; and—primarily—America's war in the Philippines from 1899 to 1902. With TR's full support, the United States went from backing Filipino revolutionaries against Spain to itself fighting the revolutionaries and covering up military atrocities. TR and colleagues outmaneuvered Mark Twain's Anti-Imperialist League and the Democratic Party. One of the few genuine military heroes was George B. Davis, the army judge advocate general, who candidly recognized the military's use of torture but could not stop it. VERDICT Though this work does not break new ground for scholars, it should attract a wide general readership among those interested in U.S. military history, U.S. foreign policy, and international law. It helps to explain the advent of Fidel Castro and other leaders in reaction to colonialism and foreshadows America's hubris in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. Highly recommended.—William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport
Kirkus Reviews
A journalist provides a balanced look at America's bloody effort to annex the Philippines in the early 20th century. Former Dallas Morning News correspondent Jones (Red Revolution: Inside the Philippine Guerrilla Movement, 1989) gives both sides to the issues and their adherents--though he begins with a graphic description of American soldiers administering water torture to a Filipino captive (the issue of military misconduct recurs repeatedly). Jones swiftly summarizes the war with Spain that gave birth to the events in the Philippines, paying careful attention to rising star Theodore Roosevelt and his exploits with the Rough Riders. We see President William McKinley as something of a ditherer; he was reluctant to make decisions that he knew would cost lives. Once Spain agreed to surrender their sway in the Philippines, the Americans snatched the chance for expansion. President Roosevelt was no ditherer. The Filipinos, initially grateful, quickly realized that they were not going to retain sovereignty, and an insurgency swelled. Soon thousands of American military personnel flooded the islands, and the action turned brutal, sanguinary and punitive. Torture, executions, destruction of private property and the burning of entire villages--all were done by the U.S. in the cause of victory. Jones describes the incidents, chronicles the reactions back home (Mark Twain and Andrew Carnegie were passionately opposed to U. S. involvement) and charts the flight of the political football as Republicans and Democrats fought to control the public perception of events. One major result was the elevated status of the Marines, whose days had seemed numbered beforehand. A well-researched, generally disinterested account whose parallels to today are obvious.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780451239181
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/23/2013
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 379,201
  • Product dimensions: 8.80 (w) x 5.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Gregg Jones was a finalist for both the Pulitzer Prize and the Gerald Loeb Award. His work has appeared in The Dallas Morning News, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, and The Observer (London). He lives in Dallas, TX.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 8, 2012

    Fascinating Account of a Little Understood Episode in our History

    Gregg Jones has written an engrossing and exciting account of a little remembered episode in American History. All students of American History are aware of the events of the Spanish-American War and the emergence of the USA as a major player on the world scene, but few of us have much knowledge of the brutal pacification of the Philippines following the departure of the Spanish. This book goes into detail on the interactions between the Philippino nationalists and the US Army and the deceptions and cruelty displayed by both sides. Prior to reading this book I had no knowledge of such colorful and bizarre characters as "Hell-raising Jake" and Tony Waller and the interactions between the government in Washington and the commanders on the spot were fascinating. The "water cure" and "waterboarding" appear to have been in the military lexicon of intelligence gathering means for over a century....it appears that Gregg Jones is reinforcing the parallels between 1902 and 2003-- The interplay between the characters and the impact of world events to include the Boxer Rebellion in China and its impact on the Philippines is fascinating. I was not aware that the pacification of the Philippines was so severely impacted by the need to provide troops to send to China.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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