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I read The Imperial Cruise last winter soon after it first came out, but I'm reviewing it now because it's due soon in paperback and, more importantly, because I think that even though this book was a bestseller, I honestly don't believe it received the attention it deserved. As readers of his Flags of Our Fathers and Flyboys know, James Bradley is a talented storyteller; so fine, in fact, that I think that many reviewers minimized the significance of its message. The narrative is spellbinding, doubly so because it involves two fascinating men: President Teddy Roosevelt who dispatched future U.S. president William Howard Taft on an extended diplomatic mission to Asia in 1905. What happened on that mission though is even striking than their amply-sized personalities: Ignoring Congress and, indeed, the U.S. Constitution, TR sent WHT halfway around the world to make secret agreements that set the cast on our Asian foreign policy for decades and might have doomed us to war in that faraway region. Bradley's book shows how Roosevelt's personal mindset (and reading!) shaped his fateful decision and our subsequent history.