The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War

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Overview

In 1905 President Teddy Roosevelt dispatched Secretary of War William Howard Taft on the largest U.S. diplomatic mission in history to Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, China, and Korea. Roosevelt's glamorous twenty-one year old daughter Alice served as mistress of the cruise, which included senators and congressmen. On this trip, Taft concluded secret agreements in Roosevelt's...

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The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War

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Overview

In 1905 President Teddy Roosevelt dispatched Secretary of War William Howard Taft on the largest U.S. diplomatic mission in history to Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, China, and Korea. Roosevelt's glamorous twenty-one year old daughter Alice served as mistress of the cruise, which included senators and congressmen. On this trip, Taft concluded secret agreements in Roosevelt's name.

In 2005, a century later, James Bradley traveled in the wake of Roosevelt's mission and discovered what had transpired in Honolulu, Tokyo, Manila, Beijing and Seoul.

In 1905, Roosevelt was bully-confident and made secret agreements that he though would secure America's westward push into the Pacific. Instead, he lit the long fuse on the Asian firecrackers that would singe America's hands for a century.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
AUDIE AWARD FINALIST:

"FLYBOYS, the story of the U.S. air campaign against Japan during WWII, is told in exacting detail by James Bradley.... In this biography, Bradley describes the Japanese military mind and attitude toward foreigners and tells of their actions toward their own soldiers and the men they captured during the war. Bradley reads his work in a matter-of-fact tone, never emphasizing or downplaying the atrocities on either side of the war. The graphic, horrific details of Japanese torture, mutilation, murder, and cannibalism are recited calmly and succinctly by Bradley, as are the detailed results of America's bombing of Japan."—AudioFile Magazine

Janet Maslin
Mr. Bradley favors broad strokes and may at times be overly eager to connect historical dots, but he also produces graphic, shocking evidence of the attitudes that his book describes…if he brings a reckless passion to The Imperial Cruise, there is at least one extenuating fact behind his thinking. In Flags of Our Fathers he wrote about how his father helped plant the American flag on the island of Iwo Jima during World War II. In The Imperial Cruise he asks why American servicemen like his father had to be fighting in the Pacific at all.
—The New York Times
Ronald Steel
In the decades since his death Theodore Roosevelt has suffered many detractors, and with considerable justification. Yet he was also a great domestic reformer, a trust-buster and a conservationist. What is fascinating about Bradley's reconstruction of a largely neglected aspect of Roosevelt's legacy is the impact that his racial theories and his obsession with personal and national virility had on his diplomacy. Engrossing and revelatory, The Imperial Cruise is revisionist history at its best.
—The New York Times Book Review
Publishers Weekly
Theodore Roosevelt steers America onto the shoals of imperialism in this stridently disapproving study of early 20th-century U.S. policy in Asia. Bestselling author of Flags of Our Fathers, Bradley traces a 1905 voyage to Asia by Roosevelt’s emissary William Howard Taft, who negotiated a secret agreement in which America and Japan recognized each other’s conquests of the Philippines and Korea. (Roosevelt’s flamboyant, pistol-packing daughter Alice went along to generate publicity, and Bradley highlights her antics.) Each port of call prompts a case study of American misdeeds: the brutal counterinsurgency in the Philippines; the takeover of Hawaii by American sugar barons; Roosevelt’s betrayal of promises to protect Korea, which “greenlighted” Japanese expansionism and thus makes him responsible for Pearl Harbor. Bradley explores the racist underpinnings of Roosevelt’s policies and paradoxical embrace of the Japanese as “Honorary Aryans.” Bradley’s critique of Rooseveltian imperialism is compelling but unbalanced. He doesn’t explain how Roosevelt could have evicted the Japanese from Korea, and insinuates that the Japanese imperial project was the brainstorm of American advisers. Ironically, his view of Asian history, like Roosevelt’s, denies agency to the Asians themselves. Photos, maps. One-day laydown.(Nov. 24)
Library Journal
Bradley (Flags of Our Fathers) has written a compelling book on a forgotten diplomatic mission. In 1905, President Theodore Roosevelt sent Secretary of War William Howard Taft on a cruise to Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, China, and Korea, a diplomatic mission that also included Roosevelt's daughter, Alice. The mission was to solidify a secret U.S.-Japanese agreement to allow Japan to expand into Korea and China, with the irrepressible Alice distracting reporters. This agreement, resulting in the Treaty of Portsmouth, ultimately helped spark not only World War II in the Pacific but the 1949 Chinese Revolution and the Korean War. Bradley describes Taft and Roosevelt as firm believers in the White Man's Burden: since Japan embraced Western culture, Roosevelt wanted it to spread that culture to the rest of Asia. However, their policies backfired because anti-American feelings grew in China, the Philippines, and Korea as America turned its back on these countries, while America and Europe did not check Japanese aggression. Ultimately, Bradley reminds readers in well-cited detail of Roosevelt's often overlooked racist attitudes. Bradley's writing style will appeal to the general reader, with its good mix of letters, newspapers, and sound secondary sources. VERDICT Anyone interested in American history will want to read this book, especially those who want background on the foreign policy of this first sitting President to win the Nobel peace prize. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 7/09.]—Bryan Craig, MLS, Nellysford, VA
Kirkus Reviews
The story of a forgotten diplomatic excursion inspired by Theodore Roosevelt's bigotry. Bradley (Flyboys: A True Story of Courage, 2003, etc.)-who wrote about his father's experience at Iwo Jima in Flags of Our Fathers (2000)-examines a little-known effort by Roosevelt to manipulate the aftermath of the Russo-Japanese War and extend the Monroe Doctrine to Asia by encouraging Japan to act as a proxy for the West. In the summer of 1905, a party that included Secretary of War William Taft and Roosevelt's rebellious daughter Alice set sail on the ocean liner Manchuria to their Pacific destinations of Hawaii, Korea, Japan, China and the Philippines. At the time, the voyage captured the public imagination. However, Taft was charged with an agenda that included maintaining dominance over American territories-the protests of America's Hawaiian and Filipino "wards" notwithstanding-and promoting Roosevelt's dream of an "Open Door" in Asia. Bradley argues that the mission was a result of the president's adherence to a crackpot philosophy of "Aryan" racial superiority. "Like many Americans," he writes, "Roosevelt held dearly to a powerful myth that proclaimed the White Christian as the highest rung on the evolutionary ladder." In Roosevelt's mind, this excused American brutality in subduing Filipino insurgents, and it furthered his public image as a wise Western warrior. However, the president made a major intellectual blunder when he decided the Japanese could be considered "Honorary Aryans," due to "the Japanese eagerness to emulate White Christian ways." This, coupled with his contempt for the Chinese, Filipino and Hawaiian peoples, inspired him to play nation-builder, with disastrousconsequences. Bradley asserts that Taft and Roosevelt violated the Constitution by offering Japan a secret deal, characterized as a "Monroe Doctrine for Asia." Arguably, Japanese pique over America's unwillingness to acknowledge this subterfuge fueled their expansionist dreams and pointed the way toward the Pearl Harbor attack. A rueful, disturbing account of a regrettable period of American imperialism.
Gene Santoro
[Bradley's] ingenious narrative thread is to track an across-the-pacific 1905 goodwill voyage by Roosevelt's emissaries....[his indictment of Roosevelt] raises tantalizing questions.
American History
USA Today
"For readers under the impression that history is the story of good guys and bad guys...this book could be useful medicine."
Associated Press Staff
"A page-turner."
Ronald Steel
A provocative study...What is fascinating about Bradley's reconstruction of a largely neglected aspect of Roosevelt's legacy is the impact that his racial theories and his obsession with personal and national virility had on his diplomacy. Engrossing and revelatory, The Imperial Cruise is revisionist history at its best.
New York Times Book Review
Gene santoro
[Bradley's] ingenious narrative thread is to track an across-the-pacific 1905 goodwill voyage by Roosevelt's emissaries....[his indictment of Roosevelt] raises tantalizing questions.
American History
Rick Hampson
For readers under the impression that history is the story of good guys and bad guys, and that Americans are always the former, this book could be useful medicine.
USA Today
Mike Householder
A page-turner with solidly attributed eye-opening passages.
Associated Press
Gene Santoro - American History
"[Bradley's] ingenious narrative thread is to track an across-the-pacific 1905 goodwill voyage by Roosevelt's emissaries....[his indictment of Roosevelt] raises tantalizing questions."
Ronald Steel - New York Times Book Review
"A provocative study...What is fascinating about Bradley's reconstruction of a largely neglected aspect of Roosevelt's legacy is the impact that his racial theories and his obsession with personal and national virility had on his diplomacy. Engrossing and revelatory, The Imperial Cruise is revisionist history at its best."
Janet Maslin - New York Times
PRAISE FOR THE IMPERIAL CRUISE:

"Incendiary...[The Imperial Cruise] is startling enough to reshape conventional wisdom about Roosevelt's presidency."

David M. Shribman - The Boston Globe
"Engaging...this is a book to admire and, it must be said, to enjoy."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781607886709
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio
  • Publication date: 11/8/2010
  • Format: CD
  • Sales rank: 1,360,630
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 1.50 (d)

Meet the Author

James Bradley is the author of the NYT bestsellers Flyboys and Flags of Our Fathers and the son of one of the men who raised the American flag on Iwo Jima. He lives in New York.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 205 )
Rating Distribution

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(50)

4 Star

(37)

3 Star

(41)

2 Star

(37)

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(40)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 206 Customer Reviews
  • 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.

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  • Posted November 27, 2009

    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 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

    14 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Save your money !

    I think this is a very disappointing book. I was looking for a story about a cruise. Instead it's short on cruise info and long on America bashing, factual or not. I wish I hadn't bought this book, it's a waste of money in my opinion.

    13 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • Posted January 8, 2010

    OK James, I give up!!! Uncle!

    I will admit up front that I didn't finish CRUISE. In fairness I didn't want to give a rating, but it was required. I got to page 124 and tied a white hankey to a stick and frantically waved it. I got really sick and tired of "Aryan", "Aryan American", "White Christian Male", "westering" & "follow the setting sun" on, or at least it seemed, just about every page. Oh, and let's not forget "Anglo-Saxon". After a few pages it seemed that Bradley was writing these words with venom as another reviewer wrote. I could sense the contempt that Bradley was writing with in using these particular words over and over and over again as if they were code words or some sort of mantra in describing this time period. In others words, it gave me tired head! I loved FLAGS OF OUR FATHERS and FLYBOYS, but Bradley writes in FLYBOYS for about 5 or so chapters about how the Japanese became so militaristic in the, if I remember correctly, late 19th century and felt compelled to include the American military's harsh treatment of the American Indian. I was so very excited to see the Bradley had a new book, but was completely turned off by this one. I know that many of our ancestors werent' the most congenial to those of a different color of skin in the early days of our country. I don't want a rose colored account of this particular era, but I'd like something a little more engaging. I am not the quickest of readers as my username implies, so I have to be very, very choosey when it comes to selecting books to read.

    10 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Which cultural icon after Theodore Roosevelt can I shred next?

    It's probably because I'm tired of writers taking a heretofore unassailable famous person's life and finding ways of disparaging it that I give the book the rating that it has. Theodore Roosevelt, a naturalist who was almost single-handedly responsible for our National Park system, a man who lived the strenuous life to its fullest, and a man who valued the unique status of being an American, is systematically slapped about by James Bradley.

    I had a short exchange with Mr. Bradley via his message forum on his website, asking him, after making it a few chapters into the book, if the entire book was going to consist of telling us what a rotten guy TR was; his response was, in essence, "Hey, I'm just the messenger and this is what my research showed me." I believe that it was very slanted research, to say the least; fairly insignificant chapters in Roosevelt's life are given lots of coverage if they make him look bad; others, such as the journey down a tributary of the Amazon River in his late 50s, or his charge up San Juan Hill in Cuba, which showed his bravery and guts, are mentioned in passing, sort of in the "well, yeah, he did that, but we can't have anyone thinking good things about the guy, so I'm not going to tell you any more because we can't have him looking good" mode. To hear Bradley tell it, Roosevelt pretty much spent a couple of weeks in the Dakota badlands, regardless of what the research of OTHER authors (Morris, McCullough) told THEM, and supposedly inflated this material to make himself look rough and tough.

    I like my heroes human. Roosevelt may not have been God, but he was an American male in the days before metrosexuals became the fashion -- in short, what was once called "a man's man." Research or not, this would seem to me to be revisionist history at its "finest," somewhat akin to the author who claimed that Abraham Lincoln was homosexual because he shared beds with men while riding the circuit in the Illinois backwoods. There are some Americans that would be better not being messed around with; TR, in my opinion, is unmercifully flogged by Bradley, who would be running for the hills if Roosevelt had been alive when this book was written, because Roosevelt would be leading a one-man charge to Bradley's front door.

    Bradley, riding on the success of his excellent book, Flags Of Our Fathers, and a subsequent work, Flyboys, which is ALSO excellent reading, made me assume that this book would be great reading. I love biography and, where it applies, history, plus it had the added advantage of involving the life of a man whose experiences I find exciting and valuable. Because of Bradley's past books, both of which I own, I was sucked in, and bought this one without hearing anything about it. I'm sorry I did, and after slogging through the systematic trashing of Theodore Roosevelt for about three-quarters of the book, pitched it onto the book pile of rejects next to my nightstand. I just couldn't make it through to the end, folks. If you don't know much about Roosevelt, or don't particularly care about his life, go ahead and read this book. To a Rooseveltphile reading this is an exercise in masochism, and one which I abruptly brought to a halt.

    9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 13, 2010

    Creative History

    I was very disappointed in 'The Imperial Cruise' after having read 'Flags of our Fathers' by Bradley. Bradley spends the entire book blaming all of the worlds problems on Americans, Christians and white people; that were it not for these groups the people of the world would be sitting around holding hands and singing songs of peace. He seems to ignore the fact that many groups through out history have been in conflict with each other over land, riches and religion since the beginning of recorded time; long before they came into contact with or even before some of these groups existed. Of course this does not seem to bother Bradley, as in the book he repeatly ignores, edits or creates historical facts to fit his opinions. Bradley demonstrates many of the same biases that accuses the individuals in the book of doing. The heavy handed and sophomoric writing of the work is tiresome, to say the least. If this is the quality of the writing that can be expected from Bradley in the future, I won't bother to waste any more money of anything else he should publish.

    7 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2010

    Very Disapointing Historical Study From a Very Accomplished Author

    The "Imperial Cruise" in this book is only a backdrop for an unrelenting attack on Theodore Roosevelt, who comes off as a racist and warmonger. The assault becomes tedious, with repeated use of the words white race, Anglo-Saxon race, Teutons and Aryans to depict the mind-set of TR and other U.S. political and military leaders.
    There is no balance to lend credibility to the author's point of view,
    which in the end blames TR for all the wars in Asia and in the Pacific
    during the 20th century.
    I expected a lot more from the author of Flags of Our Fathers and Flyboys.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 6, 2010

    He's done better work in the past

    I found this book a disturbing work of alleged scholarship. While I believe that each author should have their own interpretation of events, that interpretation should not be filtered through a personal agenda. Unfortunately, Mr. Bradley's interpretation of the facts is filtered through the prism of his father's experience in WWII. He seems to want to blame the Roosevelt administration and Theodore Roosevelt for WWII. While there was a great deal of racism evident during that time, it was not the cause of the war.

    The book is a mish-mash of quotes from scholarly works, mostly taken out of context, included for the sole purpose of proving his thesis. It is not particuarly well-written but I would recommend it a primer on how not to write a work on an historical period. I was disappointed in Mr. Bradley's latest work, he's much better than this effort.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2009

    Call it what it is: Another Anti-America Novel

    through sloppy scholarship and conspiracy theories, Bradley shows his desperation in making a villain out of Roosevelt. think DaVinci code; a well written novel but sorely lacking in scholarship and objectivity.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 25, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Bradley's unique window on history

    From the sands of Iwo Jima and Chichi Jima to the story of Theodore Roosevelt's worldview and a treaty hidden from view of most history classes for a century, James Bradley sets sail on an imperial cruise through America's relationship with the Far East. This provocative, bold account is written not in the authoritative voice of the historian far removed, but in Bradley's own voice, immediate and full of surprise. His is a sardonic voice that will send chills up the spines of academics in their ivory towers. His voice is no less authentic because it belongs to an 'amateur historian". A great read and the perfect book for holiday giving.

    6 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Following Two Wonderfully Written Books This Is a Collosal Disappointment

    After two engaging and well docoument books, Flags of My Father & Flyboys, Bradley promises to show how the seeds for conflict with Japan were laid during the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt when his daughter, Alice, and Secretary Taft secretly sailed to Japan and negotiated an illegal treaty. Instead what we get is an angry rant over the history Teutonic philosophy and Aryan tenets. While many of the events Bradley uses to connect the dots are well documented historical events, and his theory is intriguing, what flows onto the page appears to be an attempt at an indictment to vendicate his father. While that is admirable for the role of a son, it doesn't serve him well in his role of emerging historical writer. He may very well be onto something wtih this theory, but he came across incoherent and emotional with all loss of objectivity

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 15, 2010

    THE IMPERIAL CRUISE

    This book will appeal to historical history buffs. I was shocked to learn of the initial involvement of the USA in the early affairs of Japan, helping to modernize it and helping it become a military powerhouse for the intended purpose of advancing America's dominance in Asia. All this being done in secrecy by then President Teddy Roosevelt.

    It is a must read for those who are not afraid of finding out some troubling truths about America's polital mind set in the early 1900s and how it lead to tens of thousands of lost American lives in WW2 and on going issues for present times.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 14, 2010

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    New Views Of Teddy Roosevelt

    In 1905, members of the United States government embarked on a cruise that took them throughout the Asian countries of Hawaii, the Phillipines, Korea, Japan and China. The cruise was a mission created by the President, Theodore Roosevelt. Not going himself, he sent his Secretary of War, William Taft, numerous members of Congress, and to make the occasion seem like a pleasant trip to renew ties and honor allies, his daughter Alice. Alice was known as "The Princess", the Jackie Onassis of her time. The press couldn't get enough of her, her clothes and her antics. She provided the perfect cover for the true purpose of the trip.

    For there was a hidden purpose. Roosevelt, as was the case with many others in that time, felt that the white Christian male had a destiny to rule the world. America, along with England and the other European powers, felt it was their right to take over the Oriental nations and to carve them up into so many prizes on a poker table.

    This is not the cuddley Theodore Roosevelt of the Teddy Bear and the Rough Riders legend. This is the Roosevelt who time after time, in writing after writing and speech after speech, evangelized his belief in his race's superiority over all others, and his firm decision that God was on his side as he gathered nations and trade tokens to his country. This was the Roosevelt of the motto, "Speak softly but carry a big stick" who believed that might made right, and that anyone who stood in his way should be put down brutally.

    It is the author's belief that Roosevelt's shortsightedness and prejudice laid the cornerstone of the catalysm that was World World II. The United States had entered into a secret treaty with Japan that gave them permission to take Korea and as much of China as they could bite off. The shock was decades later when this favored nation turned against their champions. Bradley puts the blame for WWII squarely in Roosevelt's lap.

    Readers of history will find this book interesting. While I don't personally believe that Roosevelt's policies were the sole source of the second World War as they don't account for Hitler and the Nazi atrocies, it is a spotlight into a hidden side of American history. I was shocked to hear how openly prejudice was expressed, not only by politicians but by other revered American figures such as Ralph Waldo Emerson. This book is recommended for nonfiction readers.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 7, 2010

    Disappointing

    I like this author, but what we have here is a 10 page college essay puffed up into a book. It is meticulously researched, but Mr. Bradley does not add to the historical analysis of the period he chronicles in the slightest. It is repetitive and then even more repetitive. Staying with it to the end is very difficult.

    The facts regarding 19th and early 20th century American colonialist policies are interesting and absorbing, but the author manages to repeat his point so often that, in the end, he trivializes them. The topic has been covered by others in more imaginative and enlightening ways.

    If you are interested in the topics covered in this book, look elsewhere. The "revelations" in this book regarding the Taft imperial cruise are interesting but could be covered in a newspaper story. They are not weighty enough to warrant a book.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2010

    The Imperial Cruise

    The contents are shocking. The book reveals an embarassing period in America's mismanaged pacific policies that occured during the McKinely, Roosevelt and Taft administrations. Perhaps instead of continually recycling European atrocities in their films, Hollywood should follow the sun to the west for new and equally disturbing material.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    The things we never know are scary, important and make a difference in who we realy are, or thought we were.

    If this book is acurate then the things we did, believed in and promoted made a difference in the things that followed. Our self image of country isn't all that it's cracked up to be. And it sure isn't what I was taught.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 17, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Liberal Revisonist claptrap

    In his latest book, Mr. Bradley takes on one of our most revered Republican Presidents, branding him a warmonger and placing squarely on his shoulders the blame for the 1940's pacific war, the Korean War, and just about any other evil he can dream up. Citing that the 1905 Diplomatic tour of the Far East undertaken by Secretary of War (And Future President) William Howard Taft, Theodore Roosevelts daughter Alice, and a score of Congressmen and their wives as a carefully concieved covert operation in order to influence foriegn policy, and further the cause of white supremacy by betraying Korea to the Japanese, slaughter the fillipinos, and plant the stars and stripes at every port. When Bradley can't find a historical citation to support his claims, he makes them up, such as his statement that Alice's Roosevelt's more famous activities such as her fully clothed plunge into a shipboard swimming pool were in reality carefully planned "Media Events" meant to divert reporters attention away from the possibly illegal true purpose of the trip. (T.R. supposedly circumventing Congress. In regards to Miss. Roosevelt's plunge, Bradley describes passengers standing about as crewmen fill the pool in preperation, yet fails to cite where he obtain his facts, this little detail never being reported before either by Alice herself in her autobiography, or by the authors of the countless books written about both her and her father.
    Another drawback is the way Bradley presents his narrative. The reader follows along on the day to day events of the trip, then everything slams to a halt as you are given extensive background about where they are at the time.
    This is just another smear job of a conservative icon by Bradley and his liberal ilk who seem to be out to make sure future generations see such people as they want them to be seen, sort of like those who feel thge attack on Pearl Harbor by Japan was all our fault. (Wait, Bradley does blame Teddy for that as well.) My sugesstion is to save your money, and check the book out at your local library.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2010

    A History Revisionist at His Best

    I just finished this book and feel as if it were a huge bait and switch. I was under the impression that it would be focused on this secret imperial cruise when instead the author appeared to have some axe to grind with Roosevelt and Taft. Many of the 'facts' used to support the assertions in this book are quotes taken out of context and the personal opinions of people who opposed Rooselt. The book seems to have no continuity to it, at one moment it is talking in depth of the cruise, then it jumps all over the place to historical atrocities committed by America. While there is some truth to the foolish meddling in world affairs by politicians of the time, the assertion that Roosevelt's secret dealings with the Japanese lead to our eventual war with them in the Pacific is unfounded. Also, in addition to the story jumping around all over the place, the repeated use and reference of the world Aryan got very old. A word that has taken on a new meaning is used inappropriately to give the false impression that Roosevelt and the leaders of his day held onto Hitler-like ideals. The book seems to do work hard at portraying Roosevelt as a racist, and ignores any of the facts that contradict that belief. I would highly recommend you don't waste a dime on this book.

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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