The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War

The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War

by James Bradley


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On the success of his two bestselling books about World War II, James Bradley began to wonder what the real catalyst was for the Pacific War. What he discovered shocked him.

In 1905 President Teddy Roosevelt dispatched Secretary of War William Taft, his daughter Alice, and a gaggle of congressmen on a mission to Japan, the Philippines, China, and Korea with the intent of forging an agreement to divide up Asia. This clandestine pact lit the fuse that would-decades later-result in a number of devastating wars: WWII, the Korean War, and the communist revolution in China.

In 2005, James Bradley retraced that epic voyage and discovered the remarkable truth about America's vast imperial past. Full of fascinating characters brought brilliantly to life, The Imperial Cruise will powerfully revise the way we understand U.S. history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316014007
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 11/08/2010
Pages: 387
Sales rank: 124,821
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

James Bradley is the author of the New York Times 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.

What People are Saying About This

David M. Shribman

Engaging...this is a book to admire and, it must be said, to enjoy.

The Boston Globe

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Imperial Cruise 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 225 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Carl_Anthony More than 1 year ago
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
pennan-inc More than 1 year ago
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
ChinaMarine More than 1 year ago
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."
DCrevina More than 1 year ago
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.
Slowbutsure More than 1 year ago
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.
CaptHerp More than 1 year ago
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.
sandiek More than 1 year ago
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.
regina77004 More than 1 year ago
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
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
ChiefKen More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Ellen_Scott More than 1 year ago
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.
Chris Regier More than 1 year ago
after reading flags of our fathers, this book was a major disappointment.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was amateurish, disjointed, and very, very lacking in any historical depth at all. Bradley takes one brief period of Western relations with Asia and boldly directs blame for WWII (35 years after the book's period) and all future American-Asian tension on Roosevelt, as if there were no other contributing factors. Interesting thesis, but a book seriously attempting to prove it would be a little longer than 300 pages, and absolutely have more historical data than a few lifted quotations from Roosevelt biographers. 3rd and last read of Bradley for me, every time he gets a little worse. This is my first rating, this book made me so mad I felt compelled to write. Skip this one please.
JimInTulsa More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
AliceFan1 More than 1 year ago
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.
Ramsbottom More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Mr. Bradley is capitalizing on not only his own fame, but also his father's fame as one of the flag-raisers at Iwo Jimo to peddle this book as a scholarly work that blames Teddy Roosevelt and Taft for not only WWII, but seemingly all other problems in Asia, notably the Korean peninsula. By using such charged language as "Aryan Americans," he is clearly trying to get the reader to associate Roosevelt and Taft with the ideals that Hitler popularized in Germany during the 1930s and 40s. What he claims as fact are politically charged newspaper and periodical articles in a time when such institutions were blatant in their political leanings and posters that are borderline propaganda. He also uses quotes and other facts that are taken out of context to back up his position which seems to be nestled in the leftist America-bashing camp. The telling history should attempt to be as unbiased as possible to create a clear picture of events, something that Mr. Bradley is clearly unable to do. For those history buffs that have read extensively about the period in question, skip this book as it will do nothing but incense you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As a fan of President Theodore Roosevelt I was disappointed with the approach and frankly scope that the author takes. The book is a quick read and lays out information for the reader to place the historical in context. America of TR is a rising power with a belief in itself and some harsh realities especially towards those who were different. Racism, ethnic pride and the quest for power were all hallmarks of the era and the leadership. However, the point appears to be over made and the author appears to over reach. While TR and company made an attempt to colonize Mr. Bradley in my opinion makes the classic mistake non-historians often fall into, namely judging the time and subject via a current perspective. Yes, TR was a model for his day--a fierce leader and man of action who today could not thrive in our politically correct world. It is with disappointment that I put the work down and thought what could have been had a different approach been taken. The seeds of WWII and the later 20th Century Pacific rim conflicts were influenced by American idealism and imperialism but discounts the role of so many as does Mr. Bradley. Unfortunately I cannot recommend this work as anything other than fiction.
jimmymacNY More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
FreedomwriterHK More than 1 year ago
The premise of this book is that US foreign policy at the end of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th Century was one of the major causes of WWII, and that it was was rooted in racism. The racial superiority theme is thumped home by the author's tendentious repetition of the charge that the American "Aryans" (as he labels them) were bent on pushing "Christian civilization" on Asian cultures (China, Korea, the Philippines). The defacto US alliance with Japan, cemented by Theodore Roosevelt's midwifing of the end of the Russo-Japanese War, does not neatly fit the author's conspiracy among "Aryans" to dominate East Asia, so the author creates the category of "Honorary Aryan" to make Japan fit his rhetorical Procrustean bed. Using the provocative and emotionally-charged theme of racial superiority to link the US historically to Nazi Germany, the author sets out to prove that TR's strong tilt toward Japan was a root cause of the rise of Japanese imperialism a quarter century later, and thus was a major contributing factor to WWII. This theory ignores the many intervening events that led to Pearl Harbor, and, in effect, faults TR for lacking the powers of prophecy. Thus, despite the author's efforts, he fails to make a convincing case. The author does usefully expose many sordid details of US policy in East Asia in the decade following the Spanish-American War, particularly the brutal suppression of the Philippine Insurrection. Yet he does not break any new ground, and the story is told without balance, perspective or historical context. The book includes a number of obvious errors, such as claiming that Panama was severed from Venezuela, rather than Colombia, as any high school student knows (or should know), and as any casual glance at a globe would reveal. There is also opinion masquerading as fact, such as the author's assertion that the Cuban natives could have expelled their Spanish masters in 1898 without a US invasion. That may well be true, but no source is given, so we are left to ponder its provenance. In summary, this book is more polemic than history. It will appeal mostly to those who are given to a view of history in which all is explained by blaming America first.
HistoryLvr More than 1 year ago
A horrible, sloppy one-sided account of American history giftwrapped for those who love to hate America - that's the only way I can describe this book. Page after page of ranting about the United States and it's "racist warmongering" and it's policies of self-interest. The lamb taken to the altar is President Theodore Roosevelt and from the way that Bradley writes his narrative you would think the man raped his great grandmother or something. It's just awful and doesn't even come close to an impartial account of events that transpired over a hundred years ago. You can't use today's morality to judge people from an entirely different era - especially if the behavior you are judging was being practiced by every developed nation around the world at the time. Despite Mr. Bradley's rant, Teddy Roosevelt & America certainly didn't hold the monopoly on racism in the early 1900s. Before the 21st century and the ability for people to interact globally like we do today, all countries of the world used race as a method of conjuring up martial spirit. You can go to the beginning of recorded history to find this, yet Bradley ignores that and goes on like Teddy Roosevelt was the 19th Century Heinrich Himmler or something. Save your money...I wouldn't even use the pages of this book to line the bottom of my parakeet's cage.