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The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War Hardcover – November 24, 2009
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The Age of Daredevils
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Top Customer Reviews
Other reviewers have pointed out that there is not much about the cruise undertaken by W.H. Taft and Alice Roosevelt in this book, and I feel it is mainly a convenient device to tell a tale which is really expressed in the sub-title 'A Secret History of Empire and War.' There are in fact two main narrative threads here: a rather gruesome and to many readers upsetting one about American imperialist ambitions and 'westering' colonization of the Pacific (Hawaii) and East Asia (the Philippines), and another to me more interesting one about U.S.-Japan relations. This review will focus on the latter.
James Bradley has done an excellent and well-researched job of presenting the history in detail of the exchanges between Kaneko and Roosevelt, though he seems unaware, or at least does not mention, that Kentaro Kaneko (1853-1942) had already met Theodore Roosevelt before 1904 through an introduction arranged by Harvard-educated William Sturgis Bigelow (1850-1926), the Bostonian collector of Japanese art. They first met in 1890 when Roosevelt was Head of the Civil Service Commission and Kaneko was returning to Japan via the U.S.Read more ›
1) I am deeply disappointed by the bias evident in the "factual" underpinnings of his thesis; Bradley clearly is massaging the facts to fit his simplistic argument in the same way that a 19th century Social Darwinist would. Two concrete examples: during his brief overview of the Mexican War, Bradley refers to the Neuces River as the "internationally recognized border", portraying the US presence there as illegal. The reality is significantly more complicated. Following the Battle of San Jacinto, the Mexican president had signed the "treaty" of Velasco (subsequently renounced by Mexico) recognizing the Rio Grande as the border. No other documents ever concluded the Texas Revolution, so it is safe to say that the border situation was ambiguous; if there was any "recognized" border from 1836 to 1846, it was the Rio Grande. Moreover, there certainly was no United Nations corollary in 1836 to provide the imprinatur of "international recognition" - I would be interested to see any documents from European or Asian legations backing up Bradley's claim.
Second, during his section on Japan, Bradley repeatedly refers to the "closed" period of Tokugawa Japan as a benevolent time where "the samurai class set down their swords and became teachers", where culture flourished and Japan prospered. Again, the reality is significantly more complicated.Read more ›
He also seems to make a point of suggesting that T. Roosevelt was likely pro-slavery. He points out (p. 36) for no apparent reason, that Roosevelt's 17th century ancestor owned slaves in the Dutch Colony of "New Amsterdam"; presumably implying that TR inherited the same inclinations of his ancestor 200 years later. (Note, that slavery in the 17th century was common in all parts of what is now the United States, including all of the European colonies as well as the areas controlled by the Native Americans (e.g., "Indians"). It was also common in Europe, Asia, and Africa.) As slaves at the time in New Amsterdam were predominately Europeans, not Africans, Bradley's point in mentioning this fact must be to depict TR as pro-slavery. (I suspect Bradley's intent was to add to his implication of TR as a racist, and not to suggest any pro-slavery leanings on TR's part.)
That America and its leaders at the time would generally be considered racist in America today is not disputed. However, Bradley seems to want to emphasize that fact. In doing so, he seems to ignore anything that might mitigate his point.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Eye opening though not totally surprising information. Good read. Would recommend to others. While author accurately conveyed arrogance of "White Christianity", thought it... Read morePublished 1 day ago by RickB
"Inevitable Revolutions" and "Blood & Oil" have the same Love/Hate reviews. Split along US dem vs repub party lines. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Amazon Customer
this book is rubbish - slanted and rejected even by historiansPublished 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
I gave it 5 stars for the information it contained. The writing itself was just average.
Few know what we did to the Filipino people and that we destroyed a functioning... Read more
A highly readable historical narrative that carries forth the impact of aryan supremacy (social darwinism) through America's fourteen year war to impose American... Read morePublished 2 months ago by John Finch
This piece of revisionist garbage is based on the theory that the poor benighted Japanese needed a Yankee to tell them how to be imperialists. Read morePublished 2 months ago by S. M Stirling
In 1905, Theodore Roosevelt sent William Howard Taft, his Secretary of War on a “Show the flag” naval tour of the Philippines, Japan, China and Korea. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Charles Bookman