Hot Best Seller

The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War

Availability: Ready to download

In 1905 President Teddy Roosevelt dispatched Secretary of War William Taft, his gun-toting daughter Alice and a gaggle of congressmen on a mission to Japan, the Philippines, China, and Korea. There, they would quietly forge a series of agreements that divided up Asia. At the time, Roosevelt was bully-confident about America's future on the continent. But these secret pacts In 1905 President Teddy Roosevelt dispatched Secretary of War William Taft, his gun-toting daughter Alice and a gaggle of congressmen on a mission to Japan, the Philippines, China, and Korea. There, they would quietly forge a series of agreements that divided up Asia. At the time, Roosevelt was bully-confident about America's future on the continent. But these secret pacts lit the fuse that would--decades later--result in a number of devastating wars: WWII, the Korean War, the communist revolution in China. One hundred years later, James Bradley retraces that epic voyage and discovers the remarkable truth about America's vast imperial past--and its world-shaking consequences. Full of fascinating characters and brilliantly told, The Imperial Cruise will forever reshape the way we understand U.S. history. Contents: History repeating -- Civilization follows the Sun -- Benevolent intentions -- Pacific Negroes -- Haoles -- Honorary Aryans -- Playing Roosevelt's game -- The Japanese Monroe Doctrine for Asia -- The imperial cruise -- Roosevelt's open and closed doors -- Incognito in Japan -- Sellout in Seoul -- Following the Sun --


Compare

In 1905 President Teddy Roosevelt dispatched Secretary of War William Taft, his gun-toting daughter Alice and a gaggle of congressmen on a mission to Japan, the Philippines, China, and Korea. There, they would quietly forge a series of agreements that divided up Asia. At the time, Roosevelt was bully-confident about America's future on the continent. But these secret pacts In 1905 President Teddy Roosevelt dispatched Secretary of War William Taft, his gun-toting daughter Alice and a gaggle of congressmen on a mission to Japan, the Philippines, China, and Korea. There, they would quietly forge a series of agreements that divided up Asia. At the time, Roosevelt was bully-confident about America's future on the continent. But these secret pacts lit the fuse that would--decades later--result in a number of devastating wars: WWII, the Korean War, the communist revolution in China. One hundred years later, James Bradley retraces that epic voyage and discovers the remarkable truth about America's vast imperial past--and its world-shaking consequences. Full of fascinating characters and brilliantly told, The Imperial Cruise will forever reshape the way we understand U.S. history. Contents: History repeating -- Civilization follows the Sun -- Benevolent intentions -- Pacific Negroes -- Haoles -- Honorary Aryans -- Playing Roosevelt's game -- The Japanese Monroe Doctrine for Asia -- The imperial cruise -- Roosevelt's open and closed doors -- Incognito in Japan -- Sellout in Seoul -- Following the Sun --

30 review for The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Two and a half stars rounded down. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor – its Teddy Roosevelt’s fault. So it’s not this Teddy featured in this book: But this one: If you want to bolster James Bradley’s premise even more, according to him, it was the Aryan (read: white, Anglo-Saxon) destiny to subdue the locals (read: Native Americans, Hawaiians, Philippines, anyone who isn’t white) and rule (read: slaughter/trick/manipulate) them because they aren’t white and can’t govern themselves. Plus, we’ll get Two and a half stars rounded down. The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor – its Teddy Roosevelt’s fault. So it’s not this Teddy featured in this book: But this one: If you want to bolster James Bradley’s premise even more, according to him, it was the Aryan (read: white, Anglo-Saxon) destiny to subdue the locals (read: Native Americans, Hawaiians, Philippines, anyone who isn’t white) and rule (read: slaughter/trick/manipulate) them because they aren’t white and can’t govern themselves. Plus, we’ll get rich, because we’re Aryans and let’s go further and say it’s God’s will and no guilt. Teddy Roosevelt secretly (read: unconstitutionally) formed an alliance with the Japanese, and because the Japanese were smart enough to adapt Western ways rather quickly, they became (Bradley’s term, not mine) honorary Aryans. Roosevelt encouraged Japan to see North Asia as Japan’s own domain and gifted them with the convenient Monroe Doctrine East concept. “Hey Japan, feel free to exploit the natives, but remember it’s an open door for your pal, America, so we can all get rich together. And because you’ve played the game so well in beating back the Slavs (see Russo-Japanese War) will give you Korea* as a parting gift.” Japan, who felt cheated (no reparations in a deal brokered by Nobel Peace Prize winning, slick Teddy! ) and then angry, didn’t stop just there and the rest is, well, history. The “cruise”? Roosevelt, who expertly crafted his own “Rough Rider” image, sent William Howard Taft (who would have loved Twinkies and thrilled by the concept of competitive eating for money and fame) and his daughter, Alice (the Paris Hilton/Kim Kardashian of her day) on cruise to Asia - Taft, to secretly negotiate with the Japanese and Alice to deflect the press with her “It girl” antics. They didn’t do selfies back then, it was all done with etchings. The United States has done some despicable things in the name of “imperialism” and if this is what you want to read about, Bradley provides you with 330 overbearing odd pages of it. I learned a lot, but in the end felt incredibly manipulated and dirty. *

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sean O'Hara

    Just came across this gem: "In 1844, America elected James Polk to the presidency. At the time of his election, the United States was a small country with states exclusively east of the Mississippi. The Louisiana Purchase territory was unorganized. Great Britain claimed the Oregon Territory in the Northwest, and Mexico held what would later be Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California." Let us review all the errors in this paragraph. 1) The United States was never a small country. E Just came across this gem: "In 1844, America elected James Polk to the presidency. At the time of his election, the United States was a small country with states exclusively east of the Mississippi. The Louisiana Purchase territory was unorganized. Great Britain claimed the Oregon Territory in the Northwest, and Mexico held what would later be Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California." Let us review all the errors in this paragraph. 1) The United States was never a small country. Even the original 13 states were larger than any European country save Russia, and by 1844 the United States was comparable in size to Western Europe. 2) There were three states west of the Mississippi in 1844 -- (most of) Louisiana (1812), Missouri (1821) and Arkansas (1836). Considering the Missouri compromise was one of the most important events in Antebellum politics, Bradley's ignorance on this score is astonishing. 3) If (2) didn't give it away, the "Louisiana Purchase territory" had been organized in part by 1844. 4) Mexico gave up possession of Texas in 1836. At the same time, he fails to mention Arizona, which Mexico did control. This is third grade civics. The fact that an actul published history book cold contain these mistakes is astonishing. EDIT: Another doozy -- Bradley says that Teddy Roosevelt's fellow politicians compared him to Oscar Wilde in the early 1880s. This is certainly true, but not in the way Bradley means -- this would be right around the time Wilde made his first appearance in the US, and he came across as quite the foppish dandy to many people. But Bradley thinks this means people perceived TR as a homosexual, which is entirely anachronistic as Wilde's sexual orientation remained secret until 1895. This is like someone finding an article from the 1950s that compares Ronald Reagan to Rock Hudson and concluding the author was suggesting Reagan was gay.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    This book is, in a word, drek. Written in a thoroughly PC manner, this book goes far beyond revisionism. Bradley cherrypicks his quotes (including many from some dubious sources), takes US actions completely out of the context of its times (as if the US were the only country taking similar actions), and his interpretations of events are, to be charitable, questionable. All the non-US countries dealt with are viewed as utopias, full of enlightened populous who wouldn't dream of even looking crossl This book is, in a word, drek. Written in a thoroughly PC manner, this book goes far beyond revisionism. Bradley cherrypicks his quotes (including many from some dubious sources), takes US actions completely out of the context of its times (as if the US were the only country taking similar actions), and his interpretations of events are, to be charitable, questionable. All the non-US countries dealt with are viewed as utopias, full of enlightened populous who wouldn't dream of even looking crossly at another individual, let along engaging in hostile acts and who, undoubtedly would have evolved into the epitome of superior mankind had only the US not involved themselves. His interpretation of Teddy Roosevelt is somewhat "unique" (to call it unflattering would not only be an understatement but would be charitable), as is his opinion of a number of US presidents. Essentially, the book maintains an utterly self-loathing point of view. The US is explicitly and repeatedly called "Aryan" and "Teutonic" in their most pejorative sense; undoubtedly Bradley was frustrated that he couldn't find an actual photo of a US soldier in a black and white uniform, singing US uber alles, with his right hand elevated at a 45-degree angle to back up his points. While he does have some legitimate points to make, his completely arbitrary, almost-hysterical point of view renders them not only moot but invisible. After 200 pages, my reaction is to hurl this book through the nearest window, which is the fate it probably deserves, only I can't do that because it is a library book. To write a book critical of US foreign policy is one thing; to mindlessly heap opprobrium and invective, with little to support it, is something else, altogether. What's funny is that, his viewpoint is as cartoonish as that of the people he criticizes. In short, don't waste your time

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kevin

    An uncomfortable read on many levels that might also be one of the most poorly researched history books to come out in the last decade, if not longer. The only reason this book deserves a star at all is because Bradley attempts to address a touchy time and issue in American history, namely the Anglo-Saxon belief of white superiority prevalent in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Bradley's premise, that Theodore Roosevelt's "Imperial Cruise" of 1905 led directly to World War II, gr An uncomfortable read on many levels that might also be one of the most poorly researched history books to come out in the last decade, if not longer. The only reason this book deserves a star at all is because Bradley attempts to address a touchy time and issue in American history, namely the Anglo-Saxon belief of white superiority prevalent in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Bradley's premise, that Theodore Roosevelt's "Imperial Cruise" of 1905 led directly to World War II, greatly oversimplifies the causes of WWII and lays entirely too much at the feet of Theodore. The author's assertion ignores thousands of years of Asian history and demonstrates that he has a poor grasp on Chinese-Japanese-Korean relations. In fact, Bradley also shows that he has poor grasp of Chinese-American relations, as evident in his suggestion that Washington (D.C.) should have just leased warehouses in Hong Kong rather than fight to put down the Filipino rebellion against the U.S. that comes about as a result of the Spanish-American War (clearly Bradley has ignored the Boxer Rebellion and Chinese resentment toward foreign nations during this era of western imperialism). And in spite of the book's goal of identifying what happened in 1905, very little of the first six chapters and initial 200 pages (of 330+) actually deals with the cruise and the "invisible treaties" that Bradley claims led to WWII. Instead, a more accurate thesis would be that Mr. Bradley wished to address the hypocrisy of white America benevolence and the pro-Aryan Theodore Roosevelt during the time of the mid-to-late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The Imperial Cruise is also uncomfortable to read due to the haphazard manner in which Bradley constructed the work. Often he throws topics together that have little to do with each other, and he does so with little use of transitions to identify why he lumps information into a single chapter. Another major issue with Bradley's work is that he quotes extensively, and primarily, from secondary sources, as if he preferred for other historians to do his research for him and then use their opinions to support his premise. As one reads The Imperial Cruise one gets the impression that Bradley is not only bitter toward Roosevelt, but angry with him as well. This is a book to avoid completely with one exception. Anyone interested in studying American Imperialism more could use Bradley's bibliography to identify worthwhile primary and secondary sources on the subject. Even then, this list could be found elsewhere.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mal Warwick

    Rarely when history texts or popular books on U.S. history are written are such phenomena as slavery and Jim Crow, the efforts to exterminate Native Americans, the “Yellow Peril,” and the U.S. conquest of Cuba and the Philippines treated as anything other than isolated and disconnected. Dig a little deeper into the sources, though, and it becomes unmistakably clear that unapologetic racism dominated Americans’ thinking for at least the first century and a half of our history as an independent na Rarely when history texts or popular books on U.S. history are written are such phenomena as slavery and Jim Crow, the efforts to exterminate Native Americans, the “Yellow Peril,” and the U.S. conquest of Cuba and the Philippines treated as anything other than isolated and disconnected. Dig a little deeper into the sources, though, and it becomes unmistakably clear that unapologetic racism dominated Americans’ thinking for at least the first century and a half of our history as an independent nation. And it was racism — raw, powered by anger, and manifested as a theory of Aryan superiority indistinguishable from the beliefs that drove Adolf Hitler — that account for all those ugly chapters in U.S. history. Racist attitudes were so prevalent and unchallenged in the U.S. at the turn of the 20th Century that the president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science — the founder of anthropology in the U.S. — could observe, “The Aryan family represents the central stream of progress, because it produced the highest type of mankind, and because it has proved its intrinsic superiority by gradually assuming control of the earth.” In hindsight, then, it should be no surprise that such celebrated figures as Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and his successor, William Howard Taft, would speak openly about America’s “destiny” to dominate Asia and the Pacific, imposing the benefits of Aryan civilization on the “Pacific niggers” (their term for Filipinos) and “Chinks.” This is the persistent theme of best-selling author James Bradley’s portrayal of Roosevelt and Taft in The Imperial Cruise. After returning to the U.S. from the Philippines, where he directed the brutal American occupation of the islands, Taft quickly became Roosevelt’s confidante and “assistant president” though nominally serving as Secretary of War. When Roosevelt resolved in 1905 to extend the U.S. empire throughout Asia, he sent Taft on a secret diplomatic mission to Japan, a mission cloaked in a grand cruise with a huge party of Senators and Congressmen and the President’s own 21-year-old daughter, Alice. While Alice’s antics — she was a “wild child” in the buttoned-down culture of the times — drew headlines and enormous crowds of admirers, Taft shared a secret plan with the Japanese “whereby Roosevent would grant them a protectorate in Korea in exchange for Japan’s assisting with the American penetration of Asia.” The ecstatic Japanese quickly accepted the deal, which to them was all about their existing occupation of Korea. They had absolutely no intention whatsoever of letting the U.S. horn in on their efforts to absorb China. The deal with Japan that Taft brought to closure was secret not just from the public but from Roosevelt’s own Secretary of State, not to mention Congress. It came to light only two decades later when the secret papers recording the history of the cruise and the diplomatic exchanges surrounding it came to light. Roosevelt knew that neither the State Department nor Congress would approve anything of the sort. As Bradley notes, “The president of the United States had skirted the Constitution and negotiated a side deal with the Japanese at the same time he was posing as an honest broker between Japan and Russia at the Portsmouth peace talks” held to end the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5. But, since all this was secret, the jury that awarded Roosevelt the Nobel Prize for Peace because of the pact was entirely ignorant of his true role in the negotiations. Ironically, Roosevelt managed to spark four decades of hatred toward the U.S. by giving the Japanese the impression that he would steer the peace talks as they wished — and then delivering an agreement that fell so far short of what they’d expected that the Japanese public felt betrayed. (Bradley attributes the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor from this perceived betrayal, which is far-fetched.) Historians and biographers typically portray President Theodore Roosevelt as a heroic figure, a man of surpassing intelligence and a profound commitment to reform. In The Imperial Cruise, Bradley presents a starkly revisionist view, relating Roosevelt’s deep-seated racism, his blatant, life-long self-promotion, his duplicitous and often ill-conceived foreign policy, and his consummate narcissism. Though Bradley’s logic falters on occasion, his portrait of Roosevelt is all too credible, the man’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning biographers notwithstanding. Consider, for example, Roosevelt’s own words from his 1896 best-selling book, The Winning of the West: “Many good persons seem prone to speak of all wars of conquest as necessarily evil. This is, of course, a shortsighted view. In its after effects a conquest may be fraught either with evil or with good for mankind, according to the comparative worth of the conquering and conquered peoples . . . The world would have halted had it not been for the Teutonic conquests in alient lands; bu the victories of Moslem over Christian have always proved a curse in the end.” (From www.malwarwickonbooks.com)

  6. 5 out of 5

    MK Brunskill-Cowen

    This is not an easy book to read because Bradley forces the American reader to open their eyes to American imperialism. He depicts Teddy Roosevelt perhaps as he really was - not as a real rough rider, but as a gentleman rancher who was a racist at heart. A president who ruled from the gut, made international pacts without informing the Senate and condoned the use of force and torture against the people of the Philippines. I couldn't help but compare his values to that of a certain 20th century d This is not an easy book to read because Bradley forces the American reader to open their eyes to American imperialism. He depicts Teddy Roosevelt perhaps as he really was - not as a real rough rider, but as a gentleman rancher who was a racist at heart. A president who ruled from the gut, made international pacts without informing the Senate and condoned the use of force and torture against the people of the Philippines. I couldn't help but compare his values to that of a certain 20th century despot who felt justified for racial cleansing. Did Hitler get his ideas for concentration camps and the eradication of the unfit from the American occupation of the Philippines? Food for thought. Bradley leaves the reader wondering how the 20th Century might have been different if T. Roosevelt hadn't interfered in the Orient. This will give me nightmares more than any S. King novel.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tripp

    James Bradley's The Imperial Cruise is a book that could have been quite good, and perhaps even important, but it isn't. Instead it is a maddening, bitchy book that attempts to reassess Theodore Roosevelt's foreign policy. Bradley's thesis is that the American ruling class had an ideology based around an Aryan ideal of the Anglo Saxon. Raising the Anglo Saxon above all others, the US felt free to trample across anyone in its path. The US recognized the Japanese as almost Anglo Saxons and gave th James Bradley's The Imperial Cruise is a book that could have been quite good, and perhaps even important, but it isn't. Instead it is a maddening, bitchy book that attempts to reassess Theodore Roosevelt's foreign policy. Bradley's thesis is that the American ruling class had an ideology based around an Aryan ideal of the Anglo Saxon. Raising the Anglo Saxon above all others, the US felt free to trample across anyone in its path. The US recognized the Japanese as almost Anglo Saxons and gave them the nod to occupy Korea. This occupation led to the growth of the Japanese Empire, Pearl Harbor, the rise of Communist China and I suppose everything else that happened in Asia in the 20th century. Where to begin on the book's problems? First is the relatively insignificant one. Bradley really dislikes Roosevelt and his Secretary of War William Taft. He goes out of his way to show that Roosevelt really wasn't much of a Westerner and was basically an upper class sissy. He makes sure we know that Taft was overweight, even calling him Big Bill with regularity. Is this necessary to support his argument? No, but it reveals the contempt for the subject which weakens and cheapens the book. The bigger problem is with his idea that racism inspired and allowed the cruel Japanese occupation of Korea and created the path for the tragedies of the 20th century. Firstly, what on Earth could the U.S. (or anyone else) do to stop Japan from taking Korea? Russia and China were down for the count, England was retreating to Europe to face the Germans and the United States wasn't strong enough. In 1905, it is hard to imagine the United States managing to fight the Japanese Army and Navy thousands of miles from major bases (Yes, it did to Spain a few years prior, but Spain was on its last legs.) What's worse though is the idea that it was the United States rather than Japan's own domestic path and the prevailing norms of the great powers that led the country to imperialism. His argument implies that the Japanese were the simple puppets of the United States rather than a state setting its own priorities. If the U.S. had somehow kept the Japanese from taking Korea in 1905, they would have taken it in the next few years and certainly would taken it in the chaos of World War One, just as they used the opportunity to seize all of Germany's possessions in Asia.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Charles van Buren

    Charles van Buren TOP 1000 REVIEWER 2.0 out of 5 stars Revisionist tripe April 17, 2019 Format: Kindle Edition Review of Kindle edition Publication date: November 5, 2009 Publisher: Little, Brown and Company Language: English ASIN: B002P8N0UC I never have thought much of Henry Ford's comments about history being bunk. However bunk is an apt description for this piece of revisionist politically correct tripe. To sum up its theme, Bad white people try to run the world and botch it. Judging people of previous Charles van Buren TOP 1000 REVIEWER 2.0 out of 5 stars Revisionist tripe April 17, 2019 Format: Kindle Edition Review of Kindle edition Publication date: November 5, 2009 Publisher: Little, Brown and Company Language: English ASIN: B002P8N0UC I never have thought much of Henry Ford's comments about history being bunk. However bunk is an apt description for this piece of revisionist politically correct tripe. To sum up its theme, Bad white people try to run the world and botch it. Judging people of previous times by the standards of the current era is foolish, uninformative, unfair, etc. Read Abe Lincoln's views on race and view them through a modern lens to see just how foolish such an exercise can be. It can be helpful in understanding previous eras but judgement by current standards is not helpful.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bill Gartner

    This was an AMAZING and disturbing book. Many of the reviews (e.g. NY Times) were very critical about the leaps Bradley made in connecting dots between events (e.g. Teddy Roosevelt's policies and behavior towards Japan encouraging imperialistic expansion and ultimately leading to WWII, Korean War, etc.) Even if you dismiss those assertions on the part of the author, the book provides fantastic (disturbing) insights into the blatant WASP-bias that influenced American culture and politics in the l This was an AMAZING and disturbing book. Many of the reviews (e.g. NY Times) were very critical about the leaps Bradley made in connecting dots between events (e.g. Teddy Roosevelt's policies and behavior towards Japan encouraging imperialistic expansion and ultimately leading to WWII, Korean War, etc.) Even if you dismiss those assertions on the part of the author, the book provides fantastic (disturbing) insights into the blatant WASP-bias that influenced American culture and politics in the late 19th and early 20th century. Teddy Roosevelt comes across as a bumbling politician with deep-rooted prejudices, apparently completely in vogue at the time as evidenced by popular press and academics who spoke authoritatively on things like the Teutonic Anglo-Saxon superior ability to govern themselves relative to "savages" (which included Native Americans, Central America and all of Asia apparently). Despite potentially erring in assigning causal relationships to historical events, the well documented facts that are presented are very thorough. You can draw your own conclusions about whether Roosevelt's policies (and they were "his" policies, not USA's) contributed to events occurring decades later, but the facts stand on their own and provide really disturbing insights into the populist thinking at the time. I know I used the work "disturbing" three times in this review... I had to put the book down at times and shake my head in disbelief over what I was reading. It "was" indeed disturbing. I Highly recommend this!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andy

    The author seems to be riding his success on prior works. I don't doubt any of his research, but I do doubt the amount of blame that he casts on TR. The thing that is interesting to me is that he seems shocked that Teddy Roosevelt, the best politician of the age, would say one thing and do another. Like all Presidents, he had a public persona and he would say the things that he needed to say in order to get things done. When it came time to execute plans and strategies, he did what he needed to The author seems to be riding his success on prior works. I don't doubt any of his research, but I do doubt the amount of blame that he casts on TR. The thing that is interesting to me is that he seems shocked that Teddy Roosevelt, the best politician of the age, would say one thing and do another. Like all Presidents, he had a public persona and he would say the things that he needed to say in order to get things done. When it came time to execute plans and strategies, he did what he needed to do in order to achieve his goals even if it meant doing something different than what he said... pretty typical behavior, me thinks. There are certainly interesting parts of the book. I think one of the problems with the book is the author presents all this interesting information and then he just runs with it. I listened to the audiobook which has a foreword and afterword by the author... his voice is ANNOYING! I'm so glad he didn't read the whole book. They also did an interview with the author that was obnoxious. When asked why we haven't learn about this history before he said that historians are ethnocentric so they don't research and report "bad" things that American has done. The interview came across as the author being the only honest historian in the last 100 years. As though there hasn't been thousands of books, by thousands of PhD candidates that attempt to turn an accepted part of history on its ear...

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jill Hutchinson

    This book blasts the reputation of President Theodore Roosevelt to smithereens. He was known as a peacemaker and won the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the end of the Sino-Japanese war. The era covered here concerns the first political dealings by the United States with the East; Japan, China and Korea. If what the writer relates about these negotiations is true, it is a shameful period in American history and TR was a man not to be trusted who knew a few things about creating a public image. This book blasts the reputation of President Theodore Roosevelt to smithereens. He was known as a peacemaker and won the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the end of the Sino-Japanese war. The era covered here concerns the first political dealings by the United States with the East; Japan, China and Korea. If what the writer relates about these negotiations is true, it is a shameful period in American history and TR was a man not to be trusted who knew a few things about creating a public image. If it is less than true, the Roosevelt family should have sued him. His bias against TR is obvious and he posits that the opening of the East with Japan as our "ally" was a direct cause of WWII. It is no secret that TR was a racist and believed that the white race should "teach" the barbarians (all non-white races) how to govern as they were not capable. But that was the tenor of the times and has been downplayed over the years. This author brings out the ugliness of racism and some of the episodes in this book are chilling. Whether right or wrong, true or false, or somewhere in-between, this book will hold your interest from page one. But it has to be read without any preconceived notions about Roosevelt or the attitudes of the United States toward the non-white countries of the Pacific Rim and the Far East. It will make you shake your head in disbelief regardless of your attitude about the veracity of the material.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    How does one judge the accuracy or perspective of revisionist history? That is, after all, what The Imperial Cruise is: revisionist history. And Howard Zinn would be proud. In the mode of Zinn, Bradley digs up original documents and straight-from-the-horse's-mouth quotes to build this contrarian case: Theodore Roosevelt was a raving racist who openly promoted Aryan superiority, who saw nothing wrong with ethnic cleansing in the name of Teutonic superiority and inevitability, and whose arrogant di How does one judge the accuracy or perspective of revisionist history? That is, after all, what The Imperial Cruise is: revisionist history. And Howard Zinn would be proud. In the mode of Zinn, Bradley digs up original documents and straight-from-the-horse's-mouth quotes to build this contrarian case: Theodore Roosevelt was a raving racist who openly promoted Aryan superiority, who saw nothing wrong with ethnic cleansing in the name of Teutonic superiority and inevitability, and whose arrogant diplomatic blunders set the stage for Pearl Harbor, the Korean war, and the Vietnam War. Wow. But how does one argue with Bradley's claim when he lays out TR's own words? * "[Blacks are:] a perfectly stupid race" and it would take "many thousand years" before the Blacks became even "as intellectual as the Athenian." * "It is unthinkable that the United States would abandon the Philippines to their own tribes. To grant self government . . . under Aguinaldo would be like granting self-government to an Apache reservation under some local chief." * "A conquest may be frought either with evil or with good for mankind, according to the comparative worth of the conquering and conquered peoples . . . The world would have halted had it not been for the Teutonic conquests in alien lands." To bolster his case, Bradley also shows us quote after horrific quote from other American officials of the time: William Howard Taft (governor of the Philippines before president), generals, and professors---all demonstrating with convincing clarity how widely held Roosevelt's "save the savages from themselves" (even if you kill a lot of them in the process)" philosophy was. TR was not without his critics, even in his own age: Andrew Carnegie, Mark Twain, William Jennings Bryan, and various U.S. Senators among them. "You have devastated provinces," said Senator George Hoar of Massachusetts. "You have slain uncounted thousands of peoples you desire to benefit. You have established reconcentration camps . . . You make the American flag in the eyes of a numerous people the emblem of sacrilege in Christian churches, and of the burning of human dwellings, and the horror of the water torture." The Washington Post ran a story about U.S. soldiers marching 1,300 Filipino prisoners of war to hear their last confessions from a priest, had them dig their own graves, shot them all in the head, and then hanged the priest. Shortly after, Roosevelt directed the construction of a "Philippines Reservation" at the 1904 World's Fair to show how benevolently the U.S. was administering the Pacific islands. Bradley chronicles the conniving and deceit that gained us Hawaii. He tells us how TR pried open Japan and turned it---for a few decades---into a U.S. proxy in Asia, even secretly encouraging the Japanese to adopt its own Monroe Doctrine and occupy Korea so as to civilize it. "They are playing our game," TR would crow. It was this encouraging of a Japanese Monroe Doctrine in relation to Asia that came back to haunt us, says Bradley. Japan thought the United States actually meant it. Thirty-six years later, even as Japanese airplanes bombed Pearl Harbor, emissaries of The Land of the Rising Sun delivered a message to The White House that said, in part, "It is a fact of history that the countries of East Asia for the past hundred years or more have been compelled to observe the status quo under Anglo-American policy of imperialist exploitation and to sacrifice themselves to the prosperity of the two nations. The Japanese Government cannot tolerate the perpetuation of such a situation." What does Bradley care? His father was one of the Marines in the famous photo of the raising the flag on Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima. "Maybe," he says, "my father didn't have to suffer through World War II in the Pacific." Nor millions of others.

  13. 4 out of 5

    M

    Wow. Mr. James Bradley, I am disappointed in you. I am disappointed in your attempt to be a historian and revise history to your agenda. You cannot honestly set sole blame to Roosevelt and his foreign policy for Japanese imperial aims of the 20th century. You are grasping for straws and although you have meticulously research the subject matter, your conclusions do not hold water. Roosevelt, Taft and Victorian racism is not the primary reason for Japanese Imperial expansion which inevitably lead Wow. Mr. James Bradley, I am disappointed in you. I am disappointed in your attempt to be a historian and revise history to your agenda. You cannot honestly set sole blame to Roosevelt and his foreign policy for Japanese imperial aims of the 20th century. You are grasping for straws and although you have meticulously research the subject matter, your conclusions do not hold water. Roosevelt, Taft and Victorian racism is not the primary reason for Japanese Imperial expansion which inevitably leads to the attack onto Pearl Harbor. What you propose is ridiculous; you are so focused on reminding us every 5 lines that the President and the ruling elite of America were white to “prove their racism” that you have inherently shown your own racism. Instead of acknowledging the Japanese perpetrated their own agenda in expansion by invading Manchuria (1937), half of the Pacific then attacking Pearl Harbor, you assume they only did so because we influenced it years earlier. Mr. Bradley, are you really stating the Japanese are so inept that they could only rise to world power because of the United States? The wars/invasions presented in to the book dealing with the Japanese, Russians and Philippines, illegal treaties have merit in historical truth and horror, but his attempt to connect full blame for the Pacific theater of WWII to the U.S. becomes farfetched. Basically, you literally blame the U.S. and Christianity for every issue this world has experienced for the past few centuries. I am not one to say America is without blame, but I will not sit here and allocate full blame to one country, one President and one religion. Another complaint: When you write Mr. Bradley, you do not exert certain words consecutively; it makes it look like you have an agenda. Your constant use of Aryan, Aryan male, and white Christian male every few lines is asinine. I understand your agenda and I will not fall for it unlike some readers.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Marley

    I just wrote a very clever review of Imperial Cruise, and while I was proofing it, it disappeared. I simply can't reconstruct it now, but... It's about time somebody called Theodore Roosevelt out/.He was: a racist, imperialist blowhard who mucked up US foreign policy so bad, that we're in the mess we are today mainly due to him. For those who scream that Theodore was a great president, all I can say is read the book, read the footnotes, read the sources. It's primary. The murders of hundreds of I just wrote a very clever review of Imperial Cruise, and while I was proofing it, it disappeared. I simply can't reconstruct it now, but... It's about time somebody called Theodore Roosevelt out/.He was: a racist, imperialist blowhard who mucked up US foreign policy so bad, that we're in the mess we are today mainly due to him. For those who scream that Theodore was a great president, all I can say is read the book, read the footnotes, read the sources. It's primary. The murders of hundreds of thousands of Filipinos by the US government in the name is "civilization," "democracy" or whatever TR wanted to call it, is one of the dark holes of American history. The betrayal of Aguinaldo, the basic enslavement of the Philippines (Pacific Negros), the manipulation and betrayal of Korea, the destruction of Hawaii' (more Pacific Negroes) , all the while the Japanese (our Honorary Aryans) were snickering up their sleeves. Top hats and frock coats, indeed! Machiavelli would be proud. Theodore's Nobel Peace Prize is as legitimate as Obama's. But read the book to figure out what I'm talking about. I can't speak highly enough of The Imperial Cruise, though I admit the title gives me the vision of Theodore, preteding to be rough trade, crusing around with his big stick. It's a sad state of affairs to realize that your country's foreign policy of expropriation, colonialism, rape, and murder of the last 100 years is rooted in racism and hyper masculinity. We all deserve better.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Gary Pearson

    I found this book to be one of the most troubling I have ever read. First, but not most importantly, it is poorly written. The author can't seem to decide: is he writing about the title, the cruise to the Far East, is he writing a social history of the time, is he writing about Alice Roosevelt, is he writing about the settling of the Russo-Japanese war, is he writing about American expansionism and manifest destiny and if so on this continent or across the face of the earth, or is he writing abou I found this book to be one of the most troubling I have ever read. First, but not most importantly, it is poorly written. The author can't seem to decide: is he writing about the title, the cruise to the Far East, is he writing a social history of the time, is he writing about Alice Roosevelt, is he writing about the settling of the Russo-Japanese war, is he writing about American expansionism and manifest destiny and if so on this continent or across the face of the earth, or is he writing about a key causal factor for Japanese aggression against the United States in 1941? He weaves, or rather, jumps back and forth between the seven, and more themes. Some should have been edited out completely, others re-woven together, and depending on which you pick-much more meat added. Stylistically it is amateurish, pedantic, aggravating and inappropriate if not inaccurate. His "Teddy's" and (actually, I'm not going to waste my time listing them, they are patently obvious to any reader of serious history.) Secondly, it is perhaps the most slanted and prejudiced "history" book I can recall reading. The authors prejudices are too obvious, as is his ridiculous trying to tie into things like the Iraq war. This calls into question the worth of the book. But lastly, it may be an important work. May, if through his slant are some true and useful facts. Was TR really a bumbling, naive, war mongering, blood thirsty, lying buffoon? If he was, we should better understand this. How does this square with his progressivism and (true) conservationism. Was Taft no better? Again we should know. To what degree were we racist and Teutonic loving Aryans and how did this drive our geo political actions. I knew well of the "Philippine Insurgency" and of Dewey in Manila Bay, but seemed to have missed the part in between where we apparently stabbed legimite 'democrats' in the back. Did we really give Japan the green light for a Monroe Doctrine and was that actually significant and actionable? Things that bothered me a great deal in another vein: the constant repetition of the 'Pearl Harbor' mantra (actually there were so many "mantras" in this book it could be a Greek poem suggests that either a) he actually is trying to make the connection or b) he just likes to say it but doesn't really mean it. If b) it should be fully excised because it goes to the credibility of the whole work. If a) he has to back it up. And since he starts out the book saying it evolved from wanting to know who his father ended up in a war I claim this is his motive. He has to explain how offending the Japanese wrt to indemnification from the Russians was more important than all of the following: 1. The long standing Anglo-Japanese treaty that provided the Imperial Japanese Navy with their warships and their armament through the 1920's (Look closely at the Japanese 15" twin turrets and you'll recognize the same design as was found on the HMS Hood (and many others). 2. The alliances and role Japan played in WWI and how they got the Mandates in the Pacific for being the US and British allies against the Germans. 3. The impact of the US racist closing off of immigration of the Japanese into the US after WWI. This was very offensive to the Japanese who did not consider themselves like 'other Asians.' 4. The impact of the Washington Naval Conference of 1922 wherein the US and Great Britain negotiated a 5-5-3 ration with Japan. Although as both two ocean navies we and Great Britain thought this was more than fair to the one-ocean Japanese Navy, the Japanese were again greatly insulted. 5. The China incident 6. The Russian incident 7. The fall of the European colonial powers leaving a power vacuum in SE Asia and a huge opportunity. 8. The embargo of oil and steel following the Japanese occupation of French Indochina 9. The US decision in 1941 to base the US Fleet in Pearl Harbor instead of San Pedro. 10. The US decision in 1941 to defend the Philippines in the event of a Japanese attach instead of a withdrawal. 11. The assignment of I Yamamoto as CIC Combined Fleet and his decision to push the general staff on the need to attach Pearl Harbor at all. 12. The world-wide economic collapse of the 1930's and it's impact on the rise of militarism across the world. 13. I could list many others but this is a start.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Neill Goltz

    William Howard Taft, already a great friend of Theodore Roosevelt from their time living in the same Washington, DC neighborhood as junior associates of the Justice and Naval departments, respectively, was appointed Governor-General of the Philippines by William McKinley after our war against Spain (both there and in Cuba. See Doris Goodwin's "The Bully Pulpit"....) TR became president after McKinley was assassinated and Taft later became TR's Secretary of War (and thus subsequently annointed as William Howard Taft, already a great friend of Theodore Roosevelt from their time living in the same Washington, DC neighborhood as junior associates of the Justice and Naval departments, respectively, was appointed Governor-General of the Philippines by William McKinley after our war against Spain (both there and in Cuba. See Doris Goodwin's "The Bully Pulpit"....) TR became president after McKinley was assassinated and Taft later became TR's Secretary of War (and thus subsequently annointed as his successor president). THIS is the book to read, however.... It is a surprising take on our history, not what you might have expected from the author of "Flags of our Fathers", which extolled the virtues of "The Greatest Generation." I, for one, didn't expect Bradley to have any kind of generous feeling for the Japanese who fought and tried to kill his father. For those familiar with "Flags", Bradley came to write "Cruise" because he wanted to understand why his father came to have to go ashore at Iwo Jima in the first place in WW2 against the Japanese. I had thought he would be critical of the Japanese, based upon his father's experience. (A notable moment in Fathers is when he invites his dad to go to Japan with him as part of his research for the book, and his father declines, saying, "No son, I don't think I'll be making a (pleasure) trip to Japan." This was an attitude shared by many Pacific Theater veterans, at least via my experience with my WWII veteran uncles). "Imperial Cruise", therefore, is a considerable surprise. It is a fabulous book, exploring American relations with the Japanese and Asia, early in the 20th Century, and suggests that it was Roosevelt’s attitudes about western Imperialism which set the stage for the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor 40 years later in 1941. His research in this compelling, slim book puts Japan’s reaction to American “catch-up Imperialism” at the doorstep of Roosevelt at the moment of American participation as a Pacific colonial power in 1898. Few people know how we suppressed the Philippine goal of independence then and there. (And, American use of water-boarding is not new....as an "enhanced interrogation" technique). Highly recommended.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Alesa

    This book is ostensibly a history of a cruise that Taft and other American VIPs made prior to WWI, in which secret assurances were given to Japan that it could invade Korea. But it is also an indictment of how Teddy Roosevelt's racism and PR tactics changed the course of history in the Pacific, causing the inevitability of WWII, the rise of communism in China, and the Vietnam War. You can't put this book down. It reads almost like a novel, although a few things are repeated several times (like Te This book is ostensibly a history of a cruise that Taft and other American VIPs made prior to WWI, in which secret assurances were given to Japan that it could invade Korea. But it is also an indictment of how Teddy Roosevelt's racism and PR tactics changed the course of history in the Pacific, causing the inevitability of WWII, the rise of communism in China, and the Vietnam War. You can't put this book down. It reads almost like a novel, although a few things are repeated several times (like Teddy Roosevelt's career as a best-selling writer). I was shocked to learn about the massacres that the US did in the Philippines, the water boarding torture that we practiced on a widespread basis, our deposing of the Hawaiian queen. History books have certainly whitewashed our behavior. It makes me ashamed; I no longer can feel anger towards the Turks for their treatment of Armenians when my own country indulged in wholesale slaughter in the Philippines, for no justifiable cause. What impressed me most, however, was the way that this book showcased how our thinking has changed since the turn of the 19th century, when whites assumed that it was impossible for non-whites to attain civilization or achieve democracy. The arrogance is almost unbelievable -- until one remembers how unquestioned this worldview was. What similar arrogances do we currently indulge in, which will seem equally reprehensible a few generations from now? As soon as I finished this book, I bought copies for numerous people, and signed up to give a summary of it to a book group. That's how important the message is.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kent

    Hoping to learn more about this diplomatic mission and understand some historical significance of Roosevelt's interactions in Asia, I came across The Imperial Cruise and thought it would do just what I wanted. To my dismay, I found that the title was only a 'bait and switch' trick. The author seems far too interested in making his own suppositions about the mission and firing his own shots at Roosevelt (and every other white male in 'turn of the century' America); and in fact, told very little a Hoping to learn more about this diplomatic mission and understand some historical significance of Roosevelt's interactions in Asia, I came across The Imperial Cruise and thought it would do just what I wanted. To my dismay, I found that the title was only a 'bait and switch' trick. The author seems far too interested in making his own suppositions about the mission and firing his own shots at Roosevelt (and every other white male in 'turn of the century' America); and in fact, told very little about the cruise, its participants, their interactions and its history. It only formed the backdrop for the author's attacks. I also found it unusual for the author to use derogatory racial nicknames for white Americans (Aryans) and for the Japanese (Japs) even when he was not quoting someone. His overuse of the terms suggested to me an attempt to build his case of how terrible and rascist everyone was. Applying today's enlightened understanding to yesteryear's world does not reflect history, but rather, the author's unhappiness with history. All in all, I am glad to have read this tale, but wish I had known of the book's ulterior motives and excessive adherence to them; and I may have looked for another account of the diplomatic mission instead.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rachel

    I liked James Bradley's earlier books, but this one's a dud. I only made it through the first hundred pages, most of which was a rant about the horrors of assuming whites were the superior race. No really, pages upon pages of it. Examples, snide remarks, appalled declaiming, etc.. Yes, Mr. Bradley, that was a common belief of the time among white men. Yes, it was wrong. But I don't see any righteous indignation about any of the other beliefs of the time that turned out to be wrong, and there wer I liked James Bradley's earlier books, but this one's a dud. I only made it through the first hundred pages, most of which was a rant about the horrors of assuming whites were the superior race. No really, pages upon pages of it. Examples, snide remarks, appalled declaiming, etc.. Yes, Mr. Bradley, that was a common belief of the time among white men. Yes, it was wrong. But I don't see any righteous indignation about any of the other beliefs of the time that turned out to be wrong, and there were many. I would have been fine with a page or two about this, because it was relevant to the story he claimed to want to tell. But after very few pages, the whole book degenerated into a diatribe against the belief of white supremacy at the time, which is sadly not what the book was supposed to be about. Skip it.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lawyer

    Bradley has produced a strident one-note tirade against the policies of Theodore Roosevelt and the Japanese expansion of influence in Asia. In very broad strokes Bradley seems to say that, but for Roosevelt's encouragement, World War II might not have occurred. Bradley's approach is angry, abrasive, and at times openly sarcastic. His references to Alice Roosevelt add little to the book other than to bolster his opinion that Americans were a bigoted lot of superficial personalities that deepened Bradley has produced a strident one-note tirade against the policies of Theodore Roosevelt and the Japanese expansion of influence in Asia. In very broad strokes Bradley seems to say that, but for Roosevelt's encouragement, World War II might not have occurred. Bradley's approach is angry, abrasive, and at times openly sarcastic. His references to Alice Roosevelt add little to the book other than to bolster his opinion that Americans were a bigoted lot of superficial personalities that deepened the divide between Asians and Americans. In actuality it seems that little occurred on the "imperial cruise" of 1905, much less of so serious a consequence to serve as a catalyst leading to World War II. Making it through "The Imperial Cruise" is a tedious chore.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Phrodrick

    The Imperial Cruise uses the itinerary of a Roosevelt diplomatic mission that carried his Secretary of War, William Taft and a large contingent of American Senators and Congressmen from Washington to important points in what was for America, its new Pacific Ocean holdings and newly significant allies. Call this America’s first pivot toward the Pacific. Providing the photo ops and entertainment was his less beloved daughter, Alice Roosevelt. She was known as the Princess and by expectations if no The Imperial Cruise uses the itinerary of a Roosevelt diplomatic mission that carried his Secretary of War, William Taft and a large contingent of American Senators and Congressmen from Washington to important points in what was for America, its new Pacific Ocean holdings and newly significant allies. Call this America’s first pivot toward the Pacific. Providing the photo ops and entertainment was his less beloved daughter, Alice Roosevelt. She was known as the Princess and by expectations if not design she would capture the attention while future president Taft would be engaged in what was irregular if not unconstitutional private diplomacy. I finished listening to James Bradley’s The Imperial Cruise a few weeks back. The delay in posting this review was time take to come to terms with my anger. Some of this anger was based on the fact that I have long thought of President Theodore Roosevelt as one of America’s Great Statesman. My high regard for him was reinforced in the Edmund Morris books. I even likes that his wife did a bio of TR’s second wife Edith. What Mr. Bradley has done is to make it clear that there is a dark gap between the genuine accomplishments of this man and some of the less honorable actions and beliefs that motivated Theodore Roosevelt. Many things stand in the Roosevelt Legacy remain untouched. As a writer, his Naval History of the War of 1812 is a benchmark naval history. It is in part driven by what Bradley makes explicit is a racial view of history. The National Parks remain as one of America’s greatest idea. Even with this book fairness demands recognition of Roosevelt’s service as a wartime Army officer was no less than, and usually more than just honorable. The entire Roosevelt edifice of achievements cannot be crumbled by the weight of Imperial Cruse, but the man cannot be properly judged without reference to what Bradley documents. Theodore Roosevelt was a raciest. He had been taught to be one by some of the most respected authorities of his day. Those authorities were quoting theories that had approval from the highest levels of science. He willfully and without any effort at critical analysis accepted as fact that the white race was the only race capable of achieving democratic civilization and that all other races and inferior (polluted by intermarriage whites) could be abused in the name of white supremacy. He was not alone in placing this notion into practice. But as president he was high up in the line of people who executed polities and practices that not only resulted in the needless and cruel deaths of others but may have laid the political-philosophic foundations that lead to the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Roosevelt cannot be the architect of every American racial failure from Wounded Knee (before his time) to Jim Crow (after his time). But lives were ended, and cruelties ordered on his watch and with his tacit and active approval. I had hopes that the emotional low point of the book would be the lyrics of an Army song detailing and extolling the practice of water boarding against the Filipinos freedom fighters. America, initially not yet under Roosevelt had systematically betrayed, slaughtered and burned our way across this country. As President, Roosevelt allowed policies that declared any male over the age of ten to be treated as adult rebels. Secretary Taft would not hesitate to speak in front of almost all white official diners in the Philippines and admonish the native population that their poverty and desperation were due to their failure to work hard and be less dependent on American largess. Taft had no possible excuse for not knowing that American largess included burning Filipinos farms, while torturing and murdering teachers, other local leadership. No this song would not be the emotional bottom of this. Be forewarned. Parallel to this cruise, Roosevelt would set up and betray other countries. Most ugly and with the highest costs in human lives China and Korea. Towards Japan the many contradictions of Roosevelt’s racism become at once more obvious and more insidious. He was a champion in Japan in it’s war against Russia. A war over Chinese control of Korea. Roosevelt would declare as magnificent and manly Japan’s sneak attack against the racially compromised and inferior white race, the Slavs. He was almost blatantly biased toward Japan while acting the neutral broker during the negotiations that ended the Russo-Japanese War. But the close of negotiations, the Japanese felt betrayed because they had been lied out of their demands for war reparations. Roosevelt may be the author of the Japanese policy of the Greater East Asian Co-prosperity Sphere. To Roosevelt it was a natural version of America’s Monroe Doctrine. Bradley argues that prior to this cruise, and related Roosevelt secret agreement, the Japanese had never independently derived such regional aspirations. I will never again listen to the whining about lefty SJW. There is a history to why so many in Asia and elsewhere in the world have a different history in mind as they come to choose between Chinese or American hegemony. Against all this international betrayal and patronizing death dealing, Bradley’s documentation of Roosevelt's actual time spent in the Bad Lands of the Dakota’s comes off as petty. Bradley argues that Teddy built a larger than life reputation out of what may have been a lessor effort. Given the much more important revelations this section hardly matters. Bradley never sums up. How we are to weigh the man in terms of his greater achievements and his embrace of white racism is not discussed. Roosevelt accepted what he was taught and what was widely held to be true. He no more invented White privilege than Hitler invented antisemitism. How horrendous that the two can be so compared.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kym Robinson

    This is a book that perhaps comes into the category of 'revisionist history', not because Bradley invents some obscure series of events or manipulates facts in a manner to convince the reader to adopt an ideologically flavoured balloon of crud. It is 'revisionist' because it merely presents many of the facts and indulges in horrible admissions and not the important omissions that are integral in popular history. The standard history that many of us are fed is based upon the romantic illusions of This is a book that perhaps comes into the category of 'revisionist history', not because Bradley invents some obscure series of events or manipulates facts in a manner to convince the reader to adopt an ideologically flavoured balloon of crud. It is 'revisionist' because it merely presents many of the facts and indulges in horrible admissions and not the important omissions that are integral in popular history. The standard history that many of us are fed is based upon the romantic illusions of the great man in time. Those iconic figures who stood taller than their peers and led society, culture or nation through troubling times and into a greatness of legacy. This is a book that looks mostly at one of those great men in History, Teddy Roosevelt and how much of what we 'know' about him was a myth that he, himself invented. James Bradley is most famous for his book “The Flags of our Fathers” which went to be made into two films. One showing the Japanese perspective during the battle of Okinawa and the biography about the iconic moment frozen inside history of the US Marines who raised old glory upon the volcanic rock. This book was in many ways jingoistic and helped to secure the pride of American glory, especially during World War Two. This book does not unveil such feelings. It was written as part of the authours process to ask the important, why? Why did the American and Japanese empire come to bitter and bloody heads in the middle twentieth century? Bradley perhaps indulges a little too much on the cruise that seems to be the personified focus of much of his book. It is in doing so that his narrative at times becomes sickly and over enforced. The voyage of American political royalty across the ocean and into the Asia's is one of interest and note but it is not the absolute depiction of American imperialism. It is merely symbolic. Perhaps in this book too symbolic. The book looks at the American attitudes and conduct in Asia from its opening salvos inside a Japanese harbour where they sought to open the isolated islands to American dominated, Western trade. On to the occupation and racially derogatory treatment of non-whites (non-Aryans) in Hawaii, China and the Philippines. Though a brief book it explores Anglo-American attitudes to colonialism and civilising the ‘barbaric’ parts of the world. The extension of manifest destiny, all the way across into the Pacific. It is here that the book exhibits strength, it uses the condemning words alongside the brutal actions of the common American right up to the great elites of leadership. Whether it is in depicting the people of the Philippines as being backward dog eating pacific Negroes, or the China man as an unwashed barbarian to heralding the ‘Jap’ as an honorary Aryan the history of US conduct and policy in Asia is despicable and dangerously self-serving. A history that many Americans omit from their memories. Many Asians, have not. The book looks to show how President Teddy Roosevelt and some of the players from his era helped to set in motion the inevitability of a war between the USA and Japan. It shows with evidence that the US along with other Western Imperial powers helped to build Japan up as both a bulwark against the Russian Empire and as a reliable player inside the Asia Pacific region. A local friend to be embraced among the other Asian nations. In doing so the US in many ways created a future enemy. An enemy that would grow to resent the West for its hypocrisy and double standards. An enemy that early on was cultivated to occupy Korea, assisted in snubbing China, which helped to quell the nationalistic Chinese boxers, that defeated the Russian military in a fight over Korea and who with an American attitude assumed its own 'Monroe Doctrine' inside of Asia. To lay the blame at the United States and the West is not an entirely fair conclusion, blow back certainly occurred but the Japanese who went on to rape, pillage and murder much of Asia, most notably in China are responsible for their own terrible conduct. They do so for their own nefarious reasons. Perhaps they learned to do this or perhaps they did so regardless of those who inspired them into a form of chauvinistic militant aggression. One thing that is not uncertain is the fact that during the late 19th Century, the Japanese were encouraged to adopt Western views regarding racial supremacy and colonial imperialism. Regardless the Japanese actors in those vulgar moments in time are personally responsible just as much as the Americans and other Westerners are for conducting so brutally with savage self-righteousness terrible and murderous violence throughout Asia and much of the World. But we know of the Japanese imperial crimes, the horrible rape of Nanjing, the comfort women and the mistreatment of those captured. History tells us often about the miserable experiences of those beneath Japanese occupation, the ritualistic beheadings, the impaling of child and mother alike, the sexual torture for Empire. These disgusting acts cannot be blamed on any other, other than those individuals responsible and their Imperial rulers for enabling them. Many however do not care to know about the American crimes, the horrible occupation and war in the Philippines. A campaign of genocidal misery that cannot be glossed over or glorified, it simply was savage and yet at the time and in the decades after it was accepted as being an Imperial right. How superior races and nations treated those beneath them. Whether they be Indians beneath British rule, Namibians under the German or the Congolese under Belgian rule, it was how colonial lessers were treated by their civilised masters. The American rulers of the Philippines were no different in their brutal colonies. The legacy however does not waft away for those who experienced it. Though the history and text books ink may omit such bloody pain and suffering, the crimson darkness of the dead does not wash away so cleanly for the generations who grew up listening to the survivors and those who suffered. Just because a national narrative suits a gloriously romantic past, it does not make peace with the bones of its victims. Bradley attempts to relay this point, though at times his message is distracted by biographical speculation of Taft, Roosevelt and their familiars. So, while this book does seek to hammer its point across, it should. If reading about a nations conduct and actions during an apparently glorious period of history is uncomfortable because it upsets your views, then that is an indictment on yourself. For those who wish to gain information about history, real and non-romantically narrated history then this is a book for you. 80%

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    I finished this book a month ago, but have delayed giving a review because the task seemed so beyond me. Put simply this is one of the most disturbing and difficult histories I have ever read. That said, it is also one of the most revelatory as well. Author James Bradley's father was one of the six men who planted the flag on Iwo Jima and is featured in the most iconic photo of World War II. Bradley's research into his father's life and the war he fought is recorded in Bradley's excellent Flags o I finished this book a month ago, but have delayed giving a review because the task seemed so beyond me. Put simply this is one of the most disturbing and difficult histories I have ever read. That said, it is also one of the most revelatory as well. Author James Bradley's father was one of the six men who planted the flag on Iwo Jima and is featured in the most iconic photo of World War II. Bradley's research into his father's life and the war he fought is recorded in Bradley's excellent Flags of our Fathers and Flyboys. In undertaking The Imperial Cruise, Bradley sought to understand the causes of World War II. If the war in the Pacific began with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, what led to that? If Pearl Harbor was the blast that started the war, what lit the fuse? In seeking this answer, Bradley uncovers a secret diplomatic mission ordered by Teddy Roosevelt to the Far East in the early years of the 20th Century. Roosevelt, through Taft, encourages Japan to undertake a policy of military expansionism, a policy intended to benefit U.S. interests. In ordering this mission, Roosevelt sowed seeds in the wind that would reap the whirlwind decades later. If Bradley had confined his work to simply giving an account of this "imperial cruise", he would have done enough. Yet Bradley turns from his history's central narrative to fill out the broader theme of American Exceptionalism, Manifest Destiny, and its roots in a shockingly ubiquitous belief among America's elite in Anglo-Saxon supremacy. A cursory survey of these concepts is a part of any American History course, but the scope to which Bradley plumbs these depths is surprising and shocking. Obviously racism is and has always been a huge part of the American identity, but Bradley sheds new light on some of its origins and applications in the minds and actions of America’s founders and presidents. Of special interest was Bradley’s account of the Spanish American War and America’s Nazi-like atrocities in Cuba and the Philippines. The Imperial Cruise is dense with heavy concepts and raw information. This is a book that bears reading and re-reading.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Papaphilly

    The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War is both an excellent read and a truly tough read. James D. Bradley paints turn of the century America and its politics in a very poor light. Teddy Roosevelt is a master of public perception, Taft is a gentlemanly lightweight and American politics are genuinely racist. The reality is all concerned, are men of their times and reflect as such. It is hard to read about them now. James D. Bradley does an excellent job of showing how misreading a The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War is both an excellent read and a truly tough read. James D. Bradley paints turn of the century America and its politics in a very poor light. Teddy Roosevelt is a master of public perception, Taft is a gentlemanly lightweight and American politics are genuinely racist. The reality is all concerned, are men of their times and reflect as such. It is hard to read about them now. James D. Bradley does an excellent job of showing how misreading a people came back to bite America a generation later. How the American people were fed bad information and how Manifest Destiny was the order of the day. Teddy Roosevelt is shown in a very poor light and that perception of him being a great outdoors-men is not quite the reality. Much of his public persona was rehearsed and tightly controlled for public consumption. That he was an aristocrat and could not care less for the Hoi Palloi. The reality is much more complex and that is the true point of this book. History is much darker and great leaders are much closer to the mud than Mt. Olympus. The Imperial Cruise: A Secret History of Empire and War will upset you and leave you wondering about what you learned in school. It is a great read and well worth the time. Just be forewarned, you will be left unsettled and that is a good outcome.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Elgin

    This was a very engrossing book. I learned alot about American foreign policy in the T. Roosevelt and pre-T. Roosevelt years. Bradley paints a very unflattering picture of Roosevelt, at least as a leader in foreign affairs. He portrays Roosevelt as a racist, Aryan supremisist, one convinced that the non white races were unquestionably inferior to the whites and justified in committing murder, theft, even genocide in our efforts to "civilize" these races. Do you "forgive" people who thought this w This was a very engrossing book. I learned alot about American foreign policy in the T. Roosevelt and pre-T. Roosevelt years. Bradley paints a very unflattering picture of Roosevelt, at least as a leader in foreign affairs. He portrays Roosevelt as a racist, Aryan supremisist, one convinced that the non white races were unquestionably inferior to the whites and justified in committing murder, theft, even genocide in our efforts to "civilize" these races. Do you "forgive" people who thought this way because it was the norm for the times? Perhaps, but Roosevelt was portrayed as even extreme for those times. Bradley also reveals Roosevelt's secret dealing with Japan, turning the Japanese from a peaceful people, content with their own island, to rabid conquerors who felt that Asian rule was their manifest destiny. Bradley claims that this led to the bloodbath of the Pacific World War. I have to confess that I was pretty depressed by the end of the book. This country has a long long history of trampling on the rights of non Americans while producing propaganda that we are working for the benefit of those we are abusing. This has been going on for well over 100 years and it seems may never end until this country goes completely bankrupt. How can anyone not detest politicians who behave like this. Thank you George W.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Million

    Bradley bases his premise on the theory that Theodore Roosevelt strongly adhered to the myth of the White Aryan being the dominant race on the planet. This thinking, combined with U.S. expansionist policies, was at the root of America's seizing Cuba, Hawaii, and the Phillipines. TR also influenced, behind the scenes, the treaty to end the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. I think Bradley, much like TR did then, overstates TR's role in this process. While I do agree that race was definitely a factor in Bradley bases his premise on the theory that Theodore Roosevelt strongly adhered to the myth of the White Aryan being the dominant race on the planet. This thinking, combined with U.S. expansionist policies, was at the root of America's seizing Cuba, Hawaii, and the Phillipines. TR also influenced, behind the scenes, the treaty to end the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. I think Bradley, much like TR did then, overstates TR's role in this process. While I do agree that race was definitely a factor in TR's policies and thoughts, as well as that of the U.S. at the time, I do not think that was the primary motive in expanding. The U.S. was after territory so it could gain two things: power and money. Power from extending it's reach across the Pacific. Money from exploiting any natural resources offered by these islands. An overarching theme in this book is that TR and William Howard Taft, through their actions and diplomacy, helped sew the seeds of WWII. It's an intriguing viewpoint, and one that I think could be expanded upon further. Yet, I find Bradley's basic assertion that the idea for the Imperial Cruise was based solely on race to be tenuous at best.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Erik Graff

    This rather distressing book focuses on the racist convictions, imperialist ambitions and deceitful foreign affairs of Theodore Roosevelt with particular application to Japan. The author's thesis is that TR set the conditions for, indeed inspired, Japan's own Monroe Doctrine, the Co-prosperity Sphere, and Pearl Harbor. This argument is scattered about an account of the visits to Japan, China, Korea and the Philippines conducted by Alice Roosevelt, his daughter by his first marriage. Considerable This rather distressing book focuses on the racist convictions, imperialist ambitions and deceitful foreign affairs of Theodore Roosevelt with particular application to Japan. The author's thesis is that TR set the conditions for, indeed inspired, Japan's own Monroe Doctrine, the Co-prosperity Sphere, and Pearl Harbor. This argument is scattered about an account of the visits to Japan, China, Korea and the Philippines conducted by Alice Roosevelt, his daughter by his first marriage. Considerable attention is paid to the US invasion, conquest and maladministration of the Philippines as well as to TR's secret betrayal of Korea. Reading this, one begins to understand how Hitler would later cite American history as justification for his own aggressive racism.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cliff Ward

    This book tries to say that Theodore Roosevelt caused the Pacific War with Japan by organizing a tour with a secret agenda to Asia in 1905. He thinks that because Roosevelt expressed the Monroe Doctrine to Japan that in-turn it was interpreted as a justification for mass slaughter. The overall argument is that Roosevelt was an Anglo Saxon racial supremest who was responsible for countless evil while the rest of the world looked on as innocent victims. If only the world was really that simple and J This book tries to say that Theodore Roosevelt caused the Pacific War with Japan by organizing a tour with a secret agenda to Asia in 1905. He thinks that because Roosevelt expressed the Monroe Doctrine to Japan that in-turn it was interpreted as a justification for mass slaughter. The overall argument is that Roosevelt was an Anglo Saxon racial supremest who was responsible for countless evil while the rest of the world looked on as innocent victims. If only the world was really that simple and James Bradley's virtual signaling was justified. He is fortunate that he lives in a country who based on the principles of the Enlightenment, forced a rebellion under great sacrifice and formed under a new Constitution a system based on the imperfect and known selfish nature of our species which hoped for liberty, freedom, and the right to express openly any opinion. Had he been born in the majority of countries in this world he would have been silenced or simply disappeared. But the credit and value of this book is that it made me think. The extremity of the ideas made me very keen to use my own judgement and consideration and also to vigorously research and to investigate. The biggest danger of this book is to believe that if we just try harder to be more pure and kind then everything in the world is going to be a utopia because everybody else is pure and perfect. But then we wake up in a world where atrocities are occurring as common place and dictatorships are removing freedoms never to be seen again.

  29. 4 out of 5

    John Uit de Flesch

    I did not want to like this book. I resisted its message. It shares disturbing and shocking details of American imperialism in the Philippines. While I was well aware of slavery and Indian slaughters, this was a new chapter in American history to me. The author does seem to push his bias (his constant use of “White Christian” and capitalizing the term “foreign devils” for instance). Sometimes I think he put too much blame on Roosevelt for events 25-30 years later. However, it is a needed read if I did not want to like this book. I resisted its message. It shares disturbing and shocking details of American imperialism in the Philippines. While I was well aware of slavery and Indian slaughters, this was a new chapter in American history to me. The author does seem to push his bias (his constant use of “White Christian” and capitalizing the term “foreign devils” for instance). Sometimes I think he put too much blame on Roosevelt for events 25-30 years later. However, it is a needed read if you want a broad and full history of the USA. Hawaii, Philippines, Japan, Korea—it helped connect the dots and see how wars and policies developed. Interesting, sad, revealing, all with a bit of an axe to grind.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    This is as mean spirited a book as I've ever read. I don't know Mr. Bradley's politics but "Imperial Cruise" is exactly like all those revisionist history books which come out of the anti-American left. There are several thesis the author puts forth you will have to be comfortable. First, Theodore Roosevelt was guided by a white supremacist ideology embracing Arianism in which Roosevelt is Adolph Hitler. Second, that the United States is inherently evil and in which it is Nazi Germany. Third, th This is as mean spirited a book as I've ever read. I don't know Mr. Bradley's politics but "Imperial Cruise" is exactly like all those revisionist history books which come out of the anti-American left. There are several thesis the author puts forth you will have to be comfortable. First, Theodore Roosevelt was guided by a white supremacist ideology embracing Arianism in which Roosevelt is Adolph Hitler. Second, that the United States is inherently evil and in which it is Nazi Germany. Third, that Roosevelt was either an evil genius or an hapless idiot depending on the mood of the author. Fourth, that Roosevelt caused WWII, the Korean War and Vietnam as though the Japanese, North Koreans and Vietnamese had absolutely nothing to do with those conflicts. Fifth, that "white Christians" are the Nazi storm-troopers for the Roosevelt's Aryan movement. That Bradley has a visceral hatred of Theodore Roosevelt is well established in the first few pages of the book. The author jumps right into the Roosevelt as Aryan rant and, as if protesting too much, he uses the Aryan term hundreds of times throughout the book as though trying to pound it into the readers head. I got to the point where I would actually cringe when it appeared. Nothing is dispassionate about the way presents his material. He is mean spirited, snide and sarcastic on every page and it is a struggle to get through. Also, Bradley fails to present any view which runs counter to his own. He cherry-picks his sources, using only those which support his beliefs. I did get one thing out of the book, a desire to read more about the Roosevelt years as I learned nothing from this one.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...