Theodore Roosevelt Goes to War, 1897-1898
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 A lively account of an important period in Theodore Roosevelt's career, when he first entered the national stage as a statesman, helped transform the US into a world power, and distinguished himself as a hero of the Spanish-American war. Jeffers (Commissioner Roosevelt, 1994, etc.), a journalist and the author of 20 books, focuses on Roosevelt's experiences just before and during the war. He argues that Roosevelt, as assistant secretary of the navy, anticipated the problems of armed and aggressive nationalism that would lead to two world wars. As a result, he energetically pursued the creation of an alert, efficient navy, despite America's general lack of concern about threats from abroad, particularly Japan's attempted annexation of strategic Pacific islands (like Hawaii) and weaker Asian countries (like the Philippines and Korea). Relentless pressure from Roosevelt eventually resulted in the building of a large and efficient navy, which kept powerful European fleets from threatening US security and other nations from expanding into the Western hemisphere. Also, American annexation of Hawaii in 1897, prompted by Roosevelt, deterred Japan from further Pacific adventures. But T.R. wasn't just a strategist: When war with Spain broke out, he took an active part. Drawing from Roosevelt's voluminous letters, diaries, and memoirs, as well as government records and secondary sources, Jeffers amply covers Colonel Roosevelt's heroics in Cuba with his Rough Riders and his emergence as a leader and national figure. The rise of Theodore Roosevelt parallels the rise of the US as a world power. Jeffers is convincing in asserting that T.R. was highly instrumental both in bringing attention to the problem of foreign powers operating near our shores and along our Pacific frontier, and in strengthening American resolve and national defenses. (14 photos, not seen)

Pub Date: April 19th, 1996
ISBN: 0-471-12678-0
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Wiley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1996


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