Synopses & Reviews
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.
"Theodore Roosevelt steers America onto the shoals of imperialism in this stridently disapproving study of early 20th-century U.S. policy in Asia. Bestselling author of Flags of Our Fathers, Bradley traces a 1905 voyage to Asia by Roosevelt's emissary William Howard Taft, who negotiated a secret agreement in which America and Japan recognized each other's conquests of the Philippines and Korea. (Roosevelt's flamboyant, pistol-packing daughter Alice went along to generate publicity, and Bradley highlights her antics.) Each port of call prompts a case study of American misdeeds: the brutal counterinsurgency in the Philippines; the takeover of Hawaii by American sugar barons; Roosevelt's betrayal of promises to protect Korea, which 'greenlighted' Japanese expansionism and thus makes him responsible for Pearl Harbor. Bradley explores the racist underpinnings of Roosevelt's policies and paradoxical embrace of the Japanese as 'Honorary Aryans.' Bradley's critique of Rooseveltian imperialism is compelling but unbalanced. He doesn't explain how Roosevelt could have evicted the Japanese from Korea, and insinuates that the Japanese imperial project was the brainstorm of American advisers. Ironically, his view of Asian history, like Roosevelt's, denies agency to the Asians themselves. Photos, maps. One-day laydown." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
TERRIFIC PRAISE FOR THE IMPERIAL CRUISE
"James Bradley's incendiary new book...is startling enough to reshape conventional wisdom about Roosevelt's presidency...In Flags of Our Fathers he wrote about how his father helped plant the American flag on the island of Iwo Jima during World War II. In The Imperial Cruise he asks why American servicemen like his father had to be fighting in the Pacific at all."--Janet Maslin, New York Times
"A provocative study...What is fascinating about Bradley's reconstruction of a largely neglected aspect of Roosevelt's legacy is the impact that his racial theories and his obsession with personal and national virility had on his diplomacy. Engrossing and revelatory, The Imperial Cruise is revisionist history at its best."--Ronald Steel, New York Times Book Review
"[Bradley's] ingenious narrative thread is to track an across-the-pacific 1905 goodwill voyage by Roosevelt's emissaries....[his indictment of Roosevelt] raises tantalizing questions."--Gene Santoro, American History
"For readers under the impression that history is the story of good guys and bad guys...this book could be useful medicine."--USA Today
"A page-turner with solidly attributed eye-opening passages."--Mike Householder, Associated Press
"Engaging...this is a book to admire and, it must be said, to enjoy."
--David M. Shribman, The Boston Globe
PRAISE FOR THE IMPERIAL CRUISE
"Incendiary...[The Imperial Cruise] is startling enough to reshape conventional wisdom about Roosevelt's presidency."--Janet Maslin, New York Times
"A page-turner."--Associated Press
AUDIE AWARD FINALIST:
"FLYBOYS, the story of the U.S. air campaign against Japan during WWII, is told in exacting detail by James Bradley.... In this biography, Bradley describes the Japanese military mind and attitude toward foreigners and tells of their actions toward their own soldiers and the men they captured during the war. Bradley reads his work in a matter-of-fact tone, never emphasizing or downplaying the atrocities on either side of the war. The graphic, horrific details of Japanese torture, mutilation, murder, and cannibalism are recited calmly and succinctly by Bradley, as are the detailed results of America's bombing of Japan."--AudioFile Magazine
In 1905 President Teddy Roosevelt dispatched Secretary of War William Howard Taft on the largest U.S. diplomatic mission in history to Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, China, and Korea. Roosevelt's glamorous twenty-one year old daughter Alice served as mistress of the cruise, which included senators and congressmen. On this trip, Taft concluded secret agreements in Roosevelt's name.
In 2005, a century later, James Bradley traveled in the wake of Roosevelt's mission and discovered what had transpired in Honolulu, Tokyo, Manila, Beijing and Seoul.
In 1905, Roosevelt was bully-confident and made secret agreements that he though would secure America's westward push into the Pacific. Instead, he lit the long fuse on the Asian firecrackers that would singe America's hands for a century.
About the Author
James Bradley is the author of the NYT
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.