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First great triumph : how five Americans…
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First great triumph : how five Americans made their country a world power (2002)

by Warren Zimmermann

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Excellent book! For anyone that studies Roosevelt. Brought him into a whole new light for me. ( )
  caleath | Dec 21, 2012 |
Writing en route to Cuba during the Spanish-American War, Theodore Roosevelt envisioned the coming campaign as "the first great triumph in what will be a world movement." That movement—the emergence of the United States as a world power—is the subject of this thoughtful approach to the history and diplomacy of the era of the Spanish American War. The first half of the book, after an overview of the United States in 1898, consist of essays on five men who exemplified the expansionist movement and played a part in its development. They include the poet, journalist, and diplomat John Hay; Alfred T. Mahan, theorist of sea power; Elihu Root, corporation lawyer, government administrator, and presidential adviser; Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, expansionist spokesman and mentor of Theodore Roosevelt, and finally, TR himself. Mahan narrates the stories of these lives of the leaders of this era with attention to their accomplishments and, in the cases of Alfred T. Mahan and Elihu Root, these were a revelation to me.

The second half of the book was a more traditional history of the era and in it the author, while decrying the advent of American imperialism, betrayed his own preference for big government. He concludes with an analysis of the legacy on the twentieth century of the expansion led by these five men: the creation of an authentic American Imperialism (for better or worse), the preparation of the United States to be a great power, the first comprehensive assertion of of U. S. security interests abroad, the creation of foreign policy priorities in human rights and stability, and finally strengthening the American presidency. This final legacy has grown unwieldy at the beginning of our new century. Overall Zimmermann's book was an excellent historical overview of a formative period for American foreign relations. ( )
  jwhenderson | Jun 22, 2008 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374179395, Hardcover)

“We were sure that we would win, that we should score the first great triumph in a mighty world-movement.”Theodore Roosevelt, 1904

Americans like to think they have no imperial past. In fact, the United States became an imperial nation within five short years a century ago (1898-1903), exploding onto the international scene with the conquest of Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, and (indirectly) Panama. How did the nation become a player in world politics so suddenly—and what inspired the move toward imperialism in the first place?

The renowned diplomat and writer Warren Zimmermann seeks answers in the lives and relationships of five remarkable figures: the hyper-energetic Theodore Roosevelt, the ascetic naval strategist Alfred T. Mahan, the bigoted and wily Henry Cabot Lodge, the self-doubting moderate Secretary of State John Hay, and the hard-edged corporate lawyer turned colonial administrator Elihu Root. Faced with difficult choices, these extraordinary men, all close friends, instituted new political and diplomatic policies with intermittent audacity, arrogance, generosity, paternalism, and vision.

Zimmermann's discerning account of these five men also examines the ways they exploited the readiness of the American people to support a surge of expansion overseas. He makes it clear why no discussion of America's international responsibilities today can be complete without understanding how the United States claimed its global powers a century ago.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:03 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

“We were sure that we would win, that we should score the first great triumph in a mighty world-movement.”—Theodore Roosevelt, 1904 Americans like to think they have no imperial past. In fact, the United States became an imperial nation within five short years a century ago (1898-1903), exploding onto the international scene with the conquest of Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, and (indirectly) Panama. How did the nation become a player in world politics so suddenly—and what inspired the move toward imperialism in the first place? The renowned diplomat and writer Warren Zimmermann seeks answers in the lives and relationships of five remarkable figures: the hyper-energetic Theodore Roosevelt, the ascetic naval strategist Alfred T. Mahan, the bigoted and wily Henry Cabot Lodge, the self-doubting moderate Secretary of State John Hay, and the hard-edged corporate lawyer turned colonial administrator Elihu Root. Faced with difficult choices, these extraordinary men, all close friends, instituted new political and diplomatic policies with intermittent audacity, arrogance, generosity, paternalism, and vision. Zimmermann's discerning account of these five men also examines the ways they exploited the readiness of the American people to support a surge of expansion overseas. He makes it clear why no discussion of America's international responsibilities today can be complete without understanding how the United States claimed its global powers a century ago.… (more)

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