A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Book
Warren Zimmermann examines the development of the United States as an imperial nation a century ago, with the conquest of Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines, Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, and (indirectly) Panama within five short years (1898-1903). How did the United States become a player in world politics so suddenly and what inspired the move toward imperialism in the first place?
Longtime diplomat and writer Zimmermann seeks answers in the lives and relationships of five remarkable figures: Theodore Roosevelt; naval strategist Alfred T. Mahan; senator Henry Cabot Lodge; 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 alternating 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 overseas expansion. He makes 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.