Saturday, May 8, 2010
The Imperial Cruise by James Bradley
For there was a hidden purpose. Roosevelt, as was the case with many others in that time, felt that the white Christian male had a destiny to rule the world. America, along with England and the other European powers, felt it was their right to take over the Oriental nations and to carve them up into so many prizes on a poker table.
This is not the cuddley Theodore Roosevelt of the Teddy Bear and the Rough Riders legend. This is the Roosevelt who time after time, in writing after writing and speech after speech, evangelized his belief in his race's superiority over all others, and his firm decision that God was on his side as he gathered nations and trade tokens to his country. This was the Roosevelt of the motto, "Speak softly but carry a big stick" who believed that might made right, and that anyone who stood in his way should be put down brutally.
It is the author's belief that Roosevelt's shortsightedness and prejudice laid the cornerstone of the catalysm that was World World II. The United States had entered into a secret treaty with Japan that gave them permission to take Korea and as much of China as they could bite off. The shock was decades later when this favored nation turned against their champions. Bradley puts the blame for WWII squarely in Roosevelt's lap.
Readers of history will find this book interesting. While I don't personally believe that Roosevelt's policies were the sole source of the second World War as they don't account for Hitler and the Nazi atrocies, it is a spotlight into a hidden side of American history. I was shocked to hear how openly prejudice was expressed, not only by politicians but by other revered American figures such as Ralph Waldo Emerson. This book is recommended for nonfiction readers.