The War Lovers by Evan Thomas
Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the Rush to Empire, 1898

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Synopsis

On February 15th, 1898, the American ship USS Maine mysteriously exploded in the Havana Harbor. News of the blast quickly reached U.S. shores, where it was met by some not with alarm but great enthusiasm.

A powerful group of war lovers agitated that the United States exert its muscle across the seas. Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge were influential politicians dismayed by the "closing" of the Western frontier. William Randolph Hearst's New York Journal falsely heralded that Spain's "secret infernal machine" had destroyed the battleship as Hearst himself saw great potential in whipping Americans into a frenzy. The Maine would provide the excuse they'd been waiting for.

On the other side were Roosevelt's former teacher, philosopher William James, and his friend and political ally, Thomas Reed, the powerful Speaker of the House. Both foresaw a disaster. At stake was not only sending troops to Cuba and the Philippines, Spain's sprawling colony on the other side of the world-but the friendships between these men.

Now, bestselling historian Evan Thomas brings us the full story of this monumental turning point in American history. Epic in scope and revelatory in detail, The War Lovers takes us from Boston mansions to the halls of Congress to the beaches of Cuba and the jungles of the Philippines. It is landmark work with an unforgettable cast of characters-and provocative relevance to today.
 

About Evan Thomas

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Evan Thomas is the author of The Very Best Men: Four Who Dared: The Early Years of the C.I.A.; Robert Kennedy: His Life; The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst and the Rush to Empire, 1989; Sea of Thunder: The Last Great Naval Command, 1941-1945; and John Paul Jones. His most recent book is Ike’s Bluff: President Eisenhower’s Secret Battle to Save the World.
 
Published April 10, 2010 by Little, Brown and Company. 445 pages
Genres: History, War. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Thomas also profiles two major dissenters: the powerful, dovish Speaker of the House Thomas Reed, who lost his best friend in the Civil War, and philosopher William James, who viewed the country’s policy of foreign conquest as a betrayal of the American value of self-determination.

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The New York Times

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Later generations would call it World War II.” Roosevelt had never foreseen that Ameri­ca’s search for order and opportunity in Asia, set in motion by the seizure of the Philippines, would later lead into a terrible war between the United States and Japan for control of the Pacific.

Apr 21 2010 | Read Full Review of The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lo...

The Wall Street Journal

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Robert K. Landers reviews Evan Thomas's "The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lodge,
Hearst and the Rush to Empire, 1898."

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The Wall Street Journal

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Having exalted war and pushed hard for building up the nation's military strength, Navy Assistant Secretary Theodore Roosevelt in April 1898 became one of the million Americans who rushed to answer President William McKinley's call for 125,000 volunteers to liberate Cuba from Spanish tyranny.

Apr 24 2010 | Read Full Review of The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lo...

Book Reporter

While economic issues are eternal, the America of the late 19th century was faced with a different set of problems, including a perceived “need” by high-ranking officials to expand the American “brand.” While Spain was pressing an iron boot on the neck of a Cuban nation yearning to be free, many ...

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The Washington Times

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In Mr. Thomas’ account of the destruction of the USS Maine and the onset of war madness, TR appears (as he does in other works) obsessed with an imperial role for the United States and seemingly unhinged in his anxiety for a war-hero role for himself, all with the encouragement of Lodge and the u...

Apr 23 2010 | Read Full Review of The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lo...

Entertainment Weekly

Plenty, says Evan Thomas in The War Lovers, this finely crafted book about the Gilded Age, when America's desire for empire building fueled the Spanish-American War.

May 12 2010 | Read Full Review of The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lo...

The Washington Post

More than a century before a recent president, who had never seen combat, led the United States into war with Iraq, a pair of politicians similarly unscarred by war created the playbook that has been used ever since.

May 02 2010 | Read Full Review of The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lo...

Christian Science Monitor

While the struggles in Iraq and Afghanistan no longer occupy the front pages of the nation’s newspapers, in 1898 the American people were galvanized by a conflict 90 miles from the American mainland.

May 19 2010 | Read Full Review of The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lo...

Bookmarks Magazine

Steve Weinberg Wall Street Journal 4 of 5 Stars "Roosevelt’s passion for the Spanish-American War is at the heart of The War Lovers, Evan Thomas’s vivid, insightful and readable account of the conflict and, more broadly, of America’s ‘rush to empire,’ as his subtitle has it.

Apr 25 2010 | Read Full Review of The War Lovers: Roosevelt, Lo...

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