Book Review: The Imperial Cruise

December420091142amimper Finally finished this book – The Imperial Cruise by James Bradley, author of Flags of our Fathers and Flyboys.

Not sure really where to start with this book. The premise Bradley starts out with is that this publicity cruise taken by Taft and Roosevelt’s daughter Alice was really a secret mission to solidify a secret, illegal treaty that Teddy had entered into with Japan. Furthermore, that this treaty led to Japan’s bombing of Pearl Harbor and the United States entering World War 2.

Bradley does an outstanding job in illustrating the racist agenda of turn of the century politics, Teddy Roosevelt in particular. Bradley adequately points out the United States failures in diplomatic relationships concerning the Philippines and Korea as well. As to the extent as to how these events directly led to Pearl Harbor and World War 2, he didn’t make as clear of an argument. Besides that, the cruise seems to be just a prop to the actual story going on between Teddy and the Japanese.

Not his usual outstanding writing but still good. It’s a harder read than his other two books.

Leadership Lessons:

Teddy Roosevelt was more concerned about his image than anything else. He played tennis but refused to have his picture taken while playing. Image will only take one so far and last so long.

He also surrounded himself with ‘yes-men.’ While that protected his image (somewhat), it was incredibly short-sighted and as a result, Teddy made some huge international diplomatic blunders. Did it lead the US into World War 2? I can see how it didn’t help, I can see how it destroyed the Philippines in the early 1900’s. I’m not convinced it completely is THE reason.

Teddy handcuffed his leaders. I use that term loosely. He withheld information from his key leaders. Many times he just used them as puppets for his hidden agenda. But full-disclosure and empowerment of leaders never happened with Teddy Roosevelt. It’s a pretty significant warning for us all.


4 thoughts on “Book Review: The Imperial Cruise

  1. If you get a chance you might check out Ghost Wars by Steve Coll. It is long, I am still working on it, but very interesting behind the scenes facts and indepth interviews about Afghanistan from the time the Soviets invaded until 9/11.


  2. i have not read that book, but i have read the biography of teddy roosevelt and needless to say paints a different story of that roosevelt. that was a trip to secure peace between japan and russia and it eventually worked and roosevelt won a nobel peace prize for helping garner a peace treaty between the two countries.

    he also was not a party president, as he angered a lot of stalwart republicans by his trust busting and implementing many financial regulations. then of course he made all his environmental changes and regulations and this made him switch to the progressive party later, but he was still a very popular president among the people.


  3. Clay – this read may be a good read for you then. It definitely brings a very different perspective on the presidency of Roosevelt.

    Bradley thinks the reason the ‘people’ had a positive impression of his presidency was because of image management, not of real decisions or real leadership. Bradley even goes so far to point out that the biographers of Roosevelt help perpetuate this myth instead of speaking the truth.

    Jlo – will grab that book. Sounds interesting.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s