Subtitle: Roosevelt, Lodge, Hearst, and the Rush to Empire, 1898
Author: Evan Thomas
Publisher: Little, Brown
Page Count: 480
The Gist: A rollicking account of the build-up to the Spanish-American War, when a hysterical press combined with a war-mad Executive Branch to give the country a war it didn’t need. Any similarity to the recent events is strictly incidental.
Does It Work? Beautifully. Thomas moves seamlessly from the general to the anecdotal, plucking amusing details from diaries, letters and newspaper articles to give depth to figures, like Hearst and TR, too often rendered as cardboard cutouts.
Unforgettable Moment So Far: Inauguration Day, when President-Elect William McKinley “polished off a breakfast of porterhouse steak, broiled chicken, quail, Spanish omelet, toast, hot rolls, wheat muffins, tea and coffee.”
Odds We’ll Finish It: Pretty darn high. Despite the length, the pace is breathless, and a glance at the introduction had us hooked.