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First Great Triumph: How Five Americans Made Their Country a World Power
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First Great Triumph: How Five Americans Made Their Country a World Power

3.89  ·  Rating Details  ·  97 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
"We were sure that we would win, that we should score the first great triumph in a mighty world-movement."--Theodore Roosevelt, 1904

Americans like to think they have no imperial past. In fact, the United States became an imperial nation within five short years a century ago (1898-1903), exploding onto the international scene with the conquest of Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Phil
Paperback, 576 pages
Published January 15th 2004 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (first published October 21st 2002)
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Jun 05, 2016 Clif rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 2016 the United States has over 700 military bases across the world. As the sole superpower, it feels entitled to intervene anywhere it chooses and goes to great lengths to provide the network of facilities that will enable it to do so.

This situation is relatively new. When I was a young man, it was the Cold War that was used to explain American global military expansion, but as events since the end of the USSR in 1991 have shown, there has been something more driving the U.S. to dominate the
Urey Patrick
I have mixed emotions about this book. The author argues that the US is, and has always been, an Imperialist nation. He cites the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the Westward Expansion across the continent as proof of his premise... and the Spanish-American War as the fruition of American Imperialism that has since matured throughout the 20th Century. I think his analysis deeply flawed, although an argument can certainly be made that the Spanish-American War was in fact an American dalli ...more
Writing en route to Cuba during the Spanish-American War, Theodore Roosevelt envisioned the coming campaign as "the first great triumph in what will be a world movement." That movement—the emergence of the United States as a world power—is the subject of this thoughtful approach to the history and diplomacy of the era of the Spanish American War. The first half of the book, after an overview of the United States in 1898, consist of essays on five men who exemplified the expansionist movement and ...more
Pam Walter
Nov 08, 2015 Pam Walter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: any lovers of true history
Recommended to Pam by: My own personal research
Warren Zimmermann gives a fresh look at American politicians at the turn of the 20th Century. Describes political attitudes that we were not taught in school. Looks at the (then) Imperialistic nature of America. Tells of the American acquisition of Hawaii, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Philippines. At the same time some social reform was legislated, largely control of Trusts and better management in Tariffs. This is quite an eye opener. Americans were of the thinking that Manifest Destiny applied to Americ ...more
Took a while to get through this one, but that's OK; its style lends itself to that. Zimmerman presents this as a single narrative that tells the story of "How Five Americans Made Their Country a World Power" (the book's subtitle), but it's by no means that integrated. The first 200 pages or so are the interlocking biographies of the five men in question, imperialists all: Theodore Roosevelt; TR's Secretary of State, John Hay; his Secretary of War, Elihu Root; Massachusetts Senator Henry Cabot L ...more
Bill Gawne
Mar 04, 2013 Bill Gawne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Zimmerman provides us with a great look at the United States around the turn of the 20th century, seen through the lives of five men: Theodore Roosevelt, Alfred T. Mahan, Henry Cabot Lodge, John Hay, and Elihu Root. Excellent history and great insight into how the actions and decisions of these men influenced American policies for the following century.
Grindy Stone
Jun 18, 2016 Grindy Stone rated it liked it
Starts out promising, with thumbnail bios of Roosevelt, Lodge, Root, Mahan, and Hay, before bogging down in a description of the Spanish-American War. It seemed to take longer to wade through the second half of the book than the war actually lasted.
Brandy Montgomery
Apr 29, 2011 Brandy Montgomery rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this book for my Historiography class but ended up really enjoying it. It's a great read for anyone who enjoys reading about history.
Just the first thrd of the book, biographies of the principal personalities, makes this worth reading.
Jul 20, 2013 Malena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just a bit dense for a summer read, but really interesting history.
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