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Honor in the Dust: Theodore Roosevelt, War in the Philippines, and the Rise and Fall of America's Imperial Dream

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  267 ratings  ·  58 reviews

On the eve of a new century, an up-and-coming Theodore Roosevelt set out to transform the U.S. into a major world power. The Spanish-American War would forever change America's standing in global affairs, and drive the young nation into its own imperial showdown in the Philippines.

From Admiral George Dewey's legendary naval victory in Manila Bay to the Rough Riders' heroic charge up

Hardcover, 464 pages
Published February 7th 2012 by NAL Hardcover
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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Start your review of Honor in the Dust: Theodore Roosevelt, War in the Philippines, and the Rise and Fall of America's Imperial Dream
The Philippine-American War – often referred to as the Philippine Insurrection – is a footnote to a footnote in American history. It is the double asterisk at the bottom of that history book you are reading. It is the unfortunate epilogue to the Spanish-American War, which is itself almost forgotten today, save for a blurry image of Teddy Roosevelt galloping up a hill, yelling Bully! and shooting Spaniards with great alacrity.

The war’s downplayed stature is not the result of any historical smallness.
Nov 07, 2011 rated it really liked it
(Another FirstReads win!).

"You can't put down a rebellion by throwing confetti and sprinkling perfumery," General Lloyd Wheaton offered in 1900 in rebuttal to protests from anti-imperialists over reports of abuses by U.S. troops in the Philippines. But this was not a rebellion. The American Philippine adventure turned quickly from emancipation of the islands from the Spanish to a take-over. In doing so, America crushed the Filipino independence movement and became the very evil we sa
Melissa Ennis
Dec 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Honor in the Dust: Theodore Roosevelt, War in the Philippines, and the Rise and Fall of America's Imperial Dream

This is a honey of a book: brisk, entertaining, surprising, and alarmingly topical. (Clearly, the folks who brougt you Guantamamo did not remember the MAINE.) Plus you learn how we got Guantanamo in the first place.

Jones spent decades mining original sources, and there are new nuggets on every page. But his research is so cleverly integrated into his narrative that Honor in the Du
Matthew Gregg
Dec 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A GOOD READS GIVEAWAY WIN Excellent history of the rise of the Marines and American imperialism as well as the use and abuse of military power at the turn of the century under President Teddy Roosevelt during the war in the Philippines. Interesting parallels can be made to the invasion and aftermath of George Bush's preemptive war with Iraq, especially the abuse and torture of the enemy by American troops.
Water torture was a big controversy back in Teddy Roosevelt's invasion of the Philippines
Beth Cato
Mar 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
This easy-to-read and intelligent nonfiction work focuses on the Spanish-American War with an emphasis on American behavior and abuses in the Philippines. I have read many books on Theodore Roosevelt, and while works on his early presidency mention the public relations disaster out of the Philippines, none went into detail. This one does. It's disturbing and thought-provoking.

Jones is a Pulitzer-Prize finalist journalist with years of firsthand experience in the Philippines. The even
Aug 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gregg Jones chronicles a critical four-year period, from 1898 to 1902, in which Americans allowed their blood to grow hot over war frenzy with a European power, allowing their sense of Manifest Destiny to embrace new responsibilities toward newly liberated island peoples, and bringing their anger to a re-boil over the outrage of "inferior" peoples killing American occupying soldiers, culminating in growing skepticism of the military's approach to putting down insurrection and disdain at their ow ...more
Mar 14, 2012 rated it really liked it

This was an history of America at one or her greatest and worst hours, pitting "Manifest Destiny" against the horrors of Expansionism and the virtue of disclosure against the practicality of successful management of political and military resources.

the central Character of this struggle was Theodore Roosevelt, who led the America and her "imperialists" to war in Cuba and the Phillipines. A man who was rightly accused of burying secrets in the cellar by his enemies " the Democrats and
Griffin Larson
Dec 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Very well done and explained. Great book for information and it was still kept extremely interesting. Glad I read it.
Mar 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
[from my review that appeared in the Christian Science Monitor, April 27, 2012].

George Santayana, the eminent Harvard philosophy professor, novelist, and poet is widely known for his prescient observation: “Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” However, his lesser-known, but similarly poignant quote, “Only the dead have seen the end of war” is just as applicable in Gregg Jones’ extraordinary new history of America’s campaign for conquest of the Philippines,
Mar 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Investigative journalists have become some of our greatest historians with their shattering of the truth, through epic works. Recent history is again disturbed by reminders of The United States of America’s own dirty history of genocide, torture, and cover-ups, past and present, by yet another worthy investigative journalist, Gregg Jones, a Pulitzer Prize finalist. His triumphant historical work, Honor in the Dust, Theodore Roosevelt, War in the Philippines, and the Rise and Fall of America’s Im ...more
Kelly Knapp
Feb 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: history buffs, presidential buffs
Recommended to Kelly by: my daughter
This well documented and researched book is beautifully written. Teddy Roosevelt has always been one of my favorite Presidents. However, I did not realize how instramental he was in the invasion of the phillipines. In addition, I had no idea that this big strong hunter and president was actually born small, sickly, and with terrible asthma.

This books shows how he decided what type of man he wanted to be and that he set his course to make his dreams come true. But some of those dreams
Dec 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: adults interested in history, politics, Phillipines, Asia
Recommended to Jtolan1 by: Goodreads first read!!
Interesting and well-written, Honor in the Dust is a pleasure to read.

Easily accessible and engrossing, the author includes the right amount of factual background to help you understand the conflicting priorities and competitive pressures of the time. I felt I was really living this era, with an insider's access to what was happening. I also gained a depth of understanding about the colorful characters of the time, like Teddy Roosevelt.

This book is a great window on a pivotal period
The book was a First Read contest win.

Great book about the history of 2 separate wars America fought. The Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War. This book even goes into detail about how Guantanamo was started. This author did his research very well. He included notes and a bibliography for each chapter of the book citing where he got the information. I was very impressed.

This is a great read for any one interested in war history.

The bunnies
Jo Stafford
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This absorbing and well-paced history of the US war in the Philippines contains lessons that are relevant to later US wars, particularly in Vietnam and, more recently, in Iraq.

In light of recent revelations about the use of waterboarding and other forms of torture to extract information from suspected terrorists, the historical context of the so-called water cure outlined by Jones is illuminating. Many of the controversial and brutal strategies employed by US forces in the Philippines have been
Scott Benyacko
Mar 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It never ceases to amaze how often history repeats. This work about a often forgotten period of US history shows the dangers of the loss of humanity amidst the delusions of empire. The debate on torture from 1900-1902 echoes down through history to today. Jones's writing has a journalistic eye with a novelist's pacing. It just goes to show that those who do not study the mistakes of the past are oft condemned to repeat them.
Nov 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Good quick read on the Spanish-American and Philippine-American wars. Jones's description of the battles in both wars are impressive. The only thing lacking in the book is that it does not go into more details.

I won this book through a GoodReads giveaway.
Dec 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I was pleasantly suprised. With my degree and my job I read a lot of history stuff. It's been a while since I've read something like this. I think it's use of adjectives. Anyway, I liked it.
Jun 17, 2018 rated it liked it
A very interesting account of the war in the Philippines. It wasn't the most captivating book, but I did learn quite a bit.
Ralph Hermansen
Feb 08, 2013 rated it liked it
This is a book review of "Honor in the Dust" written by Greg Jones.

I like to browse the new books in the book aisle at Costco, while my wife does her grocery shopping. When I saw that this was a book about Theodore Roosevelt, I was immediately interested in buying it. I find him to be a fascinating and inspirational character and have read other biographies about him. Although some of the book is directly related to my favorite president, the majority of the book is a detailed wartim
Jojo Clemente
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Another interesting book on the little-told history of America's first years of colonizing the Philippines.

Told mainly from the American point of view, the book does not shy away from some of the not-so noble aspects of its efforts to "benevolently assimilate" the archipelago in the beginning of the 20th century. Realizing the potential strategic importance of the islands in the years to come, America spared little in trying to convert the Philippines and its people to what they considered a "c
Oct 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Great book on the U.S. war on the people of the Philippines. I appreciate the stories of the ordinary people involved as well as the still-famous war criminals like Theodore Roosevelt. It was easy to read but detailed, a rare feat. It is a amazing that in a democracy a small group of men could decide to grab an entire country and then bully everyone else into accepting and even glorifying what was clearly wrong.

My only critique is that Gregg Jones apparently did not have access to Co
Herb Hastings
Aug 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Whenever we Americans hear of US troops acting beastly in some faraway land, we are shocked. We ask ourselves how could the good guys have strayed? Sadly, this well written book is a testament to humanity's ability to treat our fellow man with dehumanizing cruelty and contempt, no matter their country of origin.

Jones tells the story of the US conquest of the Philippines both from the battleground and the American political arena. US forces were sent there to kick out the Spanish duri
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Teddy Roosevelt is the 'main character' of this work, however, other individuals receive a little more than cursory treatment. Some of these are individuals we have heard about before e.g. Elihu Root, Henry Cabot Lodge, George Dewey. Others are not often mentioned in history books e.g. George Frisbie Hoar. Minor characters, e.g. some average soldiers receive a few paragraphs of background.
The first half of the book covers the lead up to the Spanish-American War and parts of the conflict. A
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book; the author's way of bringing in the words written and said during the times the book mainly speaks of added an incredible layer of detail which did still manage to continue the flow of the story. At the same time, it feels as if the ending was quite abrupt (as it quite possibly was for that step of American expansion).

The one critique of the author that I would have is his failing to qualify his statement on the assassination of William McKinley. With resp
Oct 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Another rather shameful chapter in the history of American military.
I had read very little about the "Spanish American War" and the invasion of the Philippines before reading this book. What this book does not state is that, according to some figures, 200,000 Filipino people died as a result of this war. What struck me as I read this account was how many similarities there were with another war just a bit to the north and 65 years later. Many of the same tactics were used against the Vietnamese
Apr 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had been looking for books on the war we inflicted on the Philippines at the turn of the 20th century for some time. Finally came across this book in March 2013. So in the last month I focused my reading time on Gregg Jones book and found it a very good read. The title and picture has Teddy Roosevelt as the focus but I think this was for book sales and not necessarily the author's intent, since much of the book talks about the soldiers in the Philippines and not Roosevelt. Though the first sec ...more
Aug 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I enjoyed learning something new, but I couldn't follow how it was written. He opens chapters with flashbacks to a torture scene or the beginning of a battle, then goes back for a biography of a military official, then explains the buildup to the scene, then starts all over again.

Very dense with names, dates, and battles. You will learn A LOT about a forgotten chapter in America's history, but I had to read this in less than a week for a class. It was an awful assignment and I would
The American Conservative
'Journalist Gregg Jones offers a notable, if somewhat inelegant, reconstruction of Theodore Roosevelt’s career and this country’s embrace of empire between the years 1898-1902.

Honor in the Dust shows how Roosevelt deftly maneuvered the U.S. and a war-weary President McKinley into a full-blown occupation of the Philippines, and how he managed the fallout. The conquest was a moral and historical disaster that Roosevelt—skilled in public relations—retooled for public consumption as the U.S. found
Feb 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The extraordinary story of Theodore Roosevelt's first major crisis as president — a torture scandal spawned during the United States' controversial conquest of the Philippines. The book examines the critical election of 1900, when Americans weighed economic concerns against a divisive overseas war, and recalls the United States' dramatic rise as a world power and the cast of forgotten characters behind it. The issues at the heart of the forgotten debate about the emergence of the U.S. as a world ...more
May 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Proper title might have been an American "Distant Mirror", as the description of tactics and events in bringing the Philippine resistance to heel in the early 20th century seems to track so scarily close to the military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 21 century, from the booby trapped localities to the use of the "water cure"-now known as water boarding. I find myself rereading Edmund Morris on TR to see if Roosevelt's reelection chances in 1904 were as severely endangered by the P ...more
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Goodreads Librari...: Correction to publication date 3 18 Dec 18, 2011 11:05AM  

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Pulitzer Prize-finalist foreign correspondent and investigative journalist Gregg Jones is the author of three critically acclaimed nonfiction books: 'Honor in the Dust', 'Last Stand at Khe Sanh', and 'Red Revolution'. He reported on the fall of the Taliban and the beginning of the U.S. war in Afghanistan in 2001-02, and has covered civil wars, insurgencies, revolutions and other major news events ...more
“This is the history of the world with perhaps a stronger dash of hypocrisy than usual to soothe our feelings.” 0 likes
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