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9781421425863
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English
224
79763
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1
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9781421425887
9781421425863
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Charging Up San Juan Hill

Theodore Roosevelt and the Making of Imperial America

Below a Cuban sun so hot it stung their eyes, American troops hunkered low at the base of Kettle Hill. Spanish bullets zipped overhead, while enemy artillery shells landed all around them. Driving Spanish forces from the high ground would mean gaining control of Santiago, Cuba, and, soon enough, American victory in the Spanish-American War. No one doubted that enemy fire would claim a heavy toll, but these unusual citizen-soldiers and their unlikely commander—39-year-old Colonel Theodore Roosevelt—had volunteered for exactly this kind of mission.

In Charging Up San Juan Hill, John R. Van Atta recounts that fateful day in 1898. Describing the battle’s background and its ramifications for Roosevelt, both personal and political, Van Atta explains how Roosevelt’s wartime experience prompted him to champion American involvement in world affairs. Tracking Roosevelt’s rise to the presidency, this book argues that the global expansion of American influence—indeed, the building of an empire outward from a strengthened core of shared values at home—connected to the broader question of cultural sustainability as much as it did to the increasing of trade, political power, and military might.

At the turn of the twentieth century, Theodore Roosevelt personified American confidence. A New York City native and recovered asthmatic who spent his twenties in the wilds of the Dakota Territory, Roosevelt leapt into the war with Spain with gusto. He organized a band of cavalry volunteers he called the Rough Riders and, on July 1, 1898, took part in their charge up a Cuban hill the newspapers called San Juan, launching him to national prominence. Without San Juan, Van Atta argues, Roosevelt—whom the papers credited for the victory and lauded as a paragon of manhood—would never have reached a position to become president.

About the Author

John R. Van Atta teaches American history at the Brunswick School, in Greenwich, Connecticut. He is the author of Securing the West: Politics, Public Lands, and the Fate of the Old Republic, 1785–1850 and Wolf by the Ears: The Missouri Crisis, 1819–1821.

Endorsements

"Van Atta’s study of the ideological currents and contests of the Gilded Age sheds new light on the history of Theodore Roosevelt and the legendary exploits of his illustrious ‘cowboy’ regiment—the Rough Riders—who endured intense heat and privation in the Cuban wilderness to prove America’s mettle and manhood."

- Bonnie M. Miller, University of Massachusetts Boston, author of From Liberation to Conquest: The Visual and Popular Cultures of the Spanish–American War of 1898

"John Van Atta’s exciting narrative highlights the singular event that created the modern United States. Teddy Roosevelt’s heroic charge revived Manifest Destiny, put the United States on the world stage, and laid the groundwork for Roosevelt to become an imperialist president."

- Gene Allen Smith, Texas Christian University, author of The Slaves' Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812

"Charging Up San Juan Hill is not the militarily-focused account one might expect. Van Atta's book provides a fuller treatment of US involvement in the Spanish-American War, pondering the wider conceptual debates of the 1890s to provide valuable context for the conflict and those who played a role in it."

- Adam Burns, University of Wolverhampton, author of American Imperialism: The Territorial Expansion of the United States, 1783–2013

"John R. Van Atta’s colorfully written and balanced saga of Theodore Roosevelt's 'Rough Riders' presents a convincing argument for the intersection of masculinity, nationalism, race, and the West in the decade of the Spanish-American War. More than a study of Roosevelt, it is a thoughtful examination of an evolving culture and the acceptance of global empire."

- John M. Belohlavek, University of South Florida, author of Patriots, Prostitutes, and Spies: Women and the Mexican-American War
Johns Hopkins University Press
Witness to History
From 13 To 17

9781421425863 : charging-up-san-juan-hill-van-atta
Hardback
224 Pages
$49.95 USD
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224 Pages
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