“Sheds new light on the history of Theodore Roosevelt and the legendary exploits of his illustrious ‘cowboy’ regiment?the Rough Riders.” —Bonnie M. Miller, author of From Liberation to Conquest
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 Spanish American War 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.
In Charging Up San Juan Hill, John R. Van Atta recounts that pivotal assault by Roosevelt and the Rough Riders. 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.
“Van Atta adeptly links Roosevelt’s deep immersion in Western American culture to his investment in American imperialism in a readable cultural and military history . . . a worthy addition to the shelves of Western historians.” —Western Historical Quarterly