1898: The Birth of the American Century
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In 1898: The Birth of the American Century, David Traxel tells the story of a watershed year, a year of foreign conflict, extravagant adventure, and breakneck social change that forged a new America—a sudden empire with many far-flung possessions, a dynamic new player upon the global stage.
At the heart of this vivid, anecdotal history is a masterly account of the Spanish-American War, the "splendid little war" that garnered the nation Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. From the sinking of the Maine in waters off Havana to Teddy Roosevelt's rough riders and the triumph of Admiral Dewey, here is the lightning-swift military episode that transformed America into a world power. Here too are many stories not so often told—the bloody first successes of the new United Mine Workers, the tentative beginnings of the Ford Motor Company, the million-dollar launch of the Uneeda Biscuit—each in its way as important as the harbinger of the American century. Compulsively readable, frequently humorous, utterly fascinating in its every detail, 1898 is popular history at its finest.
description of the incident, and encountered his assailant on the street again the next day. “I saw his hand fluttering and quickly reached out to grab it. There we stood, he with tears in his eyes, and I tried to say quickly that I was sorry, then he said it, so we both said it—and it was all over. It was a case of temper with him and idle meanness with me, put into rather cutting and unjustified rhetoric. I think it taught me a lesson.” THE WEST AND MIDWEST were famous as the wellsprings of
whatever he undertook and lived up to that region’s reputation for moral acuity and love of learning. Local bakers had come to him for help in forming the American Biscuit&Manufacturing Company, and he had done such a good job of managing the competitive battles before the merger that now he became chairman of the board and de facto chief executive of NBC, or Nabisco, as people began calling it. Green established corporate headquarters in the eight-story Home Insurance Company building, the
lines the harbor at Havana, lying under the shadow of night, suddenly rift with a column of fire and startled with the thunder of the explosion of the noble battleship.” Whatever hopes he had of being lost in an evil dream were quickly dashed; he immediately sent orders for lighthouse tenders to be rushed to Havana, and for the president to be awakened. Long, the quiet soul from Massachusetts, then girded himself to deal with the deluge of reporters and dispatches that he knew would be descending
friends, being careful to use only the word “accident” in public dealings. In addition, he was trying to gird himself to face potential tragedies at home; both his wife, Edith, and his eldest son, Ted, were suffering from severe illnesses. In 1884, when both his mother and his first wife, Alice, had died within hours of each other, he had run from room to room trying to comfort them; now it seemed that such a tragedy might be repeating itself. Roosevelt’s way of dealing with such stress was to be
to us, who made frequent trips to the archipelago, and of the resident consul in Manila, Oscar F. Williams, whose effectiveness was limited by his lack of naval expertise and by the tight surveillance he was kept under. “Two or more spies watch me constantly and my clerk is the son of a Spanish colonel. At times, I suspect the key to my consulate and its safe are in the possession of persons who have no right to them and that my office has been visited.” But the consul was brave, resourceful, and