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Stephen Kinzer

The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire

Henry Holt and Company

The cover of this book depicts Mark Twain and Theodore Roosevelt—Twain in evening clothes, TR in Rough Rider kit. The True Flag recounts one of this country’s defining moments, the dawn of American overseas expansion. Anti-imperialism and colonialism are personified by these two men. If you want a meticulously non-heroic interpretation of Roosevelt, here it is. Kinzer’s sympathies are evident, but he points out baser motives in both sides of the argument. Imperialist Capital wanted guaranteed overseas markets for American goods. Anti-imperialist Labor feared an influx of cheap foreign workers. Both sides were unashamedly racist and paternalistic. Sound familiar?

– Bruce Collier


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