Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Giveaway and Review: The Imperial Cruise by James Bradley

In order to celebrate the trade paperback release of The Imperial Cruise by James Bradley, Hachette Book Group is kindly allowing me to repost my original review of the book (I reviewed the audiobook) and to host a giveaway of three copies of the trade paperback version of this fascinating book. Details of the giveaway are at the end of this post after the review.

James Bradley is a great writer of historical non-fiction. I have previously read and loved Flags of Our Fathers and Flyboys. My husband Ben read those two previous books with me also and we had great discussions about various historical facts we had learned.

James Bradley is also a native of Wisconsin. He was born and grew up in Appleton and later graduated from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Although he no longer lives in Wisconsin, I think I can count him as a “literary local.” Bradley’s father, John, helped raise the flag on Iwo Jima as seen in the iconic photograph. His book, Flags of Our Fathers, was the basis for the Clint Eastwood movie by the same name. It was a great movie!

The Imperial Cruise continues Bradley’s look into history. In this book, Bradley investigates the roots of the diplomacy that led to World War II. Bradley believes that it all stems from the “Imperial Cruise” made by “Big” Bill Taft and “Princess” Alice Roosevelt amongst others to many nations in the Pacific.

While The Imperial Cruise is the title and main subject of the book, much time was spent on background information about the United States involvement in the Philippines, Western conflicts with China, Japan, and Korea, Teddy Roosevelt, and Alice Roosevelt. It was all very interesting information.

I particularly liked the new perspective I got of Teddy Roosevelt from this book. I knew of Teddy and his charge of San Juan Hill, Rough Rider, and tough ways. What I didn’t know was that Teddy was a master of publicity and knew how to create a tough image of him to win the public’s heart, which was actually far from accurate. I also loved learning more about Alice Roosevelt. I knew of her somewhat, but this book dealt on her troubled relationship with her father, as well as her life as the publicity star of her day.

I was very interested in the discussion of racist policies that the United States used towards Pacific Rim countries such as the Philippines, China, Japan, and Korea. There were many atrocities committed. I think that Bradley may have simplified matters though by blaming all bad foreign policy on racism. While racism certainly occurred, there were many other dynamics going on that should be have explored more in the novel. Also, I think that the actual imperial cruise could have used some more discussion. There was a lot of lead up to it, and it ended up being more exciting than the cruise itself.

Overall, The Imperial Cruise was a thought provoking book. I will definitely be reading James Bradley’s next book about Franklin Roosevelt and China.

Audiobook Source: Review Copy from Hachette Book Group. Thank-you!

Giveaway Details
Brianne of Hachette Book Group has been kind enough to offer three trade paperback copies of the The Imperial Cruise by James Bradley for this giveaway.

If you would like to win a copy of The Imperial Cruise, please leave a comment about what intrigues you about The Imperial Cruise.

As part of your comment, you must include an email address. If I can't find a way to contact you I will draw another winner.

I will be using random.org to pick the winners from the comments.

This contest is only open to US and Canadian residents (Sorry!).

No P.O. Boxes.

The deadline for entry is midnight, Friday November 19th.

Good luck!


  1. I like to read about other things that were happening in history and see how they related to bigger events..in this case WWII. My father was in WWII and he was a big history enthusiast.


  2. This book would be an amazing read and I would like to learn more.

    cenya2 at hotmail dot com

  3. Very interesting! Please count me in!


  4. This is such an interesting period of time, I would love to read this book.

  5. I would like to learn more about Teddy and Alice Roosevelt.

    Please enter me in this terrific giveaway. I am a follower, and will post this in my blog's sidebar.


    Thanks, Laura!

  6. I am intrigued with this time in history and know nothing about Roosevelt's daughter Alice. I would love to learn about her.

    teddyr66 at yahoo dot com

  7. A fascinating book, especially the behind the scenes events behind WWII in the Pacific. Would love to win.

    harvee44 at yahoo.com

  8. In school, history was not one of my favorite topics. As the years passed, I've discovered I enjoy historical fiction which has led me to read historical nonfiction books within the era of both world wars.
    tjandbcd at optonline.net

  9. I have long heard of Alice Roosevelt, knew she had an interesting personality, but actually I don't know anything about her. No doubt this book will be enlightening. Thanks for the giveaway.

  10. I've always wanted to read this book.

    aikychien at yahoo dot com

  11. My husband is fascinated with WWII history and I would like to win this for him.
    Thank you
    kaiminani at gmail dot com

  12. I love history and would like to learn more about Alice Roosevelt. Thanks for the giveaway!

    akaleistar (at) gmail (dot) com

  13. i'm intrigued by the subject of this book...thanks for the opportunity to read it :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

  14. Love history...especially the hidden history revealed long after the events and the participants truly are history! Please count me in, and thank you for hosting this giveaway!

    cyeates AT nycap DOT rr DOT com

  15. This is a different genre than I usually read and I need to become more familiar with our history. I've not read James Bradley before and am also intrigued with the subject matter that might not be generally known. Thank you for the giveaway and the chance to win this interesting book.

    Barb Shelton
    barbjan10 at tx dot rr dot com