On February 15, 1898, the American ship USS Maine mysteriously exploded in the Havana Harbor. News of the blast quickly reached U.S. shores, where it was met by some not with alarm but great enthusiasm.

A powerful group of war lovers agitated that the United States exert its muscle across the seas. Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge were influential politicians dismayed by the “closing” of the Western frontier. William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal falsely heralded that Spain’s “secret infernal machine” had destroyed the battleship as Hearst himself saw great potential in whipping Americans into a frenzy. The Maine would provide the excuse they’d been waiting for.

On the other side were Roosevelt’s former teacher, philosopher William James, and his friend and political ally, Thomas Reed, the powerful Speaker of the House. Both foresaw a disaster. At stake was not only sending troops to Cuba and the Philippines, Spain’s sprawling colony on the other side of the world-but the friendships between these men.

Now, bestselling historian Evan Thomas brings us the full story of this monumental turning point in American history. Epic in scope and revelatory in detail, The War Lovers takes us from Boston mansions to the halls of Congress to the beaches of Cuba and the jungles of the Philippines. It is landmark work with an unforgettable cast of characters-and provocative relevance to today.

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Praise

PRAISE FOR THE WAR LOVERS:

"In his absorbing narrative of men who found duty or fulfillment or personal meaning in a war for empire-and of other men, like William James, who feared that such a quest would rot the nation's soul-Thomas has illuminated, in a compulsively readable style, a critical moment in American history. This is a book that, with its style and panache, is hard to forget and hard to put down."—Ronald Steel, New York Times Book Review
"Thomas has delivered an innovative, frequently entertaining and valuable retelling of an episode that set the pattern for more than a century of foreign military adventurism. This timely book is a cautionary tale about how the psyche of powerful and ambitious leaders may matter more than fact-or even truth-when the question of war arises."—James McGrath Morris, The Washington Post
"Thomas takes some risks in his biography of Theodore Roosevelt and his cohorts, trying to get not just inside their actions, but inside their heads. The result is an intriguing examination of the pull that war has on men."—Steve Weinberg, Minneapolis Star Tribune
"No biographer at work today has a surer feel for the human dimension of history than Evan Thomas...The War Lovers is as good as popular history gets."—Jon Meacham, author of American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House
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