I welcome your comments and will read them.
I will respond to as many as I can.
-- James Bradley
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I have just now finished reading your book ‘The Imperial Cruise’. I am a native born Canadian of Scottish decent who has lived in Asia for the past twenty years and have interacted with many individuals on business, social, technical and academic issues and, have often struggled with legacy perceptions of intent when I attempt to justify my point of view or position. This book of yours has been an eye opener for me and I now feel compelled to look deeper into the statements made regarding white N. American involvement in setting the stage for what I previously contemplated as so much seemingly natural, aggression in Asian politics in the early to mid twentieth century and in many ways is still in place in some countries today. My perception of Teddy Roosevelt has been fairly simplistic in that it was confined to the knowledge that he was the man who pushed through the Panama Canal and the National Parks Service. Now I need to assess and absorb the aspect of how he drove United States policy or, perceived policy, so as to instigate what was essentially ‘copycat’ Manifest Destiny on the part of Japan towards the rest of East Asia. One aspect of the current East-West relationship that I now recognize is – How can the people of Asia be so forgiving to Western society with such an historical background. An amazing revelation.
Don--I was amazed also. Thanks for reading. Best. James
Dear Mr. Bradley,
I have read all 3 of your books and have enjoyed them immensely. Your latest, The Imperial Passage was outstanding.
What an eye opener. We look with disdain on Japan and Germany for leaving their WWII history out of their school texts, but you have revealed much that has been left out of ours. I will look at Mt. Rushmore differently now that "Bully Teddy," has been exposed for the fraud he was. Unfortunately, those who have followed him through the halls of the White House haven't learned much from his outlandish behavior and mistakes.
Roosevelt's overt racism was almost too much to believe, as were the attitudes prevalent at that time. Some are still rearing their ugly heads today with a black president in office. The cicumventing of the constitution by Taft and Roosevelt almost makes Nixon's pale in comparison. Theirs led to total world conflict, and still resonates to this day.
Thanks for the enlightening journey and opening up my eyes to a truly disturbing part of our heritage and history. Your point is well taken, that your Dad may never have had to partake in the war had there been more concern about what we needed to do as a country here, rather than westward expansion.
Carl G. DalBon
It's gratifying when someone reflects so deeply.
Thanks for reading and for your thoughtful note.
I just finished reading The Imperial Cruise.
I am a reasonably well-educated person; went to a good high school; graduated from Colgate University; had a successful business career; keep up-to-date on current events; and am 67-years-old.
I absolutely cannot believe what I read in your book. It is not that I do not believe you. To the contrary, your footnotes denote a well-researched and documented book.
How could I- and millions of others- NOT know what a racist country we have been- over and above the obvious slavery issue? The whole concept of the White Aryan race dominating and moving West....
I never heard of anything about what you have written and I am literally stunned.
How could Teddy Roosevelt be John McCain's "Hero"?
Thank you for opening my eyes to a part of American History never taught in school, which begs the question of what "they" are trying to do now about what teachers are going to be teaching.
I do not know what else to say but I am stunned, upset, disappointed, outraged- many different emotions about how our leaders led as short ago as 100 years and less.
I share your shock. I often could not believe what I was finding in 2005 as I shadowed the Imperial Cruise of 1905.
I have no answers to your questions how why we didn't know these facts, which were hidden in plain sight. But the questions are important and should be answered.
Thanks for reading and for your comments.
All the best.
Dear Mr. Bradley;
I first wrote you after reading Flyboys, which i regard as one of the best books I have ever read, both for the historical content and the way the book was written. At that time I suggested it was a book every American, and Canadian (as I am) would benefit from reading.
I have just finished reading the Imperial Cruise and am compelled once again to write to you in congratulations for another outstanding treatment of this area of western history, foreign policy and imperialism.
I felt that you have once again accomplished the near-impossible task of dealing with deep and profound issues of American history in a way that will make people look and listen, rather than circle political and philisophical wagons.
I wish to, again, thank you for your fine writing, and suggest (again!) that you have created a powerful statement that should be considered a 'must-read' by any thoughtful, forward thinking citizen of western society.
Your true Canadian friend;
Hello Matthew in Canada!
Thanks for your note. I'm heartened that you enjoyed Flyboys and The Imperial Cruise, both stories that I had no idea were out there.
All the best.
Dear Mr. Bradley,
Having read your other two books, which I found both fascinating and enjoyable, I was excited to start THE IMPERIAL CRUISE. It is gripping and well-written.
Theodore Roosevelt has dropped quickly in my estimation, regardless of his creation of the National Park Service.
My question, which cannot be answered, is about where we might be in relation to the Middle East conflict, if we had not been so aggressive and duplicitous at the time of your book.
Thank you again for a masterful work.
Theodore Roosevelt was a multi-faceted person, like all of us. I don't condemn him for believing what he was taught, we are just human.
You are right that your question cannot be answered. But it's a great question!
Thank you for reading.
I am a Vietnam veteran.
I am in the middle of "The Imperial Cruise", and I am having the same emotions that "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" produced.
If we had spent as much time learning and understanding various cultures as we had on trying to make "little Americas" everywhere, we might have fewer graves to put flowers on Memorial Day.
Thanks for you work.
Dear Mr. Bradley:
Just finished reading THE IMPERIAL CRUISE which I found absolutely fascinating.
At age 18, I made my first WESTPAC cruise as a member of VA-52 aboard the carrier USS Ticonderoga (CVA-14). In 1960, WESTPAC cruises leaving from San Diego pretty much followed the route of Taft's 1905 cruise, with the exception of Shanghai.
When I made my second WESTPAC cruise in 1962, I had saved up enough leave time and money to spend a week in Honk Kong and another week in Manila. At the time, I had no idea of America's long and tortuous history in the Pacific, which would have given me a very different perspective.
In retrospect, I am amazed that my shipmates and I were accorded such an open and non-threatening reception, even at the monument in Hiroshima. Perhaps the folks we encountered did not know of America's history in their countries either, or had simply chosen to let bygones be bygoens while making a little money from our visits.
Even prior to reading your book, I had often thought that the U.S. should have let China and Japan sort out who would be the dominant power in Asia. Sadly, the U.S. was not content to contorl only Central and South America. We simply had to expand on Teddy Roosevelt's role of World Policeman, a role we continue to try and play even to this day.
Please accept my thanks on another terrific book (The Imperial Cruise). I have no doubt that individuals will appreciate this book on many different levels and for many different reasons.
In writing this book, how did you reconcile what must have been periods of outright anger at what you uncovered? As with many periods in our history, this story is very disturbing, but I think also very necessary to be told. I know a large part of the answer is that is why you wrote the book. But certainly there must have been points in the research where you were angry yourself trying to comprehend the "why" of the implications of the facts that you have uncovered?
If there is any additional insight that you want to share that would be great. I was so absorbed that it was one of those stories that I finished in one day. Very, very powerful book.
My sincere thanks. Do you plan to make any speaking or promotional appearances in the Pacific NW, and if so when?
You ask, "how did you reconcile periods of outright anger at what you uncovered?"
Curiously, I wasn't angry at Roosevelt, he was confident that he was right. I was, however, chagrined to realize that Roosevelt scholars have ignored these inconvenient facts.
Please check my website periodically and I'm sure I'll make it again to the Pacific NW!
I just finished reading The Imperial Cruise and I wanted to both thank and congratulate you for the excellence of your work.
My father and two of his brothers served in the US Navy in WWII and all of them saw action. I grew up listening to their stories of the war, but I never examined the historical roots of the conflict.
I was both enlightened and angered by what I read in your book, and I will certainly never look at Teddy Roosevelt the same again. What really struck me was the Nazi-esque rhetoric of the American imperialists, citing the destiny of the Aryan race to expand its territorial possessions while exterminating the "inferior races" in its path. I was always taught that Hitler's Germany was an aberration, yet it would seem that Hitler had a blueprint to go by. Thank you again, and I look forward to your future work.
I just finished reading The Imperial Cruise and it was quite an eye opener for me. I love history but like most have believed without question what I was taught. I knew racism has been a constant through out our history but never did I realize how it was used to trample the rights and lives of so many people. I will never think of Teddy R. the same.
I have never understood how America thought they had the right to exterminate the Native population but I now have an answer.
Thanks for your note.
I had the same experience. I never really understood, and now I do. Again, as I've written in other posts, this is not to condemn our ancestors, as many in other countries, cultures and religions also used their race theories to eliminate Others. The key question here is why you and I went through our educational system, but we're just now finding the truth.
I'm reminded of Joe Friday: "Just the fact, ma'am..." You've assembled a book based on facts - not just an isolated fact or two taken out of context, but the facts as continuously presented by the participants themselves. You then added the context to make the facts more understandable. Unfortunately for us readers, we are presented with a reality that is jarringly different from the glossy Hollywood poses of our great leaders that we were taught in school and that many of us have internalized as "true." This can be uncomfortable, but necessary. "Imperial Cruise" gives us a necessary look into the reality as the Asians experienced it - whether we like it or not, whether is jibes with our view of "reality" or not - and helps us to understand the history influencing current state of affairs in Asia vis-a-vis America. Thanks!
You're welcome and thanks for your kind note.
Kudos for your newest book. I knew T. Roosevelt's side deal with Japan as a footnote to history but I didn't have the full depth of details and historical context you brought out in The Imperial Cruise.
Reading your book, I realized that Hitler's Germany and Meiji/Tojo Japan did not invent industrialized concentration camps, ethnic humiliation, and racial extermination. They were mere participants in the racial imperialism that was a part of West's rise out of the Dark Ages. Americans were a full participant of racial imperialism from westward expansion to beyond.
As a non-white, reading your book was quite uncomfortable at times. But truth be told. Thank you.
Thanks for your note.
You write that as a non-white it was sometimes uncomfortable to read THE IMPERIAL CRUISE. Well, as a white, it was difficult to write it!
But to be clear, I am not singling out whites or Americans or anyone else as any different. There's a reason that they speak Spanish in Lima and English in Sydney and why the Ainu are up in Sapporo rather than Tokyo. This book is much more about the general human condition than many of us will admit. And I'm not pointing fingers as much as I am pointing out what we wish to forget.
Thanks again for reading.
Mr. James Bradley,
Have read all 3 of your books.Flags of our Fathers, Fly Boys & The Imperial Cruise.
I am let down by the character assination of
Keeping within the context of your magnum opus, Theodore Roosevelt,Taft and Mc Kinley were the gentry of their time. They discriminated against all that were not of their likeness,and made no secret of their
stand. Which shows that they were men of their time.The same as Washington, Adams and Jefferson.As each era passes, people who satisfy their urge, step to the front.
I am not condoning what TR did, but it is not so terribly different from others in succesive history.
I have the deepest feelings for our Veterans,
of all of our engagements. I stepped to the line for the Korean War.
Hi Mr. O'Morrissey--
Thanks for your service in Korea.
I think we agree more than disagree.
You suggest that I'm singling TR out, but if TR wrote or said something, he was couching it in terms that his public embraced, so yes, he was a man of his times, and that's how I tried to present him. I agree that how TR acted was not different from others and I didn't mean to suggest that he was out of step with his times.
I thought I wrote a book about how our great-grandparents thought and acted.
Thanks for your note.
I am a Navy veteran of World War II and author of forty history books and find "The Imperial Cruise" utterly fascinating on so many counts. As one who has written on the subject of race and particularly TR's promulgation and application of destructive racial theories to foreign and domestic affairs [primarily the Philippine invasion and occupation, 1898-1911] I feel you have made a major contribution in documenting how his distorted racial views impacted his foreign policies, and helped steer the U.S. into calamitous 20th century war. You also have accomplished this by constructing an elegantly-written narrative sure to attract and hold many readers not interested in history.
Thanks for your kind note and thanks for your service.
Dear Mr Bradley--
I have read two of your books and I am in the middle of Imperial Cruise. One cannot but compare the past and the present, and it is possible that little has change at the higher levels of government regarding modus operandi and explanations for actions taken. The same excuses for intervention are still there, and we will be nation-building in the middle east as we did in the Philippines. I am surprised that you have not drawn a paralel, even it is probably in your mind, with present events. I wish you well and appreciate very much your historical research.
Hello Dr. Kneler--
The connections to the present day were always there . . . sometimes I would read newspapers from 1905 and 2005 and realize that with very little editing, they were telling the same story! I leave it to the reader to have the same experience.
Thanks for reading.
I very much enjoyed The Imperial Cruise. While this focuses on historical events over 100 years ago, the same hubris and conceit as to "the supremacy of our Aryan values" were very evident in VietNam and are obvious in the Middle East today as well. The Big Stick philosophy is alive and well. Racism is no longer openly espoused as a rationale for military action but it is still a factor, no question. Arabs/Moslems equal Filipinos?
Very thought provoking book. I graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point, spent seven years in the army (one year in VietNam) and wonder what it's all about. I now spend half the year in Hawaii and still shake my head at the "hostile takeover" of these beautiful islands and beautiful people. Thanks for your insights.
Very interesting to hear a West Pointer's view!
Yes, the original title of Chapter One was "History Repeating," as I was in the Philippines one year after President Bush declared "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq and one hundred years after President Roosevelt declared the same about the Philippines.
Thanks for your service and for reading.
I haven't even finished The Imperial Cruise yet (Taft is still in the Philippines) but I'm taken with the enormous burden you must have felt in learning about and writing about the U.S.'s treachery in dealings with Asian countries. I'm a native U.S. citizen residing in Canada now but I can't get over how difficult it is to even read of what the U.S. did to others - all in the name of White Male Supremacy.
I admire you for taking on this onerous task - knowing that you will face much criticism and derision for printing the truth.
Kudos to you for having the courage to write this expose.
Long River, Canada
Thank you for the kudos.
I hope I won't face "criticism and derision for printing the truth." Facing facts is the American way and I am confident that most readers will appreciate knowing what really happened.
I am still engaged in reading your enlightening book, The Imperial Cruise, and I am astounded by what I am reading. In particular, chapter 4 makes me as a 20 year now retired veteran officer of the US Army, feel deeply saddened and embarressed by our actions in the Philippines. I served as a surgeon in the 80's thru the 90's proudly believing that as the United States of America, our intentions and actions were honorable. Now I am not so sure. While training in surgery at the now closed Letterman Army Medical Center on the Presidio of San Francisco, I had many Filipino patients associated with the military by serving or marrying an American serving. I fondly miss these relationships and encounters, because the Filipinos were tremendously grateful and appreciative of the medical care we administered to their family member. They were so thoughtful and thankful that they kept us busy residents going by bringing in large boxes (coat-box size) full of lumpia, a Filipino eggroll. What you have written now makes me feel even more humbled and ashamed of our history. I cannot comprehend what the U.S. did to these human beings that are obviously no different from you & I. Now I have a greater understanding of why we are fighting this war on terrorism. Thank you for educating us.
Louis Dinatti, MD, FACS
Like you, I also was shocked to learn how much hidden history remains about our past.
Thank you for reading and thanks for your service.
Dear Mr. Bradley,
After watching a few videos on your website (actually after watching Morning Joe and then the videos on your website), I felt compelled to write something here as a Korean... a Korean who learned the deal between America and Japan at school. But, it was a forgotten story...for a long time. Your research reminded me of the tumultuous and tragic Korean modern history in the early 1900s. Now, a very small number of Koreans (including my 96-year-old grandmother) vaguely remember what it was like to live without one's own country. For example, using Korean was banned and subject to grave punishments. All personal properties were seized by a local goverment and later used for war funding. Boys were dragged to the front line at war led by Japan. Girls were forced to provide their bodies to appease war solders at battle fields. Ironically, despite the secret treaty in 1905, America is a good country to many (South) Koreans. America's nuclear bombing on Hiroshima and Nakasaki saved Korea, and her involvement in Korean war saved the half of Korea. Because America has been a good country, I was completely oblivious of the secret deal between Japan and America, which gave Japan the power to take over the Korean peninsular and advance to the west. Thanks for your arduous research and story! I am looking forward to reading your book.
Thank you so much for the book. I knew that all of my relatives fought for the cause of greed and I am so sorry that we had to see our parents/ancestors suffer the consequences. I became a history teacher in 1959 and taught all of the "pacekts of historyy" of untruth. I am getting your book for my Grandchildren!!!!
Mary Ann Walters
Dear Ms. Walters,
First of all, thank you for teaching. My teachers did so much for me and I am sure there are many who appreciate your service.
I never thought about what it must be like to teach the "untruths" you mention and then realize something different later. I would be interested to know why you now believe you were given these untruths and if its possible to uproot them from the system?
Thank you for reading and for writing me.
Thanks for your response. While I realize that it isn't meant to be an exhaustive biography, the only things I see about Roosevelt's boyhood through his South Dakota period seem to be that most of it was made up, or that he was simply the son of a rich man really didn't accomplish much of anything other than learning how to play politics. I will still hang onto the TR of San Juan Hill, and of the River of Doubt, as someone who had much more than the average amount of courage and determination.
But I'll keep reading.
I agree with you about his positive aspects. As I state in the opening chapter, "Theodore Roosevelt stands as one of America’s most important presidents and an unusually intelligent and brave man."
All the best.
I loved your book, Flags of Our Fathers, and was also fascinated, if repelled by the tactics of the Japanese toward Americans as recounted in your book, Flyboys, and so I purchased your current book, The Imperial Cruise. Unfortunately, being an inveterate Theodore Roosevelt fan, I'm pretty dismayed by your portrayal of TR. I'm only part way through it, but from the start the book seems to be developing as a complete discrediting of, and a slap to the face of Theodore Roosevelt.
I find myself hoping to find something good about the president who was almost single-handedly responsible for such things as our National Parks, but I'm pretty apprehensive, given the (up to this point in your book) portrayal of TR as nothing more than a politically-calculating, heartless phony.
Could every other biographer have been wrong about the guy?
To: Anthony Ford
Hi Mr. Ford,
Thank you for reading my first two books.
If by writing that you are "an inveterate Theodore Roosevelt fan", you literally mean the dictionary's definition, "confirmed in a habit," then you might be surprised as I was by what you're reading in "The Imperial Cruise." I would go further and say that I was shocked by the hidden history that I found as I researched in Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, China and Korea. I found that history is not one-sided and that historical figures are multi-faceted.
The reason I didn't detail Theodore Roosevelt's many important contributions is because these have been covered before, and "The Imperial Cruise" is not meant to be a biography. My purpose was to search for the historical forces that swept my father from his mother's home in northern Wisconsin out to Camp Pendleton in California, out to the Big Island of Hawaii and finally onto the bloody sands of Iwo Jima.
The story in the book is what I found. You ask, "Could every other biographer have been wrong about the guy?" They could all be right and if you'll press on to the conclusion of my book and the forty pages of notes, I trust you'll judge that the historical record is more multi-faceted than we knew before.
Again, thank you for reading and thanks for your note.
Dear Mr. Bradley i am a 15 year old teen who is inspired by your book Flags of our Fathers. I am from another country and have been discriminated many times. Thank you for writing Flags of our Fathers it helps me connect to Ira Hayes, who was facing some similar hardships as me. Please note that you are a very huge inspiration to me.
Please keep in touch,
I have conducted a several years of research about my grandfather who passed away in 1972. I received his WWII diary a few years ago from my grandmother which started me on this path of discovery. He flew 29 missions over Japan as a B-29 aircraft commander off of Tinian Island, and landed on Iwo Jima on a few occassions in the process (which is partly how I ran across and read your book.) He was also the last pilot of the Enola Gay in 1953, when he flew it to Andrews Airbase to have it placed in the Smithsonian. His 6th Bomb Group has revealed many untold stories, that have been shared with me from many B-29 veterans. I believe it would be an outstanding book, and have thought of attempting this endeavor myself, but I've never written a book before and my thoughts were initially very similar to the way you wrote Flags of Our Fathers. The only surviving member of my grandfathers 11 man crew is now his 83 year old tailgunner. I told him when we first met a few years ago, I was going to attempt to tell their story, but I have truly bitten more than I can chew. I feel obligated to find someone that can tell this bit of history on behalf of the B-29 crew members who have this untold bit of history. I would like to discuss this with you and if you have any interested in writing a book about "Jakes Jernt, Lost in the Atomic Cloud, A B-29 Crews Story".
Please let me know either way, I would love to be able to tell my grandfather's tailgunner there is someone working on or at least looking at their story!
Hello James Bradley,
I have recently begun reading your books and have always been deeply interested in Japanese and Asian cultures specifically. It is also very interesting, but painful to read about real war events. You helped me consider and ignite my journey to study abroad in Japan with YFU in 2010. Maybe someday I will have an opportunity to travel the world as well.
Student exchanges should be an option and available to as many students as possible; even in the most rural places in America. The more multi-cultural development people experience, the closer our world connects and understands, whether different or alike. Maybe in the future these students will prevent fights and encourage talks, if they have not already.
I have many questions, currently one comes to mind while writing this comment. Looking back, do you feel like you have accomplished enough? Of course in this situation, there is never enough; but did you accomplish the goals that you set a long time ago? Would you have done anything differently? What was your life plan after your college exchange in Tokyo? Thank you!