Stephen Kinzer’s The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire is both timely and important as we face significant foreign policy challenges. Few Americans are familiar with this history and/or the strain of American thought that led to the “Birth of American Empire.” Jackson Lear’s review of this book is an excellent overview of this book, and makes a great case for its significance.
“Kinzer concludes by returning to the republican tradition: “Nations lose their virtue when they repeatedly attack other nations,” he writes.
That loss, as Washington predicted, has cost the United States its felicity. We can regain it only by understanding our own national interests more clearly. It is late for the United States to change its course in the world—but not too late.
The recovery of civic virtue and the clarification of national interest are urgently necessary goals, and the only way we can hope to achieve them is by reviving the debate over American empire.”