1998 marks the centennial year of the Spanish-American War and its most memorable fighting force, the volunteer cavalry regiment called the Rough Riders, led by the redoubtable Colonel Theodore Roosevelt. The Boys of '98 is the complete, colorful story of this memorable regiment: the recruitment of its members - a peculiar mixture of western ...
1998 marks the centennial year of the Spanish-American War and its most memorable fighting force, the volunteer cavalry regiment called the Rough Riders, led by the redoubtable Colonel Theodore Roosevelt. The Boys of '98 is the complete, colorful story of this memorable regiment: the recruitment of its members - a peculiar mixture of western frontiersmen and idealistic young easterners; their slapdash training in Texas and Florida; and their battles at Las Guasimas, Kettle Hill, and San Juan Hill. Theodore Roosevelt led his Rough Riders from San Antonio to San Juan Hill and kept riding, some say, directly into the White House. Dale Walker's spirited story of the regiment includes an account of why America went to war over Cuba, and how victory in the Santiago Campaign was achieved against the odds. The author's interviews with the last three surviving Rough Riders (the last of whom died in 1975) are a unique research source for this book.
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Publishers Weekly, 1998-04-13 Officially known as the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, the Rough Riders are synonymous with the Spanish-American War. Their flamboyant colonel, Theodore Roosevelt, was larger than life and generated substantial publicity for his men. Walker (Legends and Lies: Great Mysteries of the American West) has written a lucid account of the history of this volunteer cavalry regiment. He sets the stage by chronicling the troubled history of Cuba and its Spanish rulers, and of U.S. involvement in the island's affairs. After the destruction of the U.S. battleship Maine in February 1898, war was inevitable, given America's outrage over the affair. Roosevelt left his post in the Navy Department and, with Leonard Wood, put together a unique assemblage of men to form the only volunteer cavalry to see action in the subsequent brief war. The regiment's soldiers came from all walks of lifeŠcowboys, ranchers, men from Harvard and Yale, athletes, soldiers of fortune, policemen and many more. The regiment fought in the skirmish at Las Guasimas and took a much-publicized role in the successful assault on San Juan Heights. Battle casualties totaled over a hundred men. Using a combination of memoirs and secondary studies, Walker has produced a human-oriented picture of the regiment, its camp life, battles and struggle with disease in Cuba's tropical climate. Thumbnail biographical sketches provide useful information about the key players in the drama (which incorporates information that Walker garnered nearly 30 years ago while interviewing the then last three surviving Rough Riders). For those interested in the stirring events of a hundred years ago, his study is sure to please. (May)
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