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  1. 14.4 hrs • 9/20/2016 • Unabridged

    The year is 1997, Michael Soussan, a fresh-faced young graduate takes up a new job at the UN’s Oil-for-Food Program, the largest humanitarian operation in the organization’s history. His mission is to help Iraqi civilians survive the devastating impact of economic sanctions that were imposed following the 1990 invasion of Kuwait. As a gaffe-prone novice in a world of sensitive taboos, Soussan struggles to negotiate the increasing paranoia of his incomprehensible boss and the inner workings of one of the world’s notoriously complex bureaucracies. But as he learns more about the vast sums of money flowing through the program, it becomes clear that all is not what it seems. Soussan becomes aware that Saddam Hussein is extracting illegal kickbacks, a discovery that sets him on a collision course with the organizations leadership. On March 8, 2004, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Soussan becomes the first insider to call for an independent investigation of the UN’s dealings with Saddam Hussein. One week later, a humiliated Kofi Annan appointed Paul Volcker to lead a team of sixty international investigators, whose findings resulted in hundreds of prosecutions in multiple countries, many of which are still ongoing. Backstabbing for Beginners is at once a witty tale of one man s political coming of age, and a stinging indictment of the hypocrisy that prevailed at the heart of one of the world’s most idealistic institutions.

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    Backstabbing for Beginners

    14.4 hrs • 9/20/16 • Unabridged
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  2. 8/30/2016 • Unabridged

    For readers of Lawrence Wright’s The Looming Tower and Steve Coll’s Ghost Wars comes an unprecedented exploration of the decades-long hostilities between the United States and Iran, a power struggle that led to a historic nuclear deal. Through economic sanctions, global diplomacy, and intelligence work, successive U.S. administrations have struggled to contain what many view as the Middle East’s most alarming foreign policy threat. Meanwhile, Iran has used the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and their own formidable intelligence networks and proxies to undermine America’s foothold in the region. From Jay Solomon, chief foreign affairs correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, this is the deeply reported, riveting account of a war waged on many levels—military, financial, covert. Most don’t even realize it is being fought, let alone its depth and far-reaching implications.

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    The Third War

    8/30/16 • Unabridged
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  3. 15.5 hrs • 6/7/2016 • Unabridged

    From the former assistant secretary of state Kurt Campbell: the definitive analysis and explanation of the major shift—the Pivot—in American foreign policy, its interests and assets, to Asia. There is a quiet drama playing out in American foreign policy, far from the dark contours of upheaval in the Middle East and South Asia and the hovering drone attacks of the war on terror. The United States is in the midst of a substantial and long-term national project, which is proceeding in fits and starts, to reorient its foreign policy to the East. The central tenet of this policy shift, aka the Pivot, is that the United States will need to do more with and in the Asia-Pacific hemisphere to help revitalize its own economy, to realize the full potential of the region’s dramatic innovation, and to keep the peace in the world’s most dynamic region where the lions’ share of the history of the twenty-first century will be written. This book is about a necessary course correction for American diplomacy, commercial engagement, and military innovation during a time of unrelenting and largely unrewarding conflict. While the United States has intensified its focus on the Asia-Pacific relative to previous administrations, much more remains to be done. The Pivot is about that future. It explores how the United States should construct a strategy that will position it to maneuver across the East and offers a clarion call for cunning, dexterity, and ingenuity in the period ahead for American statecraft in the Asia-Pacific region.

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    The Pivot

    15.5 hrs • 6/7/16 • Unabridged
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  4. 10.5 hrs • 5/5/2015 • Unabridged

    After Germany’s defeat in World War II, Europe lay in tatters. Millions of refugees were dispersed across the continent. Food and fuel were scarce. Britain was bankrupt, while Germany had been reduced to rubble. In July of 1945, Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin gathered in a quiet suburb of Berlin to negotiate a lasting peace—a peace that would finally put an end to the conflagration that had started in 1914, a peace under which Europe could be rebuilt. Award-winning historian Michael Neiberg brings the turbulent Potsdam conference to life, vividly capturing the delegates’ personalities: Truman, trying to escape from the shadow of Franklin Roosevelt, who had died only months before; Churchill, bombastic and seemingly out of touch; Stalin, cunning and meticulous. For the first week, negotiations progressed relatively smoothly. But when the delegates took a recess for the British elections, Churchill was replaced—both as prime minster and as Britain’s representative at the conference—in an unforeseen upset by Clement Attlee, a man Churchill disparagingly described as “a sheep in sheep’s clothing.” When the conference reconvened, the power dynamic had shifted dramatically, and the delegates struggled to find a new balance. Stalin took advantage of his strong position to demand control of Eastern Europe as recompense for the suffering experienced by the Soviet people and armies. The final resolutions of the Potsdam Conference, notably the division of Germany and the Soviet annexation of Poland, reflected the uneasy geopolitical equilibrium between East and West that would come to dominate the twentieth century. As Neiberg expertly shows, the delegates arrived at Potsdam determined to learn from the mistakes their predecessors made in the Treaty of Versailles. But, riven by tensions and dramatic debates over how to end the most recent war, they only dimly understood that their discussions of peace were giving birth to a new global conflict.

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    Potsdam by Michael Neiberg

    Potsdam

    10.5 hrs • 5/5/15 • Unabridged
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  5. 9.5 hrs • 4/1/2015 • Unabridged

    One of the US government’s leading China experts reveals the hidden strategy fueling that country’s rise—and how Americans have been seduced into helping China overtake us as the world’s leading superpower. For more than forty years, the United States has played an indispensable role helping the Chinese government build a booming economy, develop its scientific and military capabilities, and take its place on the world stage, in the belief that China’s rise will bring us cooperation, diplomacy, and free trade. But what if the “China Dream” is to replace us, just as America replaced the British Empire, without firing a shot? Based on interviews with Chinese defectors and newly declassified, previously undisclosed national security documents, The Hundred-Year Marathon reveals China’s secret strategy to supplant the United States as the world’s dominant power, and to do so by 2049, the one-hundredth anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic. Michael Pillsbury, a fluent Mandarin speaker who has served in senior national security positions in the US government since the days of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, draws on his decades of contact with the “hawks” in China’s military and intelligence agencies and translates their documents, speeches, and books to show how the teachings of traditional Chinese statecraft underpin their actions. He offers an inside look at how the Chinese really view America and its leaders—as barbarians who will be the architects of their own demise. Pillsbury also explains how the US government has helped—sometimes unwittingly and sometimes deliberately—to make this “China Dream” come true, and he calls for the United States to implement a new, more competitive strategy toward China as it really is and not as we might wish it to be. The Hundred-Year Marathon is a wake-up call as we face the greatest national security challenge of the twenty-first century.

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    The Hundred-Year Marathon by Michael Pillsbury

    The Hundred-Year Marathon

    9.5 hrs • 4/1/15 • Unabridged
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  6. 18.8 hrs • 1/20/2015 • Unabridged

    Since 1959, conflict and aggression have dominated the story of United States-Cuban relations. From John F. Kennedy’s offering of an olive branch to Fidel Castro after the missile crisis to Henry Kissinger’s top-secret quest for normalization to Barack Obama’s promise of a “new approach,” William M. LeoGrande and Peter Kornbluh reveal a fifty-year record of dialogue and negotiations, both open and furtive, indicating a path toward better relations in the future. LeoGrande and Kornbluh have uncovered hundreds of formerly secret United States documents and conducted interviews with dozens of negotiators, intermediaries, and policy makers. The authors describe how, despite the political clamor surrounding any hint of better relations with Havana, serious negotiations have been conducted by every presidential administration since Eisenhower’s through secret, back-channel diplomacy.

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    Back Channel to Cuba

    18.8 hrs • 1/20/15 • Unabridged
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  7. 0 reviews 0 5 5 5 out of 5 stars 5/5
    9.1 hrs • 11/18/2014 • Unabridged

    In a brilliant book that will elevate foreign policy in the national conversation, Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist Bret Stephens makes a powerful case for American intervention abroad. In December 2011 the last American soldier left Iraq. “We’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq,” boasted President Obama. He was proved devastatingly wrong less than three years later as jihadists seized the Iraqi city of Mosul. The event cast another dark shadow over the future of global order—a shadow which we ignore at our peril. America in Retreat identifies a profound crisis on the global horizon. As Americans seek to withdraw from the world to tend to domestic problems, America’s adversaries spy opportunity. Vladimir Putin’s ambitions to restore the glory of the czarist empire go effectively unchecked, as do China’s attempts to expand its maritime claims in the South China Sea and Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear capabilities. Civil war in Syria displaces millions throughout the Middle East while turbocharging the forces of radical Islam. Long-standing allies such as Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, doubting the credibility of American security guarantees, are tempted to freelance their foreign policy irrespective of United States interests. Deploying his characteristic, stylistic flair and intellectual prowess, Stephens argues for American reengagement abroad. He explains how military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan was the right course of action, but it was foolishly executed. He traces the intellectual continuity between anti-interventionist statesmen such as Henry Wallace and Robert Taft in the late 1940s and Barack Obama and Rand Paul today. He also makes an unapologetic case for Pax Americana, “a world in which English is the default language of business, diplomacy, tourism, and technology; in which markets are global, capital is mobile, and trade is increasingly free; in which values of openness and tolerance are, when not the norm, often the aspiration.” In a terrifying chapter imagining the world of 2019, Stephens shows what could lie in store if Americans continue along their current course. Yet we are not doomed to this future. Stephens makes a passionate rejoinder to those who argue that America is in decline, a process that is often beyond the reach of political cures. Instead, we are in retreat—the result of faulty (but reversible) policy choices. By embracing its historic responsibility as the world’s policeman, America can safeguard not only greater peace in the world but also greater prosperity at home. At once lively and sobering, America in Retreat offers trenchant analysis of the gravest threat to global order.

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    America in Retreat by Bret Stephens

    America in Retreat

    9.1 hrs • 11/18/14 • Unabridged
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  8. 5.3 hrs • 4/15/2014 • Unabridged

    A friend once said of Churchill: “He is a man of simple tastes; he is quite easily satisfied with the best of everything.” But dinners for Churchill were about more than good food, excellent champagnes, and Havana cigars. “Everything” included the opportunity to use the dinner table both as a stage on which to display his brilliant conversational talents, and an intimate setting in which to glean gossip and diplomatic insights and to argue for the many policies he espoused over a long life. In this riveting, informative, and entertaining book, Stelzer draws on previously untapped material, diaries of guests, and a wide variety of other sources to tell of some of the key dinners at which Churchill presided before, during, and after World War II.

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    Dinner with Churchill by Cita Stelzer

    Dinner with Churchill

    5.3 hrs • 4/15/14 • Unabridged
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  9. 14.4 hrs • 11/5/2013 • Unabridged

    A character-driven history that describes the bizarrely ill-suited alliance between America and Pakistan, written by a uniquely insightful participant: Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US The relationship between America and Pakistan is based on mutual incomprehension, and always has been. Pakistan—to American eyes—has gone from being a stabilizing friend to an essential military ally to a seedbed of terror. America—to Pakistani eyes—has been a guarantee of security, a coldly distant scold, an enthusiastic military supplier and ally, and now a threat to national security and a source of humiliation. In their sixty-five year relationship, one country has become a global superpower, the other perilously close to a failed state—perhaps one of the most dangerous places in the world. Husain Haqqani has a unique insight into Pakistan, his homeland, and America, where he was the Pakistani ambassador and is now a professor at Boston University. His life has mapped the relationship of Pakistan and America, and he has found himself often close to the heart of it—sometimes in very confrontational circumstances, even under house arrest—which has allowed him to write the story of the two countries’ turbulent affair, here memorably laid bare.

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    Magnificent Delusions by Husain Haqqani

    Magnificent Delusions

    14.4 hrs • 11/5/13 • Unabridged
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  10. 1 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 (1)
    23.8 hrs • 8/6/2013 • Unabridged

    A thrilling and revelatory narrative of one of the most epic and consequential periods in twentieth century history—the Arab Revolt and the secret game to control the Middle East The Arab revolt against the Turks in World War I was, in the words of T. E. Lawrence, “a sideshow of a sideshow.” As a result, the conflict was shaped to a remarkable degree by a small handful of adventurers and low-level officers far removed from the corridors of power. Curt Prüfer was an academic attached to the German embassy in Cairo whose clandestine role was to foment jihad against British rule. Aaron Aaronsohn was a renowned agronomist and committed Zionist who gained the trust of the Ottoman governor of Palestine even as he built an elaborate anti-Ottoman spy ring. William Yale was a fallen scion of the American aristocracy who traveled the Ottoman Empire on behalf of Standard Oil, dissembling to the Turks in order to gain valuable oil concessions. At the center of it all was Lawrence. In early 1914 he was an archaeologist digging ruins in Syria; by 1917 he was riding into legend at the head of an Arab army, as he fought a rearguard action against his own government and its imperial ambitions. Based on four years of intensive primary document research, Lawrence in Arabia definitively overturns received wisdom on how the modern Middle East was formed. Sweeping in its action, keen in its portraiture, acid in its condemnation of the destruction wrought by European colonial plots, this is a book that brilliantly captures the way in which the folly of the past creates the anguish of the present.

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    Lawrence in Arabia by Scott Anderson

    Lawrence in Arabia

    23.8 hrs • 8/6/13 • Unabridged
    1 reviews 0 5 4.5 4 out of 5 stars 4.5/5 (1)
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  11. 14.9 hrs • 7/3/2013 • Unabridged

    In the dark days between Hitler’s invasion of Poland in September 1939 and Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Franklin D. Roosevelt sent five remarkable men on dramatic and dangerous missions to Europe. The missions were highly unorthodox and they confounded and infuriated diplomats on both sides of the Atlantic. Their importance is little understood to this day. In fact, they were crucial to the course of the Second World War. The envoys were magnificent, unforgettable characters. First off the mark was Sumner Welles, the chilly, patrician under secretary of state, later ruined by his sexual misdemeanors, who was dispatched by FDR on a tour of European capitals in the spring of 1940. In summer of that year, after the fall of France, William “Wild Bill” Donovan, war hero and future spymaster, visited a lonely United Kingdom at the president’s behest to determine whether she could hold out against the Nazis. Donovan’s report helped convince FDR that Britain was worth backing. After he won an unprecedented third term in November 1940, Roosevelt threw a lifeline to the United Kingdom in the form of Lend-Lease and dispatched three men to help secure it. Harry Hopkins, the frail social worker and presidential confidant, was sent to explain Lend-Lease to Winston Churchill. Averell Harriman, a handsome, ambitious railroad heir, served as FDR’s man in London, expediting Lend-Lease aid and romancing Churchill’s daughter-in-law. Roosevelt even put to work his rumpled, charismatic opponent in the 1940 presidential election, Wendell Willkie, whose visit lifted British morale and won wary Americans over to the cause. Finally, in the aftermath of Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union, Hopkins returned to London to confer with Churchill and traveled to Moscow to meet with Joseph Stalin. This final mission gave Roosevelt the confidence to bet on the Soviet Union. The envoys’ missions took them into the middle of the war and exposed them to the leading figures of the age. Taken together, they plot the arc of America’s transformation from a divided and hesitant middle power into the global leader. At the center of everything, of course, was FDR himself, who moved his envoys around the globe with skill and élan. We often think of Harry S. Truman, George Marshall, Dean Acheson, and George F. Kennan as the authors of America’s global primacy in the second half of the twentieth century. But all their achievements were enabled by the earlier work of Roosevelt and his representatives, who took the United States into the war and, by defeating domestic isolationists and foreign enemies, into the world. In these two years, America turned. FDR and his envoys were responsible for the turn. Drawing on vast archival research, Rendezvous with Destiny is narrative history at its most delightful, stirring, and important.

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    Rendezvous with Destiny

    14.9 hrs • 7/3/13 • Unabridged
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  12. 5.9 hrs • 5/21/2013 • Unabridged

    A bold and thought-provoking look at the future of US-China relations, and how their coming power struggle will reshape the competitive playing field for nations around the world. The Cold War seemingly ended in a decisive victory for the West. But now, Noah Feldman argues, we are entering an era of renewed global struggle: the era of Cool War. Just as the Cold War matched the planet’s reigning superpowers in a contest for geopolitical supremacy, so this new age will pit the United States against a rising China in a contest for dominance, alliances, and resources. Already visible in Asia, the conflict will extend to the Middle East (US-backed Israel versus Chinese-backed Iran), Africa, and beyond. Yet this Cool War differs fundamentally from the zero-sum showdowns of the past: The world’s major power and its leading challenger are economically interdependent to an unprecedented degree. Exports to the US account for nearly a quarter of Chinese trade, while the Chinese government holds eight percent of America’s outstanding debt. This positive-sum interdependence has profound implications for nations, corporations, and international institutions. It makes what looked to be a classic contest between two great powers into something much more complex, contradictory, and badly in need of the shrewd and carefully reasoned analysis that Feldman provides. To understand the looming competition with China, we must understand the incentives that drive Chinese policy. Feldman offers an arresting take on that country’s secretive hierarchy, proposing that the hereditary “princelings” who reap the benefits of the complicated Chinese political system are actually in partnership with the meritocrats who keep the system full of fresh talent and the reformers who are trying to root out corruption and foster government accountability. He provides a clear-eyed analysis of the years ahead, showing how China’s rise presents opportunities as well as risks. Robust competition could make the US leaner, smarter, and more pragmatic, and could drive China to greater respect for human rights. Alternatively, disputes over trade, territory, or human rights could jeopardize the global economic equilibrium, or provoke a catastrophic “hot war” neither country wants. The US and China may be divided by political culture and belief, but they are also bound together by mutual self-interest. Cool War makes the case for competitive cooperation as the only way forward that can preserve the peace and make winners out of both sides.

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    Cool War

    5.9 hrs • 5/21/13 • Unabridged
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  13. 15.2 hrs • 3/29/2013 • Unabridged

    In November 2008, Hillary Clinton agreed to work for her former rival. As President Barack Obama’s secretary of state, she set out to repair America’s image around the world—and her own. For the following four years, BBC foreign correspondent Kim Ghattas had unparalleled access to Clinton and her entourage, and she weaves a fast-paced, gripping account of life on the road with Clinton in The Secretary. With the perspective of one who is both an insider and an outsider, Ghattas draws on extensive interviews with Clinton, administration officials, and players in Washington as well as overseas, to paint an intimate and candid portrait of one of the most powerful global politicians. Filled with fresh insights, The Secretary provides a captivating analysis of Clinton’s brand of diplomacy and the Obama administration’s efforts to redefine American power in the twenty-first century. Populated with a cast of real-life characters, The Secretary tells the story of Clinton’s transformation from popular but polarizing politician to America’s envoy to the world in compelling detail and with all the tension of high stakes diplomacy. From her evolving relationship with President Obama to the drama of WikiLeaks and the turmoil of the Arab Spring, we see Clinton cheerfully boarding her plane at 3 a.m. after no sleep, reading the riot act to the Chinese, and going through her diplomatic checklist before signing on to war in Libya—all the while trying to restore American leadership in a rapidly changing world. Viewed through Ghattas’s vantage point as a half-Dutch, half-Lebanese citizen who grew up in the crossfire of the Lebanese civil war, The Secretary is also the author’s own journey as she seeks to answer the questions that haunted her childhood. How powerful is America really? And, if it is in decline, who or what will replace it and what will it mean for America and the world?

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    The Secretary

    15.2 hrs • 3/29/13 • Unabridged
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  14. 24.4 hrs • 1/22/2013 • Unabridged

    A national bestseller on its original publication in 2003, Madam Secretary is a riveting account of the life of America’s first woman Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright. For eight years, during Bill Clinton’s two presidential terms, Albright was a high-level participant in some of the most dramatic events of our time—from the pursuit of peace in the Middle East to NATO’s intervention in the Balkans to America’s troubled relations with Iran and Iraq. In this thoughtful memoir, one of the most admired women in US history reflects on her remarkable personal story, including her upbringing in war-torn Europe and the balancing of career and family responsibilities, as well as on America’s leading role in a changing world. With a new epilogue by the author, Madam Secretary offers an inimitable blend of Albright’s warm humor, probing insights, and distinctive ideas.

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    Madam Secretary

    24.4 hrs • 1/22/13 • Unabridged
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  15. 15.2 hrs • 11/1/2012 • Unabridged

    While most historians of the Vietnam War focus on the origins of US involvement and the Americanization of the conflict, Lien-Hang T. Nguyen examines the international context in which North Vietnamese leaders pursued the war and American intervention ended. This riveting narrative takes the listener from the marshy Mekong Delta swamps to the bomb-saturated Red River Delta, from the corridors of power in Hanoi and Saigon to the Nixon White House, and from the peace negotiations in Paris to high-level meetings in Beijing and Moscow, all to reveal that peace never had a chance in Vietnam. Hanoi’s War renders transparent the internal workings of America’s most elusive enemy during the Cold War and shows that the war fought during the peace negotiations was bloodier and much more far-reaching than thought before. Using never-before-seen archival materials from the Vietnam Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as materials from other archives around the world, Nguyen explores the politics of warmaking and peacemaking not only from the North Vietnamese perspective but also from that of South Vietnam, the Soviet Union, China, and the United States, presenting a uniquely international portrait.

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    Hanoi’s War by Lien-Hang T. Nguyen

    Hanoi’s War

    15.2 hrs • 11/1/12 • Unabridged
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  16. 9.1 hrs • 7/15/2012 • Unabridged

    In 1905 President Teddy Roosevelt dispatched Secretary of War William Howard Taft on the largest US diplomatic mission in history to Hawaii, Japan, the Philippines, China, and Korea. Roosevelt’s glamorous twenty-one year old daughter Alice served as mistress of the cruise, which included senators and congressmen. On this trip, Taft concluded secret agreements in Roosevelt’s name. In 2005, a century later, James Bradley traveled in the wake of Roosevelt’s mission and discovered what had transpired in Honolulu, Tokyo, Manila, Beijing, and Seoul. In 1905, Roosevelt was confident and made secret agreements that he would secure America’s westward push into the Pacific. Instead, he lit the long fuse on the Asian firecrackers that would singe America’s hands for a century.

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    The Imperial Cruise

    9.1 hrs • 7/15/12 • Unabridged
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