Book Review: Theodore Roosevelt's Naval Diplomacy: The U.S. Navy and the Birth of the American Century


by Henry J. Hendrix

Annapolis: Naval Institute Press, 2009. Pp. xvii, 230. Illus., notes, biblio, index. $34.95. ISBN: 1591143632

A look at how Theodore Roosevelt helped shape the development of the U.S. Navy and how he used it as his "Big Stick" to back up his "soft speaking" during several important, if now largely forgotten, diplomatic confrontations with major European powers. 

A commander in the U.S. Navy, Hendrix uncovered new documentation for several diplomatic events of Roosevelt 's presidency, particularly the confrontation with Britain and Germany over their efforts to intervene in Venezuela , which led to the development of the "Roosevelt Corollary" to the Monroe Doctrine, and the Panamanian Crisis of 1903.  This not only helps shed new light on Roosevelt 's understanding of the use of armed force, and, more importantly, on his vision of America 's role in the world, but also on the ways in which several European powers, notably Britain and Germany , perceived the new actor on the world stage.

Although there are some small issues with which one might quibble (e.g., Hendrix overlooks the imbalanced development of the "Rooseveltian" fleet, with its many battleships but little else), the book will be of interest to students of naval and diplomatic history.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

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