Jackson Lears is Board of Governors Distinguished Professor of History at Rutgers and Editor in Chief of Raritan. He is the author of Rebirth of a Nation: The Making of Modern America, 1877–1920, among other books.
 (December 2017)

IN THE REVIEW

Rome on the Hudson

Illustration by Harry M. Pettit from Moses King’s guidebook Views of New York, 1908

Greater Gotham: A History of New York City from 1898 to 1919

by Mike Wallace
The apparently hedonistic culture that emerged before World War I was a muddle of flagrant gestures toward personal liberation and subtle new forms of social coercion. Early-twentieth-century American society was on the verge of a reshuffling of values and power relations in which the rich would come out just fine. And New York City was where that new synthesis would be worked out, in all its messy and contradictory details.

How the US Began Its Empire

‘The Great Naval Battle Off Cavite (Manila Bay),’ in which the US squadron led by Commodore George Dewey defeated the Spanish fleet in the first major engagement of the Spanish-American War, May 1, 1898

The True Flag: Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Twain, and the Birth of American Empire

by Stephen Kinzer
For decades, anti-imperial thought has been largely absent from public discourse. So has the word “imperialism.” The chief substitute for it has been “internationalism.” The rhetorical shift from imperialism to internationalism suggests a sanitizing process at work during the twentieth century, as the United States moved away from a formal empire based on the occupation of foreign territory to an informal empire based on proxy governments backed by occasional US invasions.