Sunday, September 12, 2010

Review: The War Lovers by Evan Thomas

I want to thank my husband Greg for writing this book review on the audiobook version of The War Lovers by Evan Thomas.

Having been raised to believe that America did not start wars, but rather entered wars only when freedom was threatened, I found "The War Lovers" challenging that notion. There are definite gaps in my knowledge of history and the Spanish American war has been one of them. Until now at least. Evan Thomas's well researched book on the US war against Spain to free the Cuban rebels from colonial rule could stand alone as a history lesson. However, we also see the motivations behind the key players at the time, such as Theodore Roosevelt's self acknowledged blood lust stemming from a desire to assert his manhood and William Randolf Hearst's desire to promote his newspaper enterprises as in "You furnish the war, I'll furnish the pictures". Thomas draws some insightful parallels between the war with Cuba and the modern day war with Iraq. The circumstances around the sinking of the battleship Maine and becoming the pretext for war are shaky at best. Credible analysis at the time indicated that the ship sunk on its own accord, due to a flaw in its design which placed the boiler furnace next to the munitions supply. That analysis was conveniently ignored in favor of holding the Spaniards accountable and rushing headlong into war.

At the time, Roosevelt believed that war was good for the country and that an overly civilized people could benefit by unleashing man's inner raging wolf that lay repressed. He believed that so strongly that the aspiring politician took the ultimate risk and went to the battlefront himself as commander of his Rough Riders. He takes pride in his wounds and derives his ultimate satisfaction in directly killing an enemy soldier. If you believe that America's reasons for fighting this war were out of an altruistic desire to free the rebels, then "The War Lovers" provides an eye opening and balanced counterpoint.

Listen to an excerpt of The War Lovers, HERE.

View a video of The War Lovers, HERE

Disclosure: Thanks to Hachette Books for providing a copy of this audiobook for review. I am an Amazon and Indiebound associate.


  1. I've heard that war is good for the economy so I'm not surprised that Roosevelt thought it was good for the country. I can't imagine thinking it's good for anything.

  2. Thanks Greg for an insightful review and I think my husband may like this one. He's very intrigued by our history and how much we really don't know.

  3. This does sound interesting. Thanks for the review. I think it just might have to be a present for my dad--who will, of course, pass it on to me!

  4. I've got an audio book list going for my hubby and this is going on it.

  5. Thanks everyone for your comments.

    Maybe in some ways WWII helped spur production and create jobs in order to help take us out of the depression back then, but these days it seems to me that the debt created by financing a war helps to put us in a depression.

    I have to add that I'm repulsed by the notion of that as motivation for war as it distills down to murdering others for financial gain.


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