The Rough Riders' charge up San Juan Hill on July 1,1898 was the most famous moment of the Spanish-American War, a conflict that has come down in history as "a splendid little war." It was the event that thrust Colonel Theodore Roosevelt - who had resigned his position as secretary of the Navy to form the regiment - into the national spotlight, from which he was never to stray. It also cemented the legend of the Rough Riders, the eclectic group of Western deadshots, Ivy League athletes, and Manhattan dudes that had volunteered to help Roosevelt "drive the Spaniard from the New World.".
The Rough Riders is an expanded, illustrated version of Roosevelt's classic account of his military exploits in the jungles of Cuba. Whether sketching the backgrounds of recruits like Bucky O'Neill and Hamilton Fish, or describing such diverse horrors as Spanish snipers, malaria, and giant land crabs, the author's prose is simple, straightforward, and primly realistic, making his words as fascinating to read today as when they were first published nearly one hundred years ago.
The original text is supplemented by a lengthy prologue describing Roosevelt's life and times. Also included are sidebars dealing with various aspects of America's first imperial war: the mysterious explosion of the battleship Maine; the irresponsible reportage of the country's "yellow journalists"; the contributions of the "Smoked Yankees," black soldiers who fought and died alongside the Rough Riders for a nation still ruled by Jim Crow; and a newly discovered Rough Rider diary, published here for the first time. This additional material, written and edited by biographer Richard Bak, helps put Roosevelt, the Rough Riders, and the era of American history they galloped through in perspective. Combined with 160 illustrations, including several previously unpublished photographs, the Taylor edition of The Rough Riders is a necessary addition to the bookshelf of any reader who thrills to the pageantry of America's past.