What We Are Reading Today: The Crowded Hour by Clay Risen

Updated 07 June 2019
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What We Are Reading Today: The Crowded Hour by Clay Risen

  • The story of the most famous regiment in American history

This is the dramatic story of the most famous regiment in American history: The Rough Riders, a motley group of soldiers led by Theodore Roosevelt, whose daring exploits marked the beginning of American imperialism in the 20th century. 

The Crowded Hour “is not a biography of Theodore Roosevelt nor is it a full description of the Spanish-American War or even the liberation of Cuba from Spanish control,” said a review in goodreads.com.  

“It is, however, an in-depth portrayal of Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and their trials getting to, fighting in, and return from the Cuban conflict. There were many failures on the part of the national government and the army hierarchy that were tragic and unnecessary,” it added.

The Crowded Hour “dives deep into the daily lives and struggles of Roosevelt and his regiment. Using diaries, letters, and memoirs, Clay Risen illuminates a disproportionately influential moment in American history: A war of only six months’ time that dramatically altered the US standing in the world,” said the review.


What We Are Reading Today: Sorting Out the Mixed Economy by Amy C. Offner

Updated 19 September 2019

What We Are Reading Today: Sorting Out the Mixed Economy by Amy C. Offner

In the years after 1945, a flood of US advisors swept into Latin America with dreams of building a new economic order and lifting the Third World out of poverty. 

These businessmen, economists, community workers, and architects went south with the gospel of the New Deal on their lips, but Latin American realities soon revealed unexpected possibilities within the New Deal itself, says a review on the Princeton University Press website.

 In Colombia, Latin Americans and US advisors ended up decentralizing the state, privatizing public functions, and launching austere social welfare programs. By the 1960s, they had remade the country’s housing projects, river valleys, and universities. 

They had also generated new lessons for the US itself. When the Johnson administration launched the War on Poverty, US social movements, business associations, and government agencies all promised to repatriate the lessons of development, and they did so by multiplying the uses of austerity and for-profit contracting within their own welfare state.