The U.S. Navy's first two-ocean war was the Spanish-American War of 1898. A war that was global in scope, with the decisive naval battles of war at Manila Bay and Santiago de Cuba separated by two months and over ten thousand miles. During these battles in this quick, modern war, America's "New Steel Navy" came of age. While the American commanders sailed to war with a technologically advanced fleet, it was the lessons they had learned from Adm. David Farragut in the Civil War that prepared them for victory over the Spaniards.
This history of the U.S. Navy's operations in the war provides some memorable portraits of the colorful officers who decided the outcome of these battles: "Shang" Dewey in the Philippines and "Fighting Bob" Evans off southern Cuba; Jack Philip conning the Texas and constructor Hobson scuttling the Merrimac; "Clark of the Oregon" pushing his battleship around South America; and Adm. William Sampson and Commodore Scott Schley ending their careers in controversy. These officers sailed into battle with a navy of middle-aged lieutenants and overworked bluejackets, along with green naval militiamen. They were accompanied by numerous onboard correspondents, who documented the war.
In addition to descriptions of the men who fought or witnessed the pivotal battles on the American side, the book offers sympathetic portraits of several Spanish officers, the "Dons" for whom American sailors held little personal enmity. Admirals Patricio Montojo and Pasqual Cervera, doomed to sacrifice their forces for the pride of a dying empire, receive particular attention.
The first major study of the Spanish-American War to be published in many years, this book takes a journalistic approach to the subject, making the conflict and the people involved relevant to today's readers. This work details a war in which victory was determined as much by leadership as by the technology of the American Steel Navy.
Jim Leeke, a U.S. Navy veteran of the Vietnam War, has spent his career in journalism. On the staffs of several national magazines, he was a police reporter, lifestyle columnist, sportswriter, and business and technology writer. He is the editor of three books on the Civil War, the author of a mystery novel and a non-fiction account of President Kennedy's funeral. He lives in Morgantown, WV, where he is the creative director and co-founder of a communications and advertising agency.
Praise for Manila and Santiago
“Leeke excels at weaving together the naval, social, and political aspects of the War together. Anyone looking for a well written, concise narrative of the naval aspects of the Spanish-American War will be more then pleased by Manila and Santiago
.” — Naval Historical Foundation, October 2011
"The Spanish-American War's first combat trial of the new steel battleships is mostly ignored in the public consciousness today, but its consequences still resound for design, diplomacy, and geopolitics. This accessible and extensively annotated introduction to the naval story of that war is to be welcomed by most military history readers doing this kind of naval exploration."
"The book before us is overdue as a history of a war that tends to be dismissed as something of a comic-opera affair involving embarrassing American histrionics, a derisory enemy, not much blood and longer-run consequences that were more trouble than the struggle was worth. The Spanish-American War of 1898 is book-ended between the two far more horrific carnages of our Civil War and World War I. But as this meticulously researched and tautly written book shows, the Spanish-American War was as significant as the first unmanned rockets fired into space were to the NASA program that followed; it brought home forcibly how much more America was going to have to learn before it stepped onto the world stage as a power player."
—James Srodes, The Washington Times