His celebrated charge up San Juan Hill made him an American icon - a roughshod, take-charge leader in the glorious service of his young and ambitious nation. For Theodore Roosevelt, it was a defining moment, the scene with which he would become most often associated. And, as H. Paul Jeffers shows in this lively new account, the now-legendary episode not only made the future president's political career, it took center stage in a "splendid little war" that Roosevelt himself orchestrated almost single-handedly. Colonel Roosevelt is an exciting and thoroughly captivating portrait of a man and a country at a crossroads. The Spanish-American War of 1897-1898 was the shortest conflict in American history. Yet it played a pivotal role in propelling the United States onto the twentieth-century world stage - along with the man whose nationalistic and military ideals were most responsible for bringing it about. With his keen eye for characterization and rich period detail, Jeffers captures the spirit of a newly industrialized nation with dreams of the spoils of empire hitherto reserved for her European rivals, a country flexing her newfound muscles. No man more clearly exemplified late nineteenth-century notions of manifest destiny than Theodore Roosevelt. And no man was more willing to wage war to fulfill them. As Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Roosevelt dreamed of a massive two-ocean navy capable of exerting American influence around the world. Going to war against an aging Spain, with Cuba as the prize, seemed the perfect way to make his dream come true. The events and colorful personalities of this crucial period come to vivid life in Colonel Roosevelt, from William Randolph Hearst and Henry Cabot Lodge, to Richard Harding Davis and Stephen Crane. Here, too, is the personal side of Theodore Roosevelt, much of it revealed in his own words. It is a candid glimpse of the blunt man behind the historic figure, relishing the swirl of international tensions he so vigorously helped to stir.