Manila & Santiago tells the history of the US Navy's operations in the Spanish War of 1898. This was America's first "two-ocean war," in which the decisive battles at Manila Bay and Santiago de Cuba were separated by two months and ten thousand miles. Their "new steel navy" came of age during this quick, modern little war.
Battles were decided by colourful officers today largely forgotten- by "Shang" Dewey in the Philippines and "Fighting Bob" Evans off southern Cuba. By Jack Philip conning the Texas and Constructor Hobson scuttling the Merrimac. By "Clark of the Oregon" pushing his battleship around South America. By Admiral Sampson and Commodore Schley, ending splendid careers in controversy.
Beside these figures stood middle-aged lieutenants and overworked bluejackets, green naval militiamen and on-board correspondents, and the others who fought or witnessed these pivotal battles. Hovering over the conflict was a revered national spirit. The commanders of 1898 had come of age under sail with Admiral David Farragut in the Civil War. After enduring"the Doldrums," the navy's embarrassing post-Civil War decline, they drew on lessons learned from Farragut as they steamed to meet the Spaniards.
Despite contrary opinions throughout the world, they expected not only to survive but to triumph. Manila& Santiago also offers several sympathetic portraits of Spanish officers, the "Dons" for whom American sailors held little personal enmity. It especially examines the plights of admirals Montojo and Cervera, doomed to sacrifice their forces for the pride of a dying empire.
Jim Leeke attended journalism school at Ohio State University after serving in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War. He wrote for newspapers and national magazines as a police reporter, lifestyle columnist, sportswriter, and business and technology writer. He is the author or editor of several books. He lives in Morgantown, WV.