America's adventure into colonialism began with the destruction of the U.S. battleship Maine in 1898, presumably by a Spanish mine. The four month war against Spain that followed—the shortest declared war in U.S. history—resulted in the U.S. acquisition of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, and Guam. The young giant of the Western Hemisphere was transformed into a colonial power, and the balance of power in the world was changed forever.

In this chronicle of an era that has escaped the attention it deserves, military historian Jerry Keenan explores America's war with Spain and the violence that followed. He shows how the United States muddled the administration of the sprawling Philippine archipelago, guided by a policy that President McKinley called "benevolent assimilation." Within a year, the United States was fighting a war against Philippine nationalists—a three year conflict that would give American soldiers their first bitter taste of counterinsurgency warfare in an Asian jungle.

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