The “Page 99 Test” takes its name and inspiration from Ford Madox Ford, who said,”Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you.” As part of the Campaign for the American Reader, Marshal Zeringue has built a blog based on the idea, asking authors to turn to page 99 of their own books and assess how its contents reveal the quality of the whole of the work. He lets them respond in their own words, and his blog has become a fascinating archive of a unique kind of book news. We’ve had several authors participate over the years, the most recent of whom is Brian Loveman, whose book No Higher Law: American Foreign Policy and the Western Hemisphere since 1776 we published in June.
P. 99 begins with a summary of American foreign policy and the Western Hemisphere from the 1820s until the 1860s and ends with an introduction of American policy toward Cuba, the first of five cases (Cuba, the Caribbean islands, Central America, Colombia [Panama], Mexico) considered in the rest of Chapter 4. The chapter is titled “The Good Neighbor” – an ironic characterization of U.S. regional policy, and especially of President James Buchanan’s call for American military intervention in Mexico as a “good neighbor” to lend a “helping hand.” Buchanan told Congress that Mexico was a “wreck upon the Ocean” and that the U.S. should lend a helping hand, lest “some other nation undertake the task, and thus force us to interfere at last, …for the maintenance of our established policy.” Buchanan meant to uphold his version of the Monroe Doctrine, protect American property and business in Mexico, and control isthmian transit from the Pacific to Atlantic oceans after the California gold rush of 1849, and after the U.S. annexed approximately half of Mexico. He also sought to expand slave territory.
Read his full entry over at the Page 99 Test blog.
For a peek at some other pages in Loveman’s book, you can click “view inside” in the widget below!