Click below for my video interview with University of Florida's Panama Canal Museum staff during the Canal's 100th anniversary.

http://ufdc.ufl.edu/AA00027174/00011?search=david+=harper

       The first unsolicited review is in - from Joe Wood, President of Friends of the Panama Canal Museum Collection.

       "I just finished reading your excellent book. I found it fascinating and revealing of some history of which I had previously not been aware. My grandfather was a Colombian soldier stationed in Panama during the 1903 revolution and remained in Panama once independence had been achieved, so I relate personally to your story.

        Your descriptions of the characters and places were spot on and brought me back to a time lived through stories told to me by my grandparents. Thanks for bringing this wonderful story to light."

Click on REVIEWS section on left for more revues


USS Nashville 1903

 

Synopsis - How Teddy Took Panama

            President Teddy Roosevelt, furious when he learns that Colombia has rejected the treaty that would have allowed the USA to complete the work of the failed French Panama Canal Company, decides to secretly support rebels in Panama in their efforts to secede from Colombia. He summons Jack Quinn to the White House. Quinn was formerly Teddy’s aide with the Rough Rider’s during the Spanish American war in Cuba but is now a bored New York attorney. Teddy enrolls him in the Secret Service with orders to go to Panama to ensure the rebels succeed and to provide them with whatever they need, but the involvement of the USA must be kept secret. 

            Jack goes to Panama where he learns that the rebels’ main plan is to bribe General Huertas, commander of the Colombian garrison in Panama, to come over to their side. However the garrison’s second-in-command, the brutal Colonel Ochoa, known to be loyal to Colombia, is the major obstacle to the plan. The rebels plan to assassinate him.  Meanwhile Jack meets and immediately falls madly in love with the beautiful Genoveva. When he learns she is Ochoa’s estranged wife he tells the rebels to abandon their assassination plan. Instead he will provoke Ochoa into a duel. If he is successful then the rebellion is safe, and Genoveva can be his.

            Jack is advised that a mysterious Frenchman, Philippe Bunau-Varilla, could be useful to them particularly in deflecting attention from the USA. His new assistant Will Perry knows him and agrees. Jack meets Bunau-Varilla and despite having reservations he decides that the Frenchman will serve to keep the spotlight off the USA. But instead of being his puppet, the dynamic Bunau-Varilla has ambitions of his own and wants a much bigger part to play. He becomes increasingly difficult for Jack to control.

            Jack returns to New York to report to Teddy where he learns that Colombian troops are on their way to Panama. Teddy agrees to have the US Navy stand-by to assist. Jack returns to just in time to avert disaster. He manages to separate the Colombian generals from their troops in Colon and when the generals arrive in Panama City Huertas arrests them. Independence is declared. Still in Colon Jack, with the help of Commander Hubbard of the USS Nashville arranges to bribe the colonel of the Colombian troops in Colon to return to Colombia with his men. With the generals arrested and the Colombian troops gone the rebellion has succeeded.

            Meanwhile, Bunau-Varilla has coerced the Panamanian leaders into appointing him their Minister in the USA. He negotiates the new treaty for Panama and grants the USA even more than they wanted at the expense of Panama’s aspirations. Roosevelt is satisfied and the Hay-Bunau-Varilla treaty is signed. As a reward for his services Teddy appoints Jack to be the first US Minister to Panama. Genoveva and Jack marry in New York.

           When they return to Panama Jack learns that Captain Salazar, Ochoa's former aide, has found out that Jack was an American spy. Salazar, always secretly in love with Genoveva himself, is further enraged when he learns that they are married. He lures Jack into a trap where he intends to kill him.