BLOOD, CLASS, AND NOSTALGIA
by Christopher Hitchens
Farrar, Straus & Giroux
398 pages; $22.95
Take up the White Man's burden --
Send forth the best ye breed --
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need.
So begins one of Rudyard Kipling's most famous poems, which reads as if it were written for the British raj. In fact, this hortatory verse was addressed to Teddy Roosevelt with a clear message: having won the Spanish-American War of 1898, the U.S. should claim the Philippines as a colony. Thus Kipling, as author Christopher Hitchens dryly observes, was "John the Baptist...