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American Ideal: Theodore Roosevelt's Search for American Individualism

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0739126080
ISBN-10: 0739126083
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Editorial Reviews


Theodore Roosevelt's dynamic mind opens a window into the soul of American Progressivism, and, likewise, Paul Rego's constructive book opens a window into Roosevelt's own mind. Like other Americans, Roosevelt struggled to reconcile the nation's robust individualism with national purpose and unity. In this thoughtful and insightful book, Rego shows that, perhaps more than any other American, Roosevelt thought through the specific policies necessary for adapting government action to the purposes of national progress and individual character. (David Robertson, professor of political science, University of Missouri-St. Louis)

Rego offers 'an intellectual biography' of Theodore Roosevelt....A useful book....Recommended. General readers through researchers and faculty. (CHOICE, October 2008)

[Henry] Pringle's well-written but venomous Theodore Roosevelt-published a decade after TR's death-set the tone for much of Roosevelt scholarship for a generation. Paul M. Rego does not make Pringle's mistake. He recognizes Roosevelt's complexity, and respects the power and breadth of his intellect. In short, he takes Theodore Roosevelt seriously, as both an accomplished statesman and as a serious political thinker. . . . He deftly demonstrates the power of Roosevelt's reconciliation of individualism with collective action, and traces the consistency of TR's thought from his early writings on history and nature to his mature statements during and after his presidency. . . . Anyone interested in TR, the presidency, American political thought, or American institutions will profit from this book. (Political Science Quarterly, Fall 2009)

Americans have long admired Theodore Roosevelt as a man of action. In this new intellectual biography, Paul M. Rego shows the power of TR's thought. Rego convincingly demonstrates that TR developed the most impressive political diagnosis and constitutional theory written by any American statesman since “Publius” penned The Federalist. Well written, informative, and highly recommended. (Jeffrey K. Tulis, associate professor, University of Texas at Austin)

About the Author

Paul M. Rego is assistant professor of politics at Messiah College in Pennsylvania.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Lexington Books (July 16, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0739126083
  • ISBN-13: 978-0739126080
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.7 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,140,694 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Theodore Roosevelt is a leader people from across the political spectrum have claimed as their own. This can most easily be done, however, by emphasizing aspects of his actions and writings and ignoring those elements that are "inconvenient" or contradictory to one's own viewpoint. In American Ideal, we see an examination of TR's appreciation of both indvidualism and collectivism. He saw collectivism as often necessary (unfortunately necessary?), but never wanted to lose the individualist spirit that he regarded as essential to the American character. This book serves as an excellent counterpoint to those who would seek to place TR squarely on one end of the political spectrum or the other, and highlights the man who saw the necessity of both individualism and collectivism in the struggle to create the "square deal" for all Americans. This work is thoroughly researched and referenced, an excellent volume for the shelf of any student of Theodore Roosevelt's thoughts and works.
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