Customer Reviews: Bully!: The Life and Times of Theodore Roosevelt: Illustrated with More Than 250 Vintage Political Cartoons
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on October 26, 2011
* I can't boast many "couldn't put it down" experiences in my literary life, but Bully! the new Roosevelt biography by Rick Marschall definitely qualifies. As well as a warm, topical biography of our most caricatured and dynamic Chief Executive, Marschall, a lifelong Roosevelt scholar and cartoon collector, shares his impressive assemblage of 19th and early 20th century Roosevelt cartoons; more than 250 period images from among others, Puck, Judge, Life, and Colliers, exquisitely and bitingly rendered by artists such as Kemble, A.B. Frost, Frederick Opper, Winsor McCay, Zim, Cory, Keppler and legions more. Rather than dropped in as an afterthought to diversify a photo section, the cartoons partner with Marschall's text to create a vivid ongoing stream of graphic commentaries of how Roosevelt was viewed by the public as his political career developed before them. The editorial cartoonists of the Gilded Age pulled no punches, and it's interesting to reflect on how the current Washington product might have fared in the crosshairs of editorial Goliaths such as Thomas Nast and Homer Davenport. I'm thinking not so great.

Bully! celebrates Roosevelt's seemingly inexhaustible energy, legendary even during his life, as the author of over fifty books, and as a naturalist, historian, cowboy, soldier, sportsman, politician, reformer, diplomat, and explorer. Rather than destroying him, the great tragedies in his life, and there were many, served to strengthen his incredible resolve. His amazing resiliency and ability to sublimate heartbreak, fueled a life of tireless service, whose populist crusades often branded him a traitor to his class.As Marschall states in his foreward, "Presidents were boring up until Roosevelt, and boring after him".

The most exciting facet of this unique biography is learning of Roosevelt's battles and victories over issues as contemporary as today's home screen headlines; corruption among elected officials, the environment, foreign affairs, labor unrest, the rights of women and minorities, Wall Street greed, health and safety laws and improving poverty level housing conditions, vividly summoning up the lesson from Ecclesiastes that "There is nothing new under the sun". Roosevelt, a favorite of both George Bush and Bill Clinton, was the most hands on president in American history and unflinchingly waded into highly controversial battles, quite often brushing aside party politics by stating "Without honesty, popular government is a repulsive farce".

The cartoons, some dating back to the 1870's are simply magnificent;crisp, clear, lustrous and have never looked so good. Lovingly preserved, they're now ripe for rediscovery by an America who quite often it seems lately, mistakenly believes that our current challenges are of recent vintage.

Bully! is a must for not only Roosevelt admirers, but all history students in general, as well as admirers of the great penman of the past. It's an enjoyable way to learn about the genesis of the American Century, and the man who planted this nation's feet firmly on that path.

If you're hungry for straight talk and learning about a president who believed in taking action, not polls, a feast awaits you in Bully!

John Province
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on November 4, 2011
Rick Marschall's fine book is worthy of academic libraries and TR enthusiasts. While there have been a few books published over the past 100 years (3 of which were in 1910 --- only 1 that I can think of in the last 20 years) covering TR and cartoons --- none have been all-encompassing, and none have properly framed the nature & history of cartoon art with TR's career. It is an important and ignored subject. This is the service that Marschall's book has done for TR scholarship.

The art of the cartoon was pivotal in the creation of TR's image in the American consciousness. So, this volume is equal parts American culture and history. Additionally, it is evident that Marschall has done his reading and research. He incorporates not just the standard Roosevelt timeline and biography --- but, rather, he has utilized much of the recent scholarship of Roosevelt in his text. So, we have a subject new to TR scholarship, a superb additional to the study of cartoon art, and an equally fine basic biography.

The book is handsome. The illustrations are magnificent. And, the story is strenuous, as TR was! It is a perfect companion to the best of TR biographies: Dalton, Morris, and Harbaugh.
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on December 28, 2011
I picked up Bully because of my interest in cartoons and graphics rather than for any particular fascination with Theodore Roosevelt. A book about America's most caricatured president, written by America's most knowledgeable authority on cartoons and illustration, had to be a winner. I was not disappointed. Rick Marshall's writing is as entertaining and concise as his knowledge is thorough.

Bully is filled page after page with marvelous old color lithographs from not only the famous comic monthlies of the day like Puck and Judge, but many of the more obscure periodicals that most researchers wouldn't have come across. Marshall has amassed the largest private archive of political cartoons in the world and has selected the finest examples for this definitive graphic study of TR. Virtually all the great cartoonists of the time are represented here, among them; Harrison Cady, Rudolf Dirks, Palmer Cox, T.S. Sullivant, Billy DeBeck, J.M. Flagg, George Carlson, "Ding" Darling and Art Young. As such, it presents an overview of political cartooning from the heyday of the form.

The reproductions in the book are sharper than any I've seen and Marshall tells the story of Teddy Roosevelt so well that despite my initial indifference, I quickly became engrossed in the life story of one of the most colorful individuals in American history.
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on December 26, 2015
This is a fun account of the life and times of Teddy R and the addition of the political cartoons is great. It worked well on the kindle app on a 1st gen ipad mini. The times were similar to ours now where the "Robber Baron's" threatened to take over the country and it is interesting to see how these Republicans recognized that Capitalism was to be merely a tool for a free people.
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on July 9, 2013
... this review would be quite lengthy, as the illustrations featured in this remarkable collection are a fascinating and insightful overview of TR and how his words and actions were perceived by the nation and the world. The political cartoons - on their own - would tell a remarkable story of this man and the era in which he lived ... but the author has gone over and above in providing an absolutely excellent narrative about Theodore Roosevelt. Marschall includes many of the classic TR stories readers have probably seen elsewhere, but he also shares many more obscure tidbits. In addition to being extremely well written, the book is also well organized. Overall, an essential resource for anyone who is interested in the life and/or times of Theodore Roosevelt.
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on December 29, 2012
Perhaps one of the most interesting presidents we've had, Teddy Roosevelt has had more written about and by him than probably any in our history. This book adds a great twist to the compendium. It's a book you can leave on the table and really enjoy just browsing to any open page as well as getting a really good picture of the man and his times. Bully! is more than a biography, it's an enjoyable history as well. Highly recommended.
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VINE VOICEon February 15, 2012
I have read many books about Theodore Roosevelt, a man who, among many, many other things, was a caricaturist's dream come true. The man's image, vitality and mannerisms were vastly different from anyone else they had seen in the political arena, not to mention the Oval Office itself. They cried out for cartooning and those men who practiced the cartoonists' trade in those days did not hesitate to start sketching. Bully! Brings together in one book vintage political cartoons, many that haven't been seen for decades, if ever, by TR specialists and the general reader.
There are hundreds of them scattered throughout the text, plus a full-color cartoon portfolio at the end of each chapter but the first. The text itself is arranged chronologically, each chapter entitled with the beginning and ending years covered within that chapter. This makes foe easy access to a specific aspect of Roosevelt's life and invites the reader to return to whichever section for another perusal. Issues that faced TR, such as government corruption, conservation, foreign affairs, labor and unionism, women's rights and Wall Street greed are still relevant today. The reader will see how a real leader dealt with those same issues that we face today.
This book is not just for Roosevelt admirers but for anyone with an interest in history, art and the beginning of the American Century. It is the life story of a fantastic character, well and warmly told.
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on December 17, 2015
Purchased this book at a discount store. The huge assortment of Teddy R.-era political cartoons caught my eye, and my first impression was that it looked like a fun read. When I sat down with it at home, I saw that it was published by Regnery, the notorious publisher of highly inaccurate masturbation-fodder for conservatives. This immediately calls into question every bit of information in this book. Had I first realized who the publisher was, I wouldn't have bought it. Thankfully, it was a remainder -- so Regnery didn't make any money off me. 2 stars because it's still an interesting collection of vintage political cartoons.
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on November 24, 2013
T.R. is probably the ONLY Republican I could bring myself to vote for, but he was a true Progressive that left us with the National Park System and tamed the robber barons for over a generation. A++++
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on July 28, 2012
If author Rick Marschall had stuck to the principal theme of this book, namely political cartoons featuring Theodore Roosevelt, it is unlikely that I would have anything critical to say about it. Indeed it was the pictures, many of which are colorful and eye-catching examples of the best of late nineteenth and early twentieth century political cartoon art, that led me to buy the book in the first place and in his treatment of these, Marschall is in his element. After I learned that both Marschall and his publisher, Regnery, are politically right wing(something I was unaware of when I bought the book), it went a long way toward explaining why in the text he mislabels TR a Conservative, something that anyone with a better-than-average knowledge of Theodore Roosevelt's life and presidency knows "just ain't so." If TR was Conservative, prominent Socialists like Jane Addams and others would certainly not have abandoned Eugene V. Debs in 1912 to campaign for TR. Marschall's occasional inclusion of religious language and his lauding of TR as "the most Christian American President" is likewise explained by the fact the author has been active in the Christian writing field for several years. Ironically (and I can't help but wonder if Marschall knows this since he didn't mention in the book), although TR was certainly a religious man, he also believed that the words "In God We Trust" were inappropriate for U.S. coins and directed that they be left off the 1907 $20 gold piece. It is also noteworthy that Marschall devotes very little text to the political battle that TR and the Republican "Stalwarts" had in 1907 and 1908 over the President's radical demands for more business regulation, a graduated income tax and and inheritance tax on the wealthy, and workmen's compensation, issues that were then largely supported by the Democrats and "Insurgent" Republicans like Roosevelt.
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