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Commissioner Roosevelt: The Story of Theodore Roosevelt and the New York City Police, 1895-1897 Paperback – March 8, 1996

ISBN-13: 978-0471145707 ISBN-10: 047114570X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 8, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047114570X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0471145707
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,724,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In 1884 Roosevelt shepherded seven bills through the New York Assembly designed to reform the NYC police department; his subsequent performance on the U.S. Civil Service Commission added to his reputation for probity. Thus, when the Republicans won City Hall in 1895, TR was named to the board of police commissioners, where he was elected president. With the help of reformers and rising young journalists Jacob Riis and Lincoln Steffens, he converted a graft-ridden force into a constabulary run on the principles of promotion through merit and enforcement of all laws, no matter how unpopular. His innovations included hiring the first woman on the force and creating the first police fingerprint department. TR served for just two years, but even his enemies conceded that his performance had been spectacular. Jeffers (Bloody Business) captures the public-spirited TR in all his pugnaciousness. For a fictionalized account, see Caleb Carr's bestselling The Alienist. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Before LBJ, JFK, and FDR, there was TR, our first modern president. In these two volumes we get a glimpse of TR before and after his presidency. Both books present a sympathetic portrait of an energetic man, first as reformer and then as naturalist/explorer. Roosevelt devoted only a chapter in his autobiography to his two years as police commissioner, but New Yorker Jeffers (Bloody Business, Funk & Wagnalls, 1992) expands it into a monograph that captures TR's hallmark blend of pragmaticism and idealism during his brief tenure as president of the New York Police Commission and ex officio member of the Board of Health. Roosevelt consistently alternated between a political life and an outdoor life. After two years in the New York legislature, he left for the Dakotas; after the presidency, it was Africa; after his unsuccessful bid for president on the Progressive ticket, he decided on an expedition to South America-his "last chance to be a boy." His version of the trip was told at the time in a series of articles for The Outlook and Scribner's Magazine and then as a book, Through the Brazilian Wilderness. Ornig's extensive research results in as complete an account as we are likely to get of Roosevelt's harrowing trip, a trip that broke his health and hastened his death at age 60. For entertainment, Jeffers's work is better, but both volumes contribute to understanding the personality, character, and contributions of TR before and after his presidency.
Nicholas C. Burckel, Washington Univ. Libs., St. Louis
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A. Rafkin on January 7, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have always wanted to learn more about Teddy Roosevelt's two-year stint with the New York Police Department, and was thus thrilled to find Mr. Jeffer's book on Amamzon.com. While it does do a fairly good job of describing the events as they occurred during Roosevelt's tenure at the NYPD, I found the book on the whole to deliver a very surface treatment of the subject. It is, as one of the other reviewers noted, quite superficial, relying almost exlcusively on anecdotes which seem to have been gleaned from newspapers of the period. What the book is missing is any kind of meaningful insight into TR himself. I have always understood that TR was a prolific letter-writer. I think that this book would have benefitted greatly from the author spending more time relating TR's thoughts, which he must have undoubtedly conveyed many times in correspondence to friends and associates.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By M on November 30, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Commissioner Roosevelt is a great account of Theodore Roosevelt's tenure as New York City Police Commission President. As the head of the three-person board that oversaw the city's police, Roosevelt changed our notion of a modern police department. Even as he attempted to institute reforms he faced down police corruption, ethnic-group protests, government foot-dragging, and machine politics in the land of Tamany Hall. This firebrand commissioner would even prowl the gaslighted streets of Old New York looking for policemen asleep at their posts.
Join Theodore Roosevelt in this crusade to stop crime and corruption in New York. If you enjoyed Caleb Carr's fictional T.R. in The Alienist, you'll probably enjoy the real life crime-buster in Commissioner Roosevelt. (I liked Mr. Jeffers' real one better.) Anyone interested in politics, especially New York or ethnic politics, might like it too.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 14, 1997
Format: Paperback
"Commissioner Roosevelt" is a dee-lightful narration of the two years during which Theodore Roosevelt served as President of the Board of Police Commissioners of New York. The author skillfully relates the struggles and events of Roosevelt's service with the development of the public man he was becoming. He captures the spirit of the man which would later be manifested on a grander scale. In viewing historical figures we often tend to focus on their most prominent roles, in this case the Rough Rider and President, and neglect other significant portions of their lives which reveal their character. Commissioner Roosevelt helps fill that gap
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Scott McGovney on April 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
The book covered the period of history just at the turn of the 20th Century. I found it to be very informative and made me feel like I was right there strolling the streets with Ted Roosevelt. Although the book is strong in its era coverage more attention should have been given to the various laws and acts that were in place at the time preventing "police" to perform their respective functions.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Jeremy Siegel on December 27, 2000
Format: Paperback
COMMISSIONER ROOSEVELT exhibits Theodore Roosevelt's true modus opporandae. There were indeed many obstacles in Roosevelt's path to making a better city police force, however, the American public was, in my opinion, persuaded by eloquent speaking and the media more so then they are today. In all likelihood there is no way Roosevelt could achieve such drastic reform results over a relatively short period of time in the modern world. However, Jeffers' book is not about that issue, this book is about displaying Roosevelt's true core beliefs and the willpower that was within a person who was weak and sickly as a child. Personally I would have liked to have seen more critical material in this book, however, it is a beautiful narrative of how one man was able to make a difference (with the help of the fledgling media). This book should be mandatory reading for all people in the law enforcement field today, it shows all the principals that American's hold dear condensed into one mortal being, Roosevelt.
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