“Magnificent . . . one of those rare works that is both definitive for the period it covers and fascinating to read for sheer entertainment.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A towering biography . . . a brilliant chronicle.”—Time
“Theodore Roosevelt, in this meticulously researched and beautifully written biography, has a claim on being the most interesting man ever to be President of this country.”—Los Angeles Times Book Review
“Spectacles glittering, teeth and temper flashing, high-pitched voice rasping and crackling, Roosevelt surges out of these pages with the force of a physical presence.”—The Atlantic Monthly
“[Morris’s] prose is elegant and at the same time hard and lucid, and his sense of narrative flow is nearly flawless. . . . The author re-creates a sense of the scene and an immediacy of the situation that any skilled writer should envy and the most jaded reader should find a joy.”—The Miami Herald
“A monumental work in every sense of the word . . . a book of pulsating and well-written narrative.”—The Christian Science Monitor
From the Inside Flap
Described by the Chicago Tribune as "a classic," The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt stands as one of the greatest biographies of our time. The publication of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt on September 14th, 2001 marks the 100th anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt becoming president.
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Edmund Morris is one of America's best political biographers and journalists. He is the Pulitzer Prize winning author of biographies of Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. He lives in New York and Washington, DC.
Theodore Roosevelt... Harvard graduate, historian, New York state assemblyman; rancher, Civil Service Commissioner, New York City Police Commissioner, Assistant Secretary of the Navy; Commanding officer of the "Rough Riders;" war hero; Governor of New York; Vice President, and then President of the United States. All of these accomplishments by the time this extraordinary man reached 42 years of age. Theodore Roosevelt's historical achievements are indeed most impressive! In his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt," biographer Edmund Morris masterfully chronicles the life of this mercurial, complex, and paradoxical man who became the 26th President of the United States. Morris's brilliant narrative depicts Theodore Roosevelt as a man who towered over his world. Yet who would have guessed at future greatness for this, the oldest son of one of New York's wealthiest and most respected families? A sickly child, afflicted with constant bouts of asthma and chronic diarrhea, he is seen by his parents as a child "with the mind, but not the body..." for high achievement. But the young Roosevelt senses his own potential for greatness and resolves to strive mightily to achieve it... Throughout his life, TR is a man of many paradoxes. Largely self-educated, he eventually attends Harvard University, from which he graduates magna cum laude in 1880 with a Phi Beta Kappa key in one hand and a membership in Porcellain, Harvard's most prestigious social club, in the other. The son of a wealthy philanthropist, he eschews the traditional, genteel, upper-class lifestyle in favor of the rough-and-tumble of New York politics. A member of the Republican party, he champions progressive reform.Read more ›
Edmund Morris's "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" is a magnificent biography, perhaps the best I've ever read. In it, Morris follows the life of Theodore Roosevelt from his birth in a New York City brownstone in 1858 to his assumption of the U.S. Presidency in 1901. The book is the first of three volumes Morris plans to write on Roosevelt, the second of which --"Theodore Rex" -- was released last year. In more than 700 pages of text in this book, there is hardly a dull page. The main reason for this, of course, is TR's fascinating, energetic life. He was -- in no particular order -- an amateur naturalist of note, a decorated soldier, an historian, a rancher in the Badlands, a government officer pushing for reform in the civil service, Police Commissioner, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, a state assemblyman, New York's Governor, and finally Vice President. It would be difficult to write a dull book about such a man. But Morris deserves some credit as well. I've read several other biographies of Roosevelt, and while many of them are quite good -- even great -- this is the best. I believe Morris's style as well as his control of the material is the best explanation for this. Much of the writing is beautiful. Even Morris doesn't approach it in his other books. But here Morris shows a poet's gift for metaphor and simile. In explaining how reserved, emotionally stunted men like Henry Adams, Thomas Reed, and Henry Cabot Lodge put up socially with the rambunctious Roosevelt, Morris writes they "...grew dependent upon [Roosevelt's] warmth, as lizards crave the sun." There are numerous examples like this in the book. While "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" should probably be described as a political or historical biography, one doesn't need to have the slightest interest in either to enjoy it. Roosevelt's own ambition and energy, the circumstances of his life, and Morris's writing will drive anyone's interest.
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This is a supurb researched biography of one of the most colorful, revered presidents of the 20th century. For anyone who has unfortunately grown cynical and tired of the political and social cliched diatribe of today's political figures and political system, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt will change all that and bring forth a new appreciation for what man and woman can achieve in government when they have conviction, determination and plain old guts. What makes this book so appealing is that it focuses not on TR's presidency, but rather it explores TR's youth, family upbringing and hobbies as well as his formative years with the famed Rough Riders... It also delves into the tragedies that he incurred on his path to presidential greatness, i.e. the death of his first wife and mother on the same day of two different causes. Morris does a splendid job detailing TR's time with Tammany Hall and Harvard, his joy of writing and literature as well as athletics. The language that Mr. Morris uses is immediate, personal and inviting, giving off a permeating aura that TR is looming over the reader's shoulder. Whenever I have failed with something and don't believe that I can rise from it, I think of TR and say to myself: "If TR can do it, so can I."
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This biography is one of the most thorough and enjoyable I have read. If there has been controversy over Morris' Reagan bio, at least it brought attention to this book. Morris drew a portrait of Roosevelt and his era and it came to life for me. I particularly enjoyed the description of the political scene of the time, especially the New York State assembly and further on to Boss Platt, Senator Hanna, and the other backroom operatives. Morris does not hide the negative side of TR, the snobbery, the hypocrisy, and the naked jingoism. As a Canadian, Roosevelt took Manifest Destiny to extremes and one sympathized with those who considered him a loose cannon. At the same time, this book shows his drive, energy, and his willingness to put himself face-first into anything, be it the Spanish American War, the unpopular anti-saloon enforcement in NYC, or any of his western adventures. I highly recommend this biography to anyone interested in history, Americana, or the times of the later 19th century.
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