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The King and the Cowboy: Theodore Roosevelt and Edward the Seventh, Secret Partners Hardcover – September 11, 2008

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Hardcover, September 11, 2008
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The; First Edition edition (September 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594201870
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594201875
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,536,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this problematic book, Boston University professor Fromkin (A Peace to End All Peace) asserts a personal strategic relationship between president Theodore Roosevelt and King Edward VII during the Algeciras Conference of 1906. The gathering was to mediate the future of Morocco; France, backed by other European powers, argued for protectorate status, while Germany, wanting to end French dominance in Morocco, argued for independence. The bulk of the book recounts the lives of Edward VII, his tempestuous nephew Kaiser Wilhelm II, and of TR prior to Algeciras. In emphasizing a collaboration between Roosevelt and Edward, neither of whom attended the conference, Fromkin seems to discount the roles of lead mediator Henry White, and his capable assistant Samuel R. Gunnmere, in orchestrating the results, which were largely unfavorable to Germany. Fromkin likewise discounts the machinations of the British Foreign Office, which outweighed any influence the monarch might have had. Only one direct communiqué—secret or otherwise—between TR and Edward, dispatched after the conference, is cited, making Fromkin's assertion of a close secret partnership a reach. Overall, Fromkin's volume is without a raison d'être. Illus. (Sept. 5)
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"Thrilling and unexpected."
-Johann Hari, The New York Times Book Review

"A joy to read."
-Library Journal --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Teddy Roosevelt' s upbringing is also explored, most of it well-known but interesting nonetheless.
The book is 259 pages long including the index but it really doesn't get to the crux of the subject matter until page 184.
Germany was a rising and aggressive power; if it was not already Europe's most powerful state, it would be so soon.
Omer Belsky

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Omer Belsky on September 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
David Fromkin is one of my favorite historians. After a stint as an expert in International Relations, who wrote on the subject (The Independence of Nations), Fromkin settled down as a historian, particularly of the various crises surrounding the First World War. Fromkin's best work is without question his 1989 opus A Peace to End All Peace: The Fall of the Ottoman Empire and the Creation of the Modern Middle East. A well researched and detailed study of the emergence of the modern Middle East, it is an example of everything history should be. Even his weaker historical works, such as The Way of the World: From the Dawn of Civilizations to the Eve of the Twenty-first Century and Kosovo Crossing: American Ideals Meet Reality On The Balkan Battlefields, are illuminating and well written.

Fromkin's last work, 2004's Europe's Last Summer: Who Started the Great War in 1914?, was one of his better books. Although it was based primarily on secondary sources, it distilled a mass of scholarship to offer a lucid and intelligent account of the Great War's outbreak.

Fromkin's new book "The King and the Cowboy" can be seen as a prequel of sorts to "Europe's Last Summer".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By lordhoot on October 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I am not too familiar with this author but I found this book to be highly superficial in nature. The book is 259 pages long including the index but it really doesn't get to the crux of the subject matter until page 184. There is a chapter of that and then we are back to the superficial set of biographies. Until we get page 184, we are treated with lightweight biographies of Edward VII, Kaiser Wilhelm and Theodore Roosevelt. None of the biographical entries are noteworthy or insightful to anyone who are familiar to these figures. Of course, a pure novice of history would gained something by reading these lightweight introductory material. The element of this book is the Algecira Conference of 1906 and like the rest of the material, it also got a pretty lightweight treatment geared toward the super novice level of readers. This was a pretty complex conference but the author gave an easy to read and not too detail account. I am not really convince that there was a real partnership involved here, just a opportunity to keep Germany out of that region that benefit both the British Empire and the United States.

One of the previous reviewers wrote glowing terms of this author's previous work but felt disappointed by this book. I haven't read any of this author's previous books and I don't think I'll make it a priority to do so after reading this weak effort.

I would recommended this book only if you know totally nothing about the lives of Edward VII, Kaiser Wilhelm and Theodore Roosevelt since their biographies appears to weight more then the actual conference itself.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By John D. Cofield TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 8, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book's subject has the potential to be a really fascinating study of the pre-World War I diplomatic maneuvers that led to the close Anglo-American relationship that has now lasted for a century. Unfortunately, David Fromkin has not given the material the close scrutiny and examination required. He has relied on secondary sources, quoting from them extensively, so that in some chapters he almost appears to be paraphrasing them.

King Edward VII's diplomatic efforts deserve study. He played a major role in the Anglo-French rappprochement in the first decade of the twentieth century, and also assisted in helping Britain establish a better relationship with Russia. His was more of a social role, however, the real work was done by the professional diplomats. Theodore Roosevelt, similarly, deserves more credit than he gets for his diplomatic efforts. He was far more than the swashbuckling Rough Rider of legend.

Unfortunately, Fromkin's superficial treatment does neither man justice and actually perpetuates some of the stereotypes of Kaiser Wilhelm II, who was a far more subtle ruler than his reputation (admittedly self-inflicted) admits. Fromkin also makes a number of small but noticeable errors of fact: King Charles I was not a Roman Catholic, Victoria became Queen in June 1837 but wasn't crowned until a year later, and while Victoria definitely had living great-grandchildren in 1930, that is hardly worthy of notice. (Some of her great-grandchildren were still alive in the 1980s!)

Fromkin's books on the Middle East are scholarly and worthy. This work, along with his last book on the outbreak of World War I, both suffer from a lack of scholarly rigor.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By alldayReader on December 30, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I wholeheartedly recommend the fascinating The King and The Cowboy, which is about the largely unknown partnership and friendship between King Edward the Seventh of England and Teddy Roosevelt . One, a hard drinking playboy, the other a drinking cowboy, they had very little in common. But through David Fromkin's engaging and hard to put down chapters, we find that what the two men did share was their own unique rebellion against how they were raised. Through their rebellions they were each able, at a crucial stage of world politics, to create a partnership of diplomacy that was able to avert, at least for a little while, all-out world war.

Edward VII used his knowledge of and personal relationships with everyone who was anyone in European politics (he'd parties hard with them all and talked and most importantly, listened to them all) to use diplomacy, instead of royal marriages, to push liberal constitutional monarchy through Europe. Teddy broke out of the isolationism of United States politics to take a strong and reasoned (this from the man of Kettle Hill!) approach as mediator and deal maker between Germany and France over territorial tensions in North Africa (and underlying Europe).

There are more chapters in the book about the English side of things during the 1800s and into the twentieth century. I found each and every one fascinating. Fromkin writes easily and well about the tenacity of young Victoria to reach and hold onto her royal power, her love for Albert and her eventual sharing of power with him, their plan to spread constitutional monarchy throughout Europe by virtue of marrying their strictly educated offspring to other royals.
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