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The Lion's Pride: Theodore Roosevelt and His Family in Peace and War (Oxford University Press Paperback) Paperback – December 9, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0195134247 ISBN-10: 0195134249 Edition: First Printing

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Editorial Reviews Review

When Colonel Theodore Roosevelt led his Rough Riders up the San Juan Ridge in 1898, it was one of the most daring exploits of the Spanish-American War. Colleagues would later report that, seemingly oblivious to the threat of death, Roosevelt "was just reveling in victory and gore," collecting spent cartridges as souvenirs for his four sons while shells exploded around him. His martial vigor served as a model to those sons, one that they took to heart, but their own experiences of war were far removed from TR's swashbuckling adventure.

At the end of World War I, the youngest Roosevelt son--Quentin--was dead, shot down in the skies over France. Theodore Jr. (Ted) and Archie both sustained serious injuries, and Archie suffered from bouts of serious depression many times in the years afterwards. Yet they both served, along with their brother, Kermit, in World War II as well. At 57, Ted was the oldest American participant in the Normandy invasion; Archie became the only U.S. soldier ever to be classified as 100% disabled twice in his career.

The Lion's Pride tells all their stories with thoroughness and graceful simplicity. Although military historians will surely appreciate its combat narratives, it is at heart a family saga, a tale with profound emotional resonance for parents and children alike. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

In his examination of TR's last years, Renehan creates a story that is at once a family tragedy and the denouement of a way of thinking. For 39-year-old Teddy Roosevelt, the 1898 Spanish-American War was the fulfillment of a romantic martial ideal and compensation for a history of frail health and his father's use of a substitute to avoid conscription during the Civil War. His much-publicized exploits with the Rough Riders shaped his career and his sense of self to such an extent that he welcomed WWI as an opportunity for his sons and for the nation. But although TR's sons?Ted Jr., Kermit, Archie, Quentin?were eager to find the fastest way to the front, the nation and President Wilson were not. Renehan parallels TR's strident calls for military "preparedness" with his sons' efforts to train themselves for a war America would eventually join in 1917. Even in Europe?far from their father's influence?the boys goaded each other, going so far as calling Quentin a slacker because pneumonia prevented him from getting to the front fast enough. In the end, the Roosevelts suffered for their daring: TR would write a friend, "[My sons] have done pretty well, haven't they? Quentin killed... Archie crippled... Ted gassed...." But despite his bravado, TR was stricken and would outlive his youngest son by only a few months. Through previously unpublished family papers, judiciously chosen facts and a moving narrative that skillfully parallels the personal and political, Renehan reveals a great deal about American society and politics, and about the culture of war. But most of all, he tells a sad story of the end of an era and the end of a man. 36 halftones not seen by PW. BOMC, History Book Club alternate. Author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford University Press Paperback
  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; First Printing edition (December 9, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195134249
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195134247
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,444,047 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 18 customer reviews
I am a TR aficionado, I really liked the book.
Nick Dupree
It is history at its most compelling: the interweaving of the lives of one group of individuals in the great events of the previous century.
Gary Knoke
This is an excellent work about Theodore Roosevelt as a father.
Rob Bittick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Wayne A. Smith VINE VOICE on January 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
Could have been just as truthfully called "The Pride's Lion." This book focuses more on Teddy Roosevelt (TR) with his family as an ever present backdrop, than on the family itself.
Still, this is an interesting book. For TR devotees, they will find this book a summary focusing on the last ten years of his life. It is a time when TR, still vigorous, is launching his children into the larger world and beginning to focus on their efforts and activities to shoulder the family's unique burden of service to the country.
The book takes this period and investigates how TR's larger than life example to and relationships with his four sons shaped their destinies, most immediately by their preparation for and service during World War I.
TR molded the family in his image. His code is their code as they constantly are movtivated by living up to his ideals and frequently take action according to what father would do. This is a portrait of a strong family, wedded to a single world and life view, abiding by commonly held standards that they all internalized and lived by.
This portrait of the family as the core of the Roosevelt existence is touching and provides a good study of the fountain from which TR drank constantly to replenish his soul and steel himself for the public battles that define the statesman.
I would have liked to have had more of a focus on how TR built the family. It would have been interesting to know more of their childhoods -- much the way Edmund Morris plumbed TR's own childhood experiences in "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" -- to better understand how this family developed into the close knit reflection of TR's will.
But it is a relatively short book and does an intersting job on the material it covers.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By James Gallen VINE VOICE on April 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In "The Lion's Pride" Edward Renehen treats the reader to an interesting insight into the last years of Theodore Roosevelt's life, with a particular emphasis his impact on World War I and the War's impact on TR and his family.

Beginning with the Roosevelt Family background, the reader is introduced to Theodore Roosevelt, Sr., Greatheart to his family, who taught his children the duties which go with privilege. Greatheart made one decision which would have a profound impact on his progeny: he paid a substitute to take his place in the Union Army. The shame of his refusal to serve which drove TR and his sons to on the battlefields of the world to seek to redeem Greatheart's failure.

TR began his redemptive act during his service as Assistant Secretary of the Navy, from which post he played a major role in getting America ready for and into the Spanish American War. This objective achieved, TR began an insatiable quest to get to the Front. Leaving his family behind, he went to Texas to organize the Rough Riders, an improbable mixture of cowboys and Indians, lawmen and outlaws, westerners and Ivy League athletes. Through TR's persistence they were deployed to Cuba where they charged up San Juan Hill and into glory on July 1, 1898.

After having served as President during a time of peace, TR's marital ardor was again stirred by the coming of World War I. TR, an early and enthusiastic advocate of American preparedness and intervention, raked the neutrality policies of the Wilson administration with merciless fire.

With America's entrance into the war, the cry for TR to, once again, get to the Front arose, not only from TR himself, but from European allies.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 23, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a haunting look back at a time that seems never to have been and a bigger than life figure whose influence on his family was at once wonderful and tragic. The author moves quickly, giving just enough detail to render a sure sense of family life at Sagamore Hill and the White House. He touches on playtimes led or inspired by loving bear of a father, TR. He recalls the competitiveness of Roosevelt's children as they strive to impress their father, and he notes the impact of Roosevelt's glory on hills called Kettle and San Juan: "Teddy Roosevelt's children grew up in the glow of Roosevelt's crowded hour." Roosevelt clamored for war with Spain in 1898, and when he got his wish, he made the most of it, charging into enemy rifle fire on horseback, while his men moved ahead on foot. He came home a hero, boastful and proud. In time, he would have cause to wonder about the impact of his hour of glory. His sons, always quick to follow his example, had no three month assignment when their war came, but instead endured long months at or near the front, ill prepared, poorly equipped and plagued by doubt. TR knew that WWI was no summer season war. The weapons were deadlier, the losses staggering and the warring sides grimly determined to fight on. He wrote one of his sons, "If after you have been in the fighting line, you are offered a staff place in which you can be more useful, it would be foolish to refuse it ..." His worry was too late. Three of his boys would suffer serious injury. One would lose his life. The death of his youngest shook TR. "I can see how he constantly thinks of him," wrote Mrs. Roosevelt, "and not the silly recollections ... but sad thoughts of what Quentin would have counted for in the future.Read more ›
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The Lion's Pride: Theodore Roosevelt and His Family in Peace and War (Oxford University Press Paperback)
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