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The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America Paperback – May 4, 2010

4 out of 5 stars 127 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best of the Month, August 2009: "The movement for the conversation of wild life and the larger movement for the conservation of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method." So wrote Theodore Roosevelt, known as the "naturalist President" for his efforts in protecting wildlife and wilderness, merging preservation and patriotism into a quintessential American ideal. The Wilderness Warrior, Douglas Brinkley's massive(ly readable) new biography, intrepidly explores the wilderness of influences (Audubon and Darwin), personal relationships (Muir and Pinchot), and frontier adventures (too many to mention) that shaped Roosevelt's proto-green views. Topping 800 pages (ironically, one wonders how many trees fell for the first printing), The Wilderness Warrior makes an excellent companion to Timothy Egan's The Big Burn and Ken Burns's The National Parks: America's Best Idea. --Jon Foro --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From The New Yorker

Theodore Roosevelt spent the day of July 1, 1908, the tenth anniversary of the Battle of San Juan Hill, creating forty-five national forests. In this biographical study of T.R.’s campaign to save hundreds of millions of acres of wilderness, Brinkley writes that “the forestry movement would be forced down his opponents’ throats.” Roosevelt’s intense love for nature was, Brinkley makes clear, a conqueror’s love—triumphal Darwinism—and included a “blood lust” in hunting the wildlife he championed. The baby bear that, in popular myth, T.R. refused to shoot was actually an adult bear that he directed to be dispatched with a knife. Brinkley fully inhabits Roosevelt’s mind, a condition that has its disadvantages—the book, with blow-by-blow accounts of college hiking trips and squabbles between naturalists, does not entirely earn its nine hundred pages, making it harder to see the forests (and the story of how T.R. rescued them) for the trees. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060565314
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060565312
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Dr. Douglas Brinkley is currently a Professor of History at Rice University and a Fellow at the James Baker III Institute of Public Policy. He completed his bachelor's degree at Ohio State University and received his doctorate in U.S. Diplomatic History from Georgetown University in 1989. He then spent a year at the U.S. Naval Academy and Princeton University teaching history. While a professor at Hofstra University, Dr. Brinkley spearheaded the American Odyssey course, in which he took students on numerous cross-country treks where they visited historic sites and met seminal figures in politics and literature. Dr. Brinkley's 1994 book, The Majic Bus: An American Odyssey chronicled his first experience teaching this innovative on-the-road class which became the progenitor to C-SPAN's Yellow School Bus.

Five of Dr. Brinkley's books have been selected as New York Times "Notable Books of the Year": Dean Acheson: The Cold War Years(1992), Driven Patriot: The Life and Times of James Forrestal, with Townsend Hoopes (1992), The Unfinished Presidency: Jimmy Carter's Journey Beyond the White House (1998), Wheels for the World: Henry Ford, His Company and a Century of Progress (2003), and The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast (2006).

Five of his most recent publications have become New York Times best-sellers: The Reagan Diaries, (2007), The Great Deluge (2006), The Boys of Pointe du Hoc: Ronald Reagan, D-Day and the U.S. Army 2nd Ranger Battalion (2005), Tour of Duty: John Kerry and the Vietnam War (2004) and Voices of Valor: D-Day: June 6, 1944 with Ronald J. Drez (2004). The Great Deluge (2006), was the recipient of the Robert F. Kennedy prize and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book award.

Before coming to Rice, Dr. Brinkley served as Professor of History and Director of the Roosevelt Center at Tulane University in New Orleans. From 1994 until 2005 he was Stephen E. Ambrose Professor of History and Director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans. During his tenure there he wrote two books with the late Professor Ambrose: Rise to Globalism: American Foreign Policy Since 1938 (1997) and The Mississippi and the Making of a Nation: From the Louisiana Purchase to Today (2002). On the literary front, Dr. Brinkley has edited Jack Kerouac's diaries, Hunter S. Thompson's letters and Theodore Dreiser's travelogue. His work on civil rights includes Rosa Parks (2000) and the forthcoming Portable Civil Rights Reader.

He won the Benjamin Franklin Award for The American Heritage History of the United States (1998) and the Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt Naval History Prize for Driven Patriot (1993). He was awarded the Business Week Book of the Year Award for Wheels for the World and was also named 2004 Humanist of the Year by the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities. He has received honorary doctorates from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

Dr. Brinkley is contributing editor for Vanity Fair, Los Angeles Times Book Review and American Heritage. A frequent contributor to the New York Times, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic Monthly, he is also a member of the Theodore Roosevelt Association, the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt Institute, the Council on Foreign Relations and the Century Club. In a recent profile, the Chicago Tribune deemed him "America's new past master."

Forthcoming publications include The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the crusade for America and a biography of Walter Cronkite.

He lives in Austin and Houston, Texas with his wife and three children.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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I'm sure many of you are wondering whether we really need another biography of Theodore Roosevelt. After all, there has been a spate of other biographies on the man, from Edmund Morris' Theodore Rex to Kathleen Dalton's Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life. In short, the answer is YES, this is an essential TR biography. Even if you have read all of those other books (as I have), Douglas Brinkley's The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America is a vital addition to our understanding of TR as a man, a politician, and an environmental activist.

Brinkley's The Wilderness Warrior argues that Teddy Roosevelt was not simply a politician who cared about nature, but that his life as a naturalist permeated his entire outlook on life and use of political power. He goes further by arguing that TR was a committed preservationist who sought to protect nature forever, not just a "utilitarian" conservationist who sought to protect natural resources for later exploitation - despite his affinity for hunting.

The first part of the book documents TR's fascination with wildlife and the outdoors as a young child. Even by the age of 10, he had established a small "museum" of his favorite wildlife specimens (which he later donated to the Smithsonian and American Museum of Natural History).
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Format: Paperback
I am a lover of Theodore Roosevelt and looked forward to this book when it was first announced. I have had it since it was initially released in hardcover and it has taken until now to finish it. Now for me to have that much trouble in completing a book on Roosevelt says something.

I had bought the book at a time when I was attempting to find a direction in my life (cue violins...) and I was interested in seeing how Roosevelt utilized his love of nature and science in his daily life. Now there are good chunks of the beginning of this book that show how nature and evolution influenced his way of thinking and I was happy with it. I enjoyed learning about the Boone and Crockett Club or the Bronx Zoo and his great influence on the formation of those organziations. By the time it has gotten up to when he was in positions of power, the Governorship of New York and his Presidency I feel the book loses it's direction, by almost placing too much emphasis on his nature stewardship over everything else. Others have hit on factual errors and honestly I don't pick up on those as much as others - on military facts yeah, but that is mostly because of that is my interest. Here it is that I have trouble picking up on how the naturalist in him helped or hindered the politician. To use a cliche, it may be because of having trouble seeing the forest thru the trees. It seems to me that there is just so much information it is difficult to see what is the wheat and what is just chaff (hey two cliches in two sentances!). The emphasis problem may also be shown in the fact that post-Presidency is not even covered in the over 800 pages of text.
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2 Comments 15 of 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
WOW. Its rare I get a book and sit and leaf thru it in complete awe. This is a book I have wanted for so so long.In fact I plan on buying extra copies for my county library system, since we here in the Sierras in Mark Twain country, so appreciate top books with such wonderful research and information that is so well written that you literally do NOT want to put the book down. And its a book that you will read and re read and re read and get something new from each time you read it.

Having grown up in a wild west, environmentalist mined family where when we backpacked we got daily lectures on leaving an area so that it looked like we have never been there, Theodore Roosevelt was akin to my families favorite relative, university professor, religious advisor and common sense favorite friend. And this book shows we were right on.

Douglas Brinkley is an A+ author and one can only imagine the hours, days, months and years he put into researching Theodore Roosevelt, because the book covers ALL areas of the United States and even international areas that the President lived and fought for. And reading the book you get the sense you are there, listening to the President demand we care for the earth and the open spaces this great country offers.

Especially interesting to me is how during the past election we heard candidates from different political parties evoke the name of Teddy Roosevelt, yet in reading the book one wonders just how much did or do these folks even know of the man. And I so hope the book will light a fire under people to demand that we always fun the open spaces we have as parks and natural preserves. And I didn't even know West Virginia had a state of the art naturalist center for the Fish and Wildlife folks under the Department of the Interior.
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