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Theodore Roosevelt and the Assassin: Madness, Vengeance, And The Campaign Of 1912 Hardcover – October 8, 2013

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Lyons Press; 1ST edition (October 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0762782994
  • ISBN-13: 978-0762782994
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #105,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


A New York Times Bestseller"A fast-paced look at a little-remembered piece of history." —New York Post"Immensely readable, entertaining and disturbing…. The book is hard to put down. Mr. Helferich's narrative structure recalls a number of recent popular histories that recount world-historical events from the perspective of a marginal figure, most notably Erik Larson's best-selling The Devil in the White City…. Poor mad John Flammang Schrank, an assassin manqué—but for Gerard Helferich's literary efforts, lost to history, unable to earn the infamy of a John Wilkes Booth or a Lee Harvey Oswald." —Wall Street Journal"A lively account of Theodore Roosevelt's would-be murder reveals the roiling issues and personalities of that key campaign…. Roosevelt's shooting certainly yanked American politics into the modern era and revealed the courage of the irrepressible victim…. Helferich creates several wonderful character studies…. Outsized personalities within a blistering campaign render this work a rollicking history lesson." —Kirkus Reviews"Theodore Roosevelt—Rough Rider, Nobel prize winner, builder of the Panama Canal—ranks as one of America's most beloved presidents. Yet often forgotten is how close one man came to murdering him. In his vivid and richly detailed narrative, Gerard Helferich transports readers to the presidential campaign of 1912 when, in the shadows of a truly historic election, a would-be assassin silently tracked 'Bull Moose' Roosevelt and shot him. The result is a compelling and chilling work that brings to life this overlooked chapter of the TR legend." —Scott Miller, author of The President and the Assassin: McKinley, Terror, and Empire at the Dawn of the American Century "Skillfully weaving together the heated debate of a critical election and the riveting tale of a stalking assassin, Helferich's is the rare book that both educates and entertains the reader. This gripping drama affirms Theodore Roosevelt's 1912 Progressive campaign as one of the most important and entertaining chapters in American political history." —Sidney M. Milkis, White Burkett Miller Professor of Politics, University of Virginia "Theodore Roosevelt—with his 'take no prisoners' approach—dominated the political life of the nation. Heir to a fortune, a know-it-all Harvard graduate, a righteous reformer with fierce opinions and unshakable confidence—he attracted passionate followers and equally passionate haters. This book is a compelling read about the historic 1912 presidential campaign, and the madman from a New York City saloon who was obsessed with de-railing Teddy's third term." —Richard Zacks, author of Island of Vice: Theodore Roosevelt's Quest to Clean Up Sin-Loving New York"One doesn't have to be a serious student of third party politics or of Roosevelt's try for a third presidential term to enjoy this minute-by-minute nonfiction account of the audacious assassination attempt on his life as the Bull Moose candidate…. Rich with local color and period detail [Theodore Roosevelt and the Assassin] transports the reader to a pivotal moment in our history, when the forces of progressivism and conservatism were battling for the nation's soul." —Delta Magazine-----Praise for the author's previous book, Stone of Kings"A compelling tale.... This well-focused and well-told account brings America's most mythologized gemstone into sharp relief." —Wall Street Journal"[T]he story of the search for the long-vanished mines of the Mayas . . . [with] engaging digressions into plate tectonics, the technology of jade carving and the brutal history of the regimes of a succession of Guatemalan generals. . . . [Prospectors] Ridinger and Johnson endured earthquakes, coups, kidnapping, even civil war. But eventually they stumbled upon huge blocks of the alluring, elusive stone." —New York Times Book Review"The search for the sources of this mysterious rock reads like detective fiction, and involves geologists, archaeologists, entrepreneurs, poachers, and a host of other characters, but it's all true. A wonderful read!" —Michael D. Coe, author of Breaking the Maya CodeSelected as an Indie Next List "Great Read"

About the Author

Gerard Helferich is the author of the widely praised Humboldt's Cosmos, which was a Discover magazine Science Bestseller; High Cotton, which received the 2008 Authors Award for nonfiction from the Mississippi Library Association; and Stone of Kings, an Indie Next List "Great Read."

More About the Author

Gerard Helferich is the author of Stone of Kings: In Search of the Lost Jade of the Maya, as well as the highly praised Humboldt's Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Latin American Journey That Changed the Way We See the World and the award-winning High Cotton: Four Seasons in the Mississippi Delta. Before turning to writing in 2002, he was for 25 years an editor and publisher at several houses in New York, including Doubleday, Simon & Schuster, and John Wiley. He lives in Yazoo City, Mississippi, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, with his wife, the writer Teresa Nicholas. Visit his website at

Customer Reviews

It went so quickly that I was hoping for more but it was good.
For anyone, particularly the history buff, I highly recommend this read.
James M. Browning
Helferich unfolds the story with the style of a first-rate novelist.
Fletcher Cox

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By C. Wong VINE VOICE on September 7, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Theodore Roosevelt and the Assassin: Madness, Vengeance, and the Campaign of 1912 is an amazingly well written and researched book. I have read about President Roosevelt and read his famous book The Rough Riders. I am very familiar with his early life as invalid and his urge to be a man in the west. But this is a chapter in his left that I knew zilch about.

Theodore Roosevelt was a larger than life character, who I would have loved to meet if I had lived in his times. This book brings out his unique personality with all its flaws and brilliance. From this book, I also formed a picture of his assailant, the loner, John Flamming Schrank. He spent a great deal of his time reading newspapers that had a political bent and drinking in bars. John Schrank thought of TR as being a power mad villain who wants to be King. A man who thought shooting TR would be good for the country and that people would eventually thank him.

At first, I thought that this book would be mostly about the man who tied to kill TR but it was a much more in depth picture. The author sets you back in history and the places that the men were. It is also gives you a detailed but succinct history of the four men who ran in this unusual presidential race and why they ran.

The research makes us vividly aware of John Schrank's disturbing dream of President Mckinley rising from his coffin and directing Mr. Schrank to kill TR. We learn about President Theodore Roosevelt's reaction to being shot, how bad it was and the effect on his family. We learn about the rift between President Taft and him and about the Eugene V, Debbs of the Socialist Party, We learn about President Woodrow Wilson.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Thomas G. Matowitz Jr. on October 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover
I was aware that Theodore Roosevelt was targeted by an assassin during the 1912 presidential campaign, but I didn't know the details before reading this fine book. I think the author does an excellent job of recreating the atnosphere of the autumn of 1912 and providing a sense of the motivation that drove John Schrank to shoot Roosevelt.
Declaring, " It takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose !" Roosevelt, with a .38 caliber bullet in his side, proceeded to give an hour long scheduled speech before seeking any medical treatment.
I found the book fast paced and informative and a fascinating window upon a little known incident in presidential history.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By G.I Gurdjieff TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover
For me, Theodore Roosevelt was one of the more enigmatic U.S. Presidents and did not garner his reputation by being a wimp. For someone who started life out as a sickly kid, he distinguished himself in many arenas. He was an adventurer, soldier, fighter and that was just the private side. Publicly he was a reformer, expansionist, statesman, progressive, and larger than life character who put himself out there whether he was attempting to sell an idea or himself as a candidate for political office.
While this book is padded with background information about Roosevelt from his early years and brings him forward in time, it also puts emphasis on the 1912 election for president. Roosevelt had left political office four years earlier feeling that the reforms he started were being left in the philosophically like minded Robert Taft, a personal friend as well as colleague. When things had not gone exactly as planned, a retired but by no means retiring Roosevelt fell out with Taft and decided to run for president again. The Republican Party split in a sense and supported the incumbent Taft. Roosevelt picked up the banner of sweeping reform and ran for office under the Bull Moose banner and energetically launched a full out attack on his opponents which also included an upstart former college president named Woodrow Wilson.
Thus sets the background for the core of this book. Roosevelt begins vigorously campaigning in the South and his appearances travel north. Meanwhile, his rallying call and public position on issues angers some and truly infuriates one John Schrank who speeds into action himself as he stalks Roosevelt with a gun as he follows the campaign trail and the candidate with what he hopes will be a date with destiny.
This is an interesting book with a multi-layered story to tell.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Adele Drake on October 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While binge-watching The Sopranos (yes, I know I am sooo the last one to see it), I was surprised to hear Uncle Junior tell Tony Soprano "You choose this life. It comes with responsibilities. Teddy Roosevelt gave an entire speech once with a bullet lodged in his chest. Some things are a matter of duty." I had never heard of the attempted assassination of Roosevelt, a gap in my knowledge that has been admirably filled by this well-told tale of the madman who stalked a president. The highly emotionally charged politics of 1912 are just as interesting as the story of the assassination attempt and I can't help seeing parallels to our current political climate. A very enjoyable read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C. Pell on January 28, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I've read several books about Teddy Roosevelt, and found the author's focus on TR's attempt at a third term interesting and informative. Although I already knew the outcome of both the election campaign and the assassination attempt, the author's telling of both held me in thrall, nonetheless. A good read!
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