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The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (Modern Library Paperbacks) Paperback – November 20, 2001
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“Magnificent . . . a sweeping narrative of the outward man and a shrewd examination of his character. . . . It is one of those rare works that is both definitive for the period it covers and fascinating to read for sheer entertainment. There should be a queue awaiting the next volume.”
-W. A. Swanberg, The New York Times Book Review
“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.”
-Robert Kirsch, 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 book is beautifully written as well as thoroughly scholarly-clearly a masterpiece of American biography. . . . Hundreds of thousands will soon be reading this book . . . and will look forward, as I do, to Morris’s second volume.”
-Kenneth S. Davis, Worcester Sunday Telegram
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Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
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.
I knew very little about Roosevelt going into this book and I can't understand why, as a New Yorker, I never learned about this most remarkable New Yorker in school. Children should learn his story - it's an exciting adventure that could ignite a lifelong love of history in a child.
In my opinion, the thing that makes "The Rise..." great is that Edmund Morris worked so hard to convey his enthusiasm for his subject through his writing. His fascination with TR is contagious. I caught it immediately and am so glad that I did.
Roosevelt was simply amazing. A true Renaissance Man. He overcame childhood illness with sheer will and determination. He authored books on subjects as wide-ranging as naval history, ornithology, the West. He took the New York Assembly by storm at 23. He was (to name a few things) a rancher, a mayoral candidate, a reformer, a police commissioner, an assistant Secretary of the Navy. And then came the Spanish-American War and his heroic stint as leader of the Rough Riders. He was semi-reluctantly drafted to be McKinley's Vice President and "The Rise..." takes us up to the days after an assassin's bullets felled McKinley and Roosevelt was (at 42) on the brink of the Presidency as McKinley hovered near death.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The rise of tr was fantastic. Every page was extremely interesting. Many, many facts? Recommend to everyone. What a man!Published 8 days ago by Amazon Customer
This is a long book yet fully 25 percent is the footnotes. But that is a good thing. It gives the book authenticity. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Kevin Lloyd
A superb book with staggering detail which provides a realistic portraits of one of our great presidents. It portrays both his successes & failures. A very erudite writer.Published 24 days ago by Fred Seff
A fantastic first volume to the life of the 26th President of the United States. Well written and researched, this book takes you from all the way from his childhood growing up in... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ben B.
Compelling story, exquisitely written. Roosevelt was one of the giants of his era, and Morris shows he had a personality to match his importance.Published 2 months ago by Megan Trouright