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Theodore Roosevelt: The American Presidents Series: The 26th President, 1901-1909 Hardcover – January 4, 2002
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He was also, writes Louis Auchincloss in this lucid biography, an extraordinary leader, "a political idealist who had the wisdom to know that only by astute and well-considered compromise in our legislative process could he hope to see enacted even a fraction of the social and military programs that he deemed ... essential to the welfare of his nation." Compromise he did, of course, though in the end the war hero and trustbuster could not bring the right wing of the Republican Party to see the wisdom of his reformist ways. The result, Auchincloss chronicles, was a terrible split, bringing about the defection of liberals from that once-liberal institution and the birth of a political war that still rages.
With a keen eye for political nuance and a clear appreciation for Teddy Roosevelt as a one-of-a-kind, self-made man, Auchincloss offers an engaging view of a great American president. --Gregory McNamee
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Top Customer Reviews
Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. has a standard Introduction to each volume. With respect to TR, some of his observations are apposite. On page xv, he says: "Great presidents possess, or are possessed by, a vision of an ideal America." Surely, that describes Roosevelt. At another point, Schlesinger says that (Page xv): "To succeed, presidents must not only have a port to seek but they must convince Congress and the electorate that it is a port worth seeking." Both observations seem to fit TR, where they did not fit Warren Harding or Chester Arthur or Rutherford Hayes or Benjamin Harrison or. . . .
The book begins by describing TR's rather well off childhood. Some problems. His beloved father dies prematurely. He had physical ailments. To address the latter, he exercised and even spent time in the Wild West, building himself up physically.
His public life began in rather exotic positions, such as president of New York City's Board of Police Commissioners. He was named as Assistant Secretary of the Navy after William McKinley's victory in the presidential campaign of 1896. After the Maine's destruction and the road to war with Spain, he resigned and, as we all know, became head of a group of troops named "The Rough Riders." After estimable service in Cuba, he returned as a war hero.Read more ›
The American composer Scott Joplin wrote a delightful ragtime called "The Strenuous Life" in honor of TR but with a hint of satire as well. The phrase aptly describes TR and his era. A sickly child born to great wealth, the twelve-year old TR took seriously his father's injunction to "make your body!" as well as his mind. TR became a dynamo, moving out west to become the owner of a cattle ranch in Dakota in the 1880s and leading the fabled charge of the Rough Riders up San Juan Hill in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. In the midst of a busy life, TR found time to write about 40 books, including his autobiography and innumerable letters.
In his politics, TR developed a unique position as a Republican party regular and as a progressive. He served in the 1880s' as a New York State assemblyman and as Governor of New York, among other accomplishments, before being called to the vice-presidency. He became the 26th president upon the death of McKinley in 1901, and then was elected to a term of his own.Read more ›
Putting to rest the criticism of imperialism, the author demonstrates TR's philosophy of caring for the people, for nature, for the nation, for his family, and his relentless commitment to excellence in all pursuits. Several asides about hunting, ending corruption, and some contradictory information found in various letters, add a glow to this little biography, providing an excellent overview of TR's life. Especially satisfactory were the pieces on the Panama and the criticisms of both Taft and Wilson.
Yet in spite of the fine writing and the keen perceptions provided, the book felt rather confusing at times. Excess detail quickly gave way to broad generalizations. Good stories seemed to dissolve and replaced with a need to get to the end. Most likely the writer was slightly uncomfortable in the genre and desired a more creative outlet for his ability.
For those seeking a truncated biography laced with nice tidbits of political information on TR, this is the one. Anyone wanting more depth and personal information should find a complete biography.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Just the sort of book you need, to read up about one of the U.S.'s great presidents. It isn't too long, and not too short. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Greg Marlow
Interesting but I thought strangely , if not badly written, when I checked on the author. A light weight account but enjoyable.Published 17 months ago by Dale Gibb
As always it was very good, and very informative glad to add it to my collection.Published 19 months ago by George Sandlin
The first tape was really good. The second and third tapes got boring, but the first tape was worth the purchase!Published 24 months ago by Critical Cristy
Marvelous book on his political life and his accomplishments. It should his connections to the Republican party and how defeated corruption in government.Published 24 months ago by RL
I read all the Biographies of the Presidents by way of the Presidential series. If you are going to do it, read John Hancock first because he was the first Continental Congress... Read morePublished on January 31, 2014 by Frank Anderson
While a bit thinner that I had expected, it is a good synopsis of TR's Presidency and legacy, well written.Published on January 28, 2013 by Jeniup
Usually, the "American Presidents" books that I enjoy the most are the ones that aren't so formal and are a bit more relaxed. Read morePublished on August 24, 2012 by Zachary Koenig