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Theodore Roosevelt's History of the United States: His Own Words, Selected and Arranged by Daniel Ruddy Hardcover – May 4, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ruddy had his work cut out for him in assembling this history of the United States from the perspective of its 26th president. Roosevelt was a prolific writer, having penned enough for 20 volumes of collected works and written, it's estimated, more than 150,000 letters. Ruddy scoured a hefty portion of these writings, along with speeches, newspaper articles, and personal accounts left by associates, to create a colorful and highly opinionated account of some of the nation's most dramatic episodes. Though the book is comprised entirely of Roosevelt's own words, Ruddy is more than an anthologist; he's an adept editor, seamlessly stitching together passages from a myriad of sources to create a cohesive, informative, and always entertaining read. As a piece of American history however, the book is less valuable, its scope too large to allow for an in-depth examination of events. But as an intimate portrait of one of our most forceful leaders, it's a resounding success. Roosevelt's words breathe life into historical personalities long since reduced to ink and paper. Though his descriptions can be unflattering (Thomas Paine is deemed "a filthy little atheist," and William McKinley purportedly had "no more backbone than a chocolate éclair") they're certainly never dull.
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I have nothing but admiration for a young historian’s ingenuity in putting together what is, in a sense, a Rooseveltian apologia pro vita sua, with not one word of other argument interpolated...A splendid piece of work. (Edmund Morris)

This is a book that everyone even faintly interested in American history will read with amazement and delight. It is nothing less than an historical experience, a journey into our past in the company of a unique and often startling time-traveller. (Thomas Fleming, author of THE INTIMATE LIVES OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS)

“Daniel Ruddy’s Theodore Roosevelt’s History of the United States is a marvelous omnibus showcasing our twenty-sixth president’s flashy wit, statesman-like grace, and original thinking. A real gift to the world.” (Douglas Brinkley, author of "The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt's and the Crusade for America")

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Smithsonian; First Edition edition (May 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061834327
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061834325
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #194,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Teddy Roosevelt, much like Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, was a man of giant intellect, a man whose viewpoints confound contemporary thinkers because they're impossible to categorize into one cohesive ideology (at least by today's standards). Both Roosevelt and Holmes have the great distinction of being both championed and simultaneously maligned from both sides of the political spectrum-no small feat. But Teddy Roosevelt didn't earn his place on Mt. Rushmore by happenstance. Love him or hate him, he was a President who changed the course of US History. And that is why this book is so important.

We grew up being told that those who didn't know history would be bound to repeat it. Roosevelt shows time and again in this book that he was one of the keenest intellects and most studied minds to ever occupy the Executive branch. What's great about this book is that it is all from the mind of Roosevelt himself. There is no getting hamstrung by sloppy commentary or ideological preening (see Evan Thomas's new tome on Roosevelt for a fine example of fantastic history meeting idiotic commentary). So often do writers and historians make the fatal flaw of trying to interpret the thoughts and actions of historical figures as looked at through a contemporary prism. It's poor scholarship and leads to conclusions that do more harm than good.

But here, Ruddy lets Roosevelt speak for himself. The pieces are more than long enough so that the reader isn't left wondering about the true context or whether we were just catching the President on a bad day. And the pieces are put together in such a way that it is easy to see the bigger picture crystallize before ones very eyes. Everything about this book feels objective.
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Format: Hardcover
Theodore Roosevelt's History of the United States is not an objective, balanced portrayal of American history, and readers shouldn't expect it to be. Teddy was a strong man with strong opinions, and he wasn't afraid to give voice to them. In his view, William McKinley had "the backbone of a chocolate eclair," Martin van Buren "faithfully served the mammon of unrighteousness," and "Few criminals have worked as much harm to their country" as John C. Calhoun did. On the flip side, George Washington was "the greatest of all Americans" and Abraham Lincoln was "perhaps the only genius in our political history."

It is those strong opinions that make this book such a fun read, even when readers disagree with what T.R. says - and they will. There's something to offend everyone in this book, but in a society accustomed to political and social leaders who waffle and equivocate lest they offend this group or that, it is refreshing to read words that take a strong stand, even if you think that stand is dead wrong. Roosevelt's love for his country ran as deep as the Mississippi, and that comes through on almost every page. At times his patriotism crosses into jingoism, but the unshakable admiration and optimism he had for his country is uplifting. Those readers who are capable of appreciating directness and strong writing even if they disagree with some of the author's conclusions will find this book a fast and enjoyable read.Theodore Roosevelt's History of the United States: His Own Words, Selected and Arranged by Daniel Ruddy
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Format: Hardcover
As with most non-Americans, I knew little about the writings and acerbic wit of Theodore Roosevelt before reading this book. It is highly readable and and provides an insightful and often very humorous overview of the personalities and politics of the United States in the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Daniel Ruddy has done a masterful job in collecting and distilling the words of TR for both a non-expert and non-American audience. This book held me spellbound from beginning to end. The words and wisdom of Roosevelt, together with the innovative and compelling style and structure of Ruddy, render this a must read work that shall stand the test of time. I strongly recommend this to anyone who wants to know more about both TR and early American history.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Do you like your U.S. history undulterated, unfiltered, and frank? If so, this is the book for you. Dan Ruddy has made a unique contribution to U.S. historical literature by capturing the unique insights of Theodore Roosevelt -- the extremely rare individual who was both an accomplished historian and a former U.S. president with four decades "in the arena" of politics.

To paraphrase another historian, this book is reminiscent of the Hubble Telescope, which peers deep into the universe by operating from orbit and thereby bypassing the disortions from the Earth's atmosphere. In the same way, through Dan Ruddy's new book we view major historical figures from the perspective of the late 19th century and early 20th century without the distortions of political correctness and contemporary history. Some examples:

* Thomas Jefferson: I distrust him and his influence...that slippery demagogue.
* Andrew Jackson: ...in many respects he was not more than half civilized......there has never been a more genuinue and rugged American than Old Hickory.
* Abraham Lincoln: Perhaps the only genius of our political history....the most real of the dead presidents.
* William Jennings Bryan: Bryan is a cheap soul, the cheapest faker we ahve ever had proposed for president.
* William Howard Taft: He is a flubdub with a streak of the second-rate and the common in him.

There are also some interesting insights on TR:

* My business was to take hold of the conservative party and turn it into what it had been under Lincoln, that is, a party of progressive conservatism, or conservative radicalism, for or course wise radicalism and wise conservatism go hand in hand.
* When I asked Booker T.
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