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When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt After the White House Paperback – March 10, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (March 10, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684864789
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684864785
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 5.6 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,902,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Chronicles of the post-presidential years of America's chief executives aren't generally scintillating reads. With a few exceptions--Jimmy Carter and Herbert Hoover come to mind--the period after presidents vacate the White House tends to be abbreviated, idle, and a little sad. Patricia O'Toole's absorbing account of Theodore Roosevelt's final decade carries some of this pathos, but she also vividly captures the spark and sometimes reckless vigor of the most vibrant of presidents. Possessed of an irrepressible self-confidence and insatiable appetite for power, Roosevelt made an unconvincing show of stepping out of the spotlight when he declined to seek reelection in 1909, bequeathing the presidency to loyal foot soldier William Howard Taft. Over the course of Taft's one rather lackluster term, Roosevelt embarked on an extended African safari (where the trailblazing conservationist slaughtered hundreds of animals), but upon his return he became embroiled in a battle with Taft for the heart of the Republican Party. When he lost that struggle, he turned to the budding Progressive Party. Under their banner, Roosevelt bested Taft in the 1912 election, but Woodrow Wilson, of course, beat them both. Roosevelt's bursting-at-the-seams life has been thoroughly chronicled, but O'Toole wisely focuses on a period when the never-retiring giant of American politics was wounded (both figuratively and literally--he was shot while campaigning and insisted on giving a speech before going to a hospital), but wouldn't, or couldn't, give up the fight. --Steven Stolder --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Numerous books—most notably Joseph L. Gardner's classic Departing Glory: Theodore Roosevelt as Ex-President—have addressed TR's 10 years of postpresidential life (1909–1919), which will also be the focus of the final installment in Edmund Morris's monumental three-volume biography. While coming up with little in the way of news, O'Toole (The Five of Hearts: An Intimate Portrait of Henry Adams and His Friends) is straightforward and accurate, satisfactorily narrating the well-worn facts of TR's growing dissatisfaction with his hand-chosen successor, William Howard Taft; his own failed bid to return to the White House as a progressive candidate in 1912, and his nearly fatal 1914 exploration of Brazil's River of Doubt. Equally workmanlike is O'Toole's sketching of TR's clashes with the Wilson administration and the drama of his sending four sons off to war (three returned). It's in her consideration of the 50-year-old TR's safari through British East Africa in 1909 that O'Toole takes her narrative beyond earlier accounts via access to the previously unavailable papers of Sir Alfred Pease, TR's host for a significant slice of time in today's Kenya. One wishes she'd expanded her consideration of TR's adventures with Pease and others and made this into a more vivid and interesting book than this one. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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For any TR fan or adventure lover, it is a must.
James Gallen
It is all so very sad that such a great man fell into the comfortable embrace of the need for continued power.
David H. Schmick
Patricia O'Toole completes the story of Theodore Roosevelt in a masterful manner.
John

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Phillips on March 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Woodrow Wilson once said, " A man who makes no mistakes usually makes nothing at all." Wilson in no way intended this statement to be used in praise of his fierce rival Theodore Roosevelt but I can think of no better description of the life of this Bull Moose of American politics. Roosevelt was a man of action and sometimes a loose cannon and Patricia O 'Toole has written a wonderful book which shows very clearly why this quotation so aptly fits TR.

O 'Toole's book covers the last ten years of Roosevelt's life, a time of retirement for a man who was not yet ready to retire. She follows Roosevelt on his African safari, his triumphant tour of Europe, the split with President Taft, the 1912 campaign, the Brazilian expedition, World War I and his preparations to run for President again in 1920. It is a fascinating and enjoyable journey that one undertakes in reading this book and I am glad that this author has given me the chance to follow Roosevelt's journey in print for I doubt that I could have kept up with him in real life.

The main thesis of this book is that Roosevelt had an overwhelming need for power and enjoyed conflict to the point that both of these weaknesses often clouded his judgment. The author makes her point very clearly and backs up her argument with hard evidence, giving the reader very little reason to doubt her argument. She is a little harsh on TR occasionally, especially when it comes to Roosevelt's split with Taft, but for the most part she is very fair and even handed. In the case of Roosevelt's support for the efforts of the government to suppress free speech during World War I and his backing of silly initiatives to ban all things German she is probably too soft on the old lion.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on April 2, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The formerly powerful face a difficult readjustment when they leave their offices. Their individual characters dictate exactly how complicated this transition will be, and we learn a lot about such people by studying how they cope. In WHEN TRUMPETS CALL, Patricia O'Toole examines the last years of the life of Theodore Roosevelt.

Writer, explorer, naturalist, devoted family man, human dynamo, and twenty-sixth president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt was only fifty years old when he completed his two terms of office and had ten years of his life left to fill. He went out on a high note, sure that his personally chosen successor, William Howard Taft, would continue the progressive agenda Roosevelt's two Republican administrations had put in place.

Hoping to avoid the appearance of dictating policy to the new president, Roosevelt distanced himself as far from Washington as he possibly could. He spent his first year out of office on safari in Africa with his son, Kermit. One of the real pleasures of WHEN TRUMPETS CALL is that, because so much of it is drawn from the correspondence of Roosevelt's family and friends, we get vivid portraits of all his intimates, including his sons, who had real challenges in keeping up with their father.

Returning to the United States, it was apparent that Taft would not uphold Roosevelt's progressive work. Remembered as one of our most mediocre presidents, the Taft administration served the interests of big business whenever it could, foiling Roosevelt's legacy. Roosevelt claimed to act out of a sense of duty. He felt responsible that he had chosen an unworthy successor and saw no other way to rectify the situation than to regain the presidency himself.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By David Montgomery on July 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Patricia O'Toole has written a thoughtful and moving account of the post-White House years of Theodore Roosevelt, a period in which he had to face the realization of power lost, at least the power to effect events and be the principal player. Her account of Roosevelt is based on good primary and secondary sources, she particularly relied on many letters which helps to bring out the man. As the author mentioned and the title of the book clearly suggests, Roosevelt loved the sound of the trumpet call and in this book we see Roosevelt answering the call, both for the greater good as he saw it and sometimes for his own personal ambitions.

O'Toole details the many events that took place in this period of Roosevelt's life from big game hunting in Africa, a failed third party bid to win back the Oval Office in 1912, exploration in South America, to the oncoming of the First World War and his stinging criticisms of the Wilson Administration's handling of the war effort, and his own family's sacrifices in serving their country. Each episode is written exceedingly well which makes this a book that is hard to put down. The reader can sense Roosevelt's ambitions, his hopes, his frustrations, and especially his love for his family and the sense of duty and service to country he instilled in his children.

Roosevelt's disappointment with his chosen successor Taft was well discussed in this book, Taft especially seemed to have been deeply hurt by the rift in their friendship. Roosevelt took on more radical progressive stands as he fought his way to the 1912 nomination, perhaps part sincerely and part political calculation.
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