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Becoming Teddy Roosevelt: How a Maine Guide Inspired America's 26th President Hardcover – February 16, 2010

4.8 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"(M)eticulously researched. . . remarkable. . . reading this book really brings you into every setting the two men shared, from the lumber camps of Maine to the White House." 
--Bangor Daily News

"In Becoming TR, Vietze celebrates the extraordinary qualities of two men: the one largely unsung, the other well-known, larger than life, but rarely shown in so intimate and human a light. It is a joy to read." --Maine Sunday Telegram

"Now the friendship between Roosevelt and Sewall is fully explored. . ." --Boston Globe

"(An) amazing, true-life tale of lasting camaraderie between great men of strikingly different backgrounds and stations. Highly recommended."  --Midwest Book Review

"It's easy to see why the author has won awards for his historical writing . . . it flows at times like a good novel. . . crucial reading for anyone interested in TR." --Big Sky Journal

About the Author

Andrew Vietze, the former managing editor of Down East: The Magazine of Maine, has written for a wide variety of magazines and online publications, including Time Out New York, The New York Times’ LifeWire, Weather.com’s Forecast Earth,Crawdaddy!, AMC Outdoors, Popmatters, Hooked on the Outdoors, Explore, Offshore, Big Sky Journal, MaineBiz, and Maine Times. Two of his pieces for Down East have won awards for feature writing from the International Regional Magazine Association.
Becoming Teddy Roosevelt: How a Maine Guide Inspired America’s 26th President won a silver medal at the Independent Publisher Book Awards, was honored by the Maine State Legislature, and was a 2010 Book of the Year Award finalist in the biography category. It also spent weeks on the Maine Sunday Telegram‘s bestseller list and inspired the Lunder New Naturalists program at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, which uses the story of Theodore Roosevelt as an entry point for middle schoolers into the world of conservation. More than 19 schools and 600 students, are now part of the statewide program.
Vieteze spends six months of each year as a ranger in the wilds of the Katahdin region.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Down East Books; 1 edition (February 16, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892727845
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892727841
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,117,510 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By C. McDuffie on March 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A very appealing insight into the formative years of a young Theodore Roosevelt who was sent to hunt and fish in the Maine wilderness as a way to work out of his doldrums after the death of his beloved father. Under the influence of legendary Maine Guide Bill Sewall, who became his trusted lifelong friend, the experience transformed this indulged and sickly rich city kid, strengthening both his body and his character, and sparking the passion for wilderness which would inspire his later conservation achievements. Good, too, for its glimpse into development of the islolated northern Maine community of Island Falls with Bill and his wife Mary Sewall's boarding house at its center during the booming log drives and the arrival of the railroad. Timely to note that the same railroad line is not profitable any more, and its current owner, the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, is threatening to shut it down.
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Format: Paperback
To begin with, I approached this book with some trepidation. Andrew Vietze could most certainly be classified as a "regional author." He is from Maine and writes about Maine. Now I have found that regional authors come in two sized...they are either great or they are absolutely horrid. There is very little in-between. Well I am here to tell you right off the start that this guy can write and write well! Every page of this book was a delight. I also must note that Vietze has done a wonderful and meticulous job in his research...to the point of being rather amazing at time.

This work is actually a duel biography. We of course have the story of the young Teddy Roosevelt during his young and informative years, but on top of that we have the story of a rather remarkable woodsman from the wilds of Maine who had a tremendous impact of young Roosevelt's life. I had of course heard of William Wingate Sewall having encountered his name in a couple of other biographies of Roosevelt, but these references were more like footnotes than anything else. I would find a paragraph here, a sentence there but like many, had never given this upcountry woodsman much though. This was a pity and we should all be grateful to this author for bringing Sewall's story to light.

Roosevelt first met Sewall during his visits to the Maine woods while a student at Harvard. The author quickly and convincingly points out the impact this mountain man had upon the life, attitude and development of one of our more important and dynamic presidents. Sewell took a rather sickly and citified young man and tested him to the limits; not only physically, but in many ways mentally also.
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Format: Hardcover
Award-winning writer and Baxter State Park ranger Andrew Vietze presents Becoming Teddy Roosevelt: How a Maine Guide Inspired America's 26th President, the extraordinary chronicle of William Wingate Sewall, the Maine woodsman who had a profound effect on young Teddy Roosevelt as his mentor and lifelong friend. Chapter chronicle the remarkable connection between these two men - a connection that almost certainly influenced Roosevelt's passionate love for America's wilderness, and his desire to protect and promote national parks. A handful of black-and-white photographs, chapter notes, and an index round out this amazing, true-life tale of lasting camaraderie between great men of strikingly different backgrounds and stations, highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a good book, much new material on TR's formative years and impact of Bill Sewall, his Maine guide, on transforming the younger Teddy Roosevelt from a sickly young man to a seemingly robust one and helpinng to gel the great character of honesty, rugged individualism, love of the environment, and passion to fight against and defeat corruption. Story of lifelong friendship, continued influence int he badland/ranchman years and after, when TR was president, after he made the decision (mistake?) not to run for relection, and the decision to support the corrupt Blaine to show he was a party loyalist; and his later years, especially the chapter on his decline after the disastrous exploration up the Amazon in Brazil. the book shows his character development and his enduring trait to push on and never give up, no matter how adveerse the oonditions, and deals with the emotioinal difficulty TR faced after losing his wife and mother in a few hours and uprooting his life. This book does have an incremental contirbution and does give insights above and beyond the many books on TR, including the recent ones that are basically rewrites of his ranchman series or others' biographies of him. Book worth buying and keeping if you are a TR fan or a serious historian or presidential scholar. I am the former, and my only regret is that he did not run for relection but supported Taft instead; and watched the country sink back into the corruption and party "hackism" he had fought years to curb. New, personal insights are presented by all of the material from Bill Sewall, who this book is probably a little more based on than TR; but wouldn't have sold nearly as well if that was what the title suggested. I'm very pleased with it and glad I got it.Read more ›
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