- Hardcover: 301 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 22, 1996)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0471126780
- ISBN-13: 978-0471126782
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 3 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,531,882 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Colonel Roosevelt: Theodore Roosevelt Goes to War, 1897-1898 1st Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
The man who likened himself to a "bull moose," says Jeffers in this sturdy second installment (after Commissioner Roosevelt, 1994) of his multivolume popular biography of the 26th president, intended to be elected chief executive in 1904. As it happened, the assassination of William McKinley carried Roosevelt into the White House in 1901. But if Roosevelt's schedule was off, Jeffers convincingly explains, his aim wasn't. Roosevelt emerged from the Spanish-American War with the White House right in his sights. Jeffers is most effective in describing Roosevelt's role in organizing and leading the Rough Riders, but he exaggerates his subject's role in the origin of the war that made this cavalry division famous. Relying heavily on Roosevelt's own accounts, he misses the fact that, as Secretary of the Navy, Roosevelt was widely regarded in the McKinley administration as a loose cannon, respected for his energy but not for his ideas. Still, this is a handsome narrative of a crucial period in the career of one of our country's most colorful politicians.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Teddy Roosevelt recalled, "San Juan was the great day of my life." Four months after he led the charge up Kettle Hill and San Juan Heights, he was governor of New York; three years later he was president. This story has been told by others, including Roosevelt himself (in The Rough Riders, 1900). Basing his work largely on published sources, Jeffers (The Story of Theodore Roosevelt and the New York City Police, LJ 9/1/94) recounts Roosevelt's brief tenure as assistant secretary of the navy and his role in preparing for and participating in the Spanish American War. Here we read of Lieutenant Colonel Roosevelt's recruitment of the loose aggregation of cowboys, Native Americans, Ivy League athletes, and Roosevelt enthusiasts-the Rough Riders-that became the best-known regiment of the war. TR, always alert to the importance of appearance, ordered his uniform from Brooks Brothers. Even so, neither he nor his men were simple dandies. The Rough Riders suffered the heaviest casualties of any regiment-89 out of 490-and Roosevelt was recommended for a Congressional Medal of Honor. A very readable account; for informed readers and scholars.
Nicholas Burckel, Marquette Univ. Libs., Milwaukee
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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The story begins with TR's successful campaign to obtain the appointment as Assistant Secretary of the Navy. Despite President McKinley's prescience that "Theodore is too pugnacious" the appointment was made and Theodore began his crusade for war. For one year TR maneuvered for hostilities with Spain and prepared the Navy for the War which he was creating. Serving notice of his world view in a speech to the Naval War college in 1897, TR ruffled feathers while securing his place as a prominent "jingo", those working for war. During his year in the Navy department, Roosevelt was busy requesting appropriations for ship building, chartering vessels and ordering ammunition and coal, all the while presiding over training of the crews. Having secured the position of Commander of the Asiatic Squadron for his friend, George Dewey, TR took advantage of a day that Secretary Long took off to send the momentous telegram to Dewey ordering him to be ready to seize the Philippines in the event of war with Spain. Despite his horror, Long let the order stand, profoundly changing the history of the 20th century
Leaving TR in the Navy department, Jeffers does a nice, although brief, job of explaining the causes of and agitators for the war. The primary causus belli was the Spanish suppression of the revolt in Cuba. While William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer beat the war drums while President McKinley worked for a peaceful solution. After the sinking of the Maine McKinley lost control of events and was eventually forced to ask for war. When he did, Roosevelt was ready.
Having done what he could for the Navy, TR left to have his share of the fun in the Army. Wisely he accepted a Lt. Colonelcy under Col. Leonard Wood in the First United States Volunteer Cavalry, soon to be known as Roosevelt's Rough Riders. Roosevelt realized that his limited military experience may have delayed the unit's training until the war was over. The Rough Riders were unusual in that most volunteer units were organized by state, not nationally. Although created to admit volunteers from the Southwest, it also attracted many Easterners, including many Ivy League athletes.
Organized in San Antonio, the Rough Riders moved to Tampa for embarkation. Orders kept a portion of the unit in the States, but not Roosevelt. Although lamenting the loss of Rain In The Face, his horse which drowned while disembarking in Cuba, TR approached the landing in Daiquiri with enthusiasm. Organizing his troops, TR got his first taste of combat on June 30, 1898 on the road from Siboney to Las Guasimas. Leading the troops against the Spaniards in the gloom, TR inspired his men as he lead them on to victory. His "Crowded Hour" followed on July 1 when he lead his men up Kettle Hill in the assault on the heights overlooking Santiago.
Having achieved the domineering position over looking Santiago, the destruction of the Spanish fleet by the Navy which TR had prepared, substituted disease for the Spanish as the main threat the Army had to face. During this phase of the campaign, TR, as one without a military career to place in jeopardy, took the lead in demanding the evacuation of the troops from Cuba. Stateside panic that the Army would introduce Yellow Fever, whereas it suffered from malaria, presented a temporary impediment to repatriation. This being overcome, TR accompanied his men to Montauk, Long Island for quarantine and discharge. From there he went on to the governorship of New York and, eventually, the White House. Jeffers also introduces the reader into the subsequent careers of other members of the Rough Riders.
Although somewhat superficial due to its length, "Colonel Roosevelt" does give the reader a good introduction to TR and the Rough Riders in particular and the Spanish American War in general.