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Theodore Rex Paperback – October 1, 2002
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In this lively biography, Edmund Morris returns to the gifted, energetic, and thoroughly controversial man whom the novelist Henry James called "King Theodore." In his two terms as president of the United States, Roosevelt forged an American empire, and he behaved as if it was his destiny. In this sequel to his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Morris charts Roosevelt's accomplishments: the acquisition of the Panama Canal and the Philippines, the creation of national parks and monuments, and more. "Collaring Capital and Labor in either hand," Morris writes, Roosevelt made few friends, but he usually got what he wanted--and earned an enduring place in history.
Morris combines a fine command of the era's big issues with an appreciation for the daily minutiae involved in governing a nation. Less controversially inventive, but no less readable, than the Ronald Reagan biography Dutch, Theodore Rex gives readers new reason both to admire and fault an American phenomenon. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From Publishers Weekly
The second entry in Morris's projected three-volume life of Theodore Roosevelt focuses on the presidential years 1901 through early 1909. Impeccably researched and beautifully composed, Morris's book provides what is arguably the best consideration of Roosevelt's presidency ever penned. Making good use of TR's private and presidential papers as well as the archives of such protgs as John Hay, William Howard Taft, Owen Wister and John Burroughs Morris marshals a rich array of carefully chosen and beautifully rendered vignettes to create a dazzling portrait of the man (the youngest ever to hold the office of president). Morris proves the perfect guide through TR's eight breathless, fertile years in the White House: years during which the doting father and prolific author conserved millions of Western acres, swung his "big stick" at trusts and monopolies, advanced progressive agendas on race and labor relations, fostered a revolution in Panama (where he sought to build his canal), won the Nobel Peace Prize for mediating an end to the Russo-Japanese War and pushed through the Pure Food and Drug Act. John Burroughs once wrote that the hypercreative TR "was a many sided man, and every side was like an electric battery." In the end, Morris succeeds brilliantly at capturing all of TR's many energized sides, producing a book that is every bit as complex, engaging and invigorating as the vibrant president it depicts. Illus. (On-sale: Nov. 20)Forecast: Long-awaited, this volume comes out in the centennial of TR's rise to the presidency. Morris's gift for storytelling and his outstanding reputation from volume one (and perhaps his notoriety for the controversial Reagan bio Dutch) should guarantee large sales.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Roosevelt was a political paradox. As a Republican he favored a strong national defense and was responsible for modernizing and increasing the size of the United States Navy. He also strongly favored capitalism and was against any hints of socialism in any form, yet he was pivotal in ushering out the era of laissez-faire economics and fought for stronger government regulation of business through the new Interstate Commerce Act, of which he was a major driving force. In direct opposition to Republican doctrine both of his era and today, he favored a much stronger centralized government.
Above all, Roosevelt was both a man of strong character and moral values, and he was a man of action.
People in Washington D.C. were understandably nervous about a Roosevelt Administration. Everything about his past blared out that the guy never did anything small. It is a time before broadcast radio, the automobile, child-labor laws, food safety, conservationism and worker rights. But other things will sound all too familiar to present-day politics: power struggles in both domestic and the world theater, the arrogant rich manipulating the levers of Washington by throwing gobs of money at it, outsized egos, hypocrisy and Congressional stonewalling. There are also some bon mots like President Roosevelt near-death experience during the first year of his administration and the story on how the teddy bear came to have his name. Other notables of the era such as Henry James who came up with the name Theodore Rex, Henry Adams, J.P. Morgan, Booker T. Washington and Oliver Wendell Holmes make appearances. Also, Mr. Morris focuses on other key, powerful figures who have unjustifiably faded from memory like Elihu Root and Philander Knox.
The man's presidency was one of progressive movement forward. My God, the guy was instrumental in dramatically expanding our national parks, starting the construction of the Panama Canal, making our Navy a world power, taking on trusts or monopolies through the use of the Sherman Act, helping end the Russo-Japanese War and reluctantly walking away from the presidency when he could have easily had a third term. He, much like his distant relative Franklin Delano Roosevelt came to be viewed during his presidency, was looked upon as a traitor to his class. I came to laugh at many of the dire, end-of-the-world predictions by Wall Street and conservative politicians because of President Theodore Roosevelt's progressive actions. Even back in the early 1900s, socialism was thrown about with such abandon by conservatives at even the slightest hint of trying to help the downtroddened. It all sounds EXACTLY like what we hear today. I must stress that I don't believe the book holds up as well as a stand-alone biography. Read the "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" first. Great history such as Mr. Morris's entertaining and informative biography helps me keep life in perspective.