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Theodore Rex Paperback – October 1, 2002
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“In Edmund Morris, a great president has found a great biographer. . . . Every bit as much a masterpiece of biographical writing as The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, which won the Pulitzer Prize.” —The Washington Post
“As a literary work on Theodore Roosevelt, it is unlikely ever to be surpassed. It is one of the great histories of the American presidency, worthy of being on a shelf alongside Henry Adams’s volumes on Jefferson and Madison.” —Times Literary Supplement
“Take a deep breath and dive into Theodore Rex, Edmund Morris’s sequel to his 1979 masterpiece, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. . . . He writes with a breezy verve that makes the pages fly.” —The New York Times Book Review
“A shining portrait of a presciently modern political genius maneuvering in a gilded age of wealth, optimism, excess and American global ascension.” —San Francisco Chronicle
“Roosevelt is a biographer’s dream, an epic character not out of place in an adventure novel." —The Christian Science Monitor
From the Inside Flap
Theodore Rex" is the story--never fully told before--of Theodore Roosevelt's two world-changing terms as President of the United States. A hundred years before the catastrophe of September 11, 2001, "TR" succeeded to power in the aftermath of an act of terrorism. Youngest of all our chief executives, he rallied a stricken nation with his superhuman energy, charm, and political skills. He proceeded to combat the problems of race and labor relations and trust control while making the Panama Canal possible and winning the Nobel Peace Prize. But his most historic achievement remains his creation of a national conservation policy, and his monument millions of acres of protected parks and forest. Theodore Rex ends with TR leaving office, still only fifty years old, his future reputation secure as one of our greatest presidents.
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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.
Theodore Roosevelt is one of my favorite Presidents and Twentieth Century historical figures. "Theodore Rex" narrates and discusses the period of time from the assassination of President McKinley in 1901 through his successor Roosevelt's presidential years into early 1909. Morris paints Roosevelt in the light that Roosevelt himself selected through his larger than life attitude, mannerisms, and behavior. It is through his immense character and will that the U.S. was irrevocably transformed into the global power that fought successfully in WWI, and built the foundation which carried us through WWII and into the modern age. Take an excerpt from page 448, for example: "Then came twin measures establishing the liability of federal agencies and common carriers for negligence-caused job accidents. A pleasedly firm presidential signature, inscribed with an eagle quill, granted Oklahoma statehood. The last two days of the month, and of the session, brought protection for Niagara Falls from hydroelectric despoilment, immunity for witnesses in antitrust cases, stricter standards for alien naturalization, a lock system for the Panama Canal, and three major laws Roosevelt most wanted: the Railroad Rate Regulation Act on the twenty-ninth, and the Meat Inspection and Pure Food and Drug Acts on the thirtieth." This paragraph lists one of many string of successes attributed to this great man. In addition to those previously listed he won the Nobel Peace Prize for mediating the Russo-Japanese War, reached a Gentleman's Agreement on immigration with Japan, and sent the Great White Fleet on a goodwill tour of the world after rebuilding America's naval forces. Some of Theodore Roosevelt's most effective achievements were in conservation though where he added enormously to the national forests, reserved lands for public use, and fostered great irrigation projects after seeing and being awed by the American West. Morris does a splendid job of providing day to day interaction between the President, his Cabinet members, and other notable politicians of the day such as Henry Cabot Lodge, etc. Ending with the inauguration of President Taft, Morris' book at 772 pages proves itself as a valuable source of biographical information on one of the most interesting Presidents in U.S. History. Complete with a thorough bibliography and exhaustive endnotes that add to Roosevelt's insights and understandings I rate this book at five stars without hesitation or reservation.