- Hardcover: 752 pages
- Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (October 8, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 067944663X
- ISBN-13: 978-0679446637
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.9 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 33 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,258,372 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life 1st Edition
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Biographers have often treated Theodore Roosevelt as "a larger-than-life monument carved in stone, unchanging, far from being flesh and blood, and quite imperturbable." So writes Kathleen Dalton, who gives us a fully fleshed, quite down-to-earth TR in this vigorous, sometimes critical biography of the 26th president.
Roosevelt carefully crafted an image of himself as a self-made man. Fair enough, Dalton suggests, though he had a big head start in coming from one of New York's wealthiest and best-connected families. More than shaping his body to overcome weakness, his spirit to overcome fear, he had to overcome the prejudices of his time and class in order to be truly fit for leadership, and even as president he wrestled with a few contradictions (opposing, for instance, a woman's right to divorce, but endorsing public flogging of spousal abusers). He was not always successful, Dalton writes, but he emerged in the end as a great champion of civil rights and of the middle and working classes, very much ahead of his time.
There's a lot of interest in Theodore Roosevelt these days--and for good reason, given the recent international turmoil and financial tumble, which, some would argue, beg for TR's patented big-stick and trust-busting treatment. Dalton's Theodore Roosevelt offers a satisfying portrait of a constantly fascinating subject. --Gregory McNamee
From Publishers Weekly
Dalton, a history instructor at Phillips Academy, Andover, seems determined to cut TR down to size and drain his life of color in this dry, questionably reasoned biography. She complains that other books about Roosevelt "are often rich with dramatic adventure and colorful scenes, just as the Bull Moose would have wanted." With this in mind, she sets herself apart from established TR biographers, who she believes have been duped into perpetuating the autobiographical canards of their self-mythologizing subject. Thus Dalton devotes vast chunks of prose to debunking many of the most popular Theodore Roosevelt images common from books by such writers as Edmund Morris and David McCullough. Unfortunately, the shaky foundation Dalton offers instead seems incapable of carrying so full a load as the life of Theodore Roosevelt. In the final analysis, Dalton offers an unsatisfying, one-dimensional definition of TR's complex psychology. She sees him as little more than an overgrown and preposterous boy: a boy who always gets into trouble, a boy who never asks for or follows advice, a boy who needs constant supervision. By the end of the book, it seems a wonder that Dalton's self-centered and fractious TR ever achieved the White House, wrote books that became classics, won the Nobel Peace Prize, set aside millions of acres for conservation, or loomed large on any stage other than that of his own imagination. 32 pages of photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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For example she mentioned that J. Martin Miller, a journalist, lied about TR's drinking. I have a book by J. Martin Miller called "The Triumphant life of Theodore Roosevelt," copyright 1905, which has some rare pictures of TR. I have never before read any other mention of J. Martin Miller.
To anyone who has a mood disorder, it comes as no surprise that TR had one too, although the so-called "normal" people do not understand and think it is an insult to say their beloved TR had one. I started studying him a few years ago, figuring he was a self-actualized person. I wanted to find out how a person with bipolar disorder becomes a self-actualized person. By a great deal of reading and thinking, I realized how he did it. He learned how to deal with stress early in his life. He used studying, writing, reading, exercise and even food to stabilize his moods. What I didn't realize until I read this book was that his wife Edith, aware of his moods, eased much of the stress on him. His bipolar disorder was mild because he worked to learn how to handle stress. Often young people use much less healthy ways to deal with depression and manic depression. They would learn much about how to deal with their moods by studying TR.
I was pleased that the author expounded on his growing social conscience. I think it is very important to show that it is possible to learn and grow your entire life, up to the very end.
I think this book will be cited often by historians.