26 - Theodore Roosevelt
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River of Doubt
The Rough Riders
T.R. The Last Romantic
Theodore Roosevelt: A Life
The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by Douglas Brinkley
The Bully Pulpit
Roosevelt wanted the motto "In God We Trust" removed from the new $20 gold coin designed in 1907. Roosevelt felt it was blasphemous to use the Lord's name on coins that were so often used to buy "worldly" goods and services. After a huge public outcry, Congress passed a law requiring "In God We Trust" be returned to all United States coinage at once.
He was the first President to ride in an airplane. He flew for four minutes in a plane built by the Wright Brothers on October 11, 1910.
Theodore Roosevelt was our youngest president(He was younger than Kennedy at the time that McKinley was shot and he was inaugurated).
In 1912, Roosevelt took a drink of coffee and exclaimed, "That coffee tastes good, even to the last drop!" Maxwell House got their motto from this.
Roosevelt was the first president to leave the continental U.S. while in office. He went to Panama in 1906.
He won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 for his role of peacemaker in the Russo-Japanese War. He was the first American to ever win the award.
The teddy bear is named after Theodore Roosevelt.
Teddy Roosevelt was a third cousin twice removed of Martin Van Buren, a fifth cousin of Franklin D. Roosevelt, an uncle of Eleanor Roosevelt.
Roosevelt was blind in his left eye. He lost his eyesight when he was boxing.
His favorite word was "bully" meaning great.
Roosevelt had a photographic memory. He could read a page in the time it took anyone else to read a sentence.
Oh and LittleTaiko--it's generally accepted that the Roosevelts, in nearly every family unit, was a "bit odd."
There are a number of good books about Theodore Roosevelt. Mornings on Horseback focuses on his early life, while Theodore Rex covers his years as president. Just last year, Douglas Brinkley's The Wilderness Warrior, which focused on Roosevelt's support of the conservation movement, was published. However, I knew relatively little about Roosevelt and wanted a book that provide an overview of his life. Miller's biography fit the bill nicely.
Roosevelt led an interesting life. I have to think that Roosevelt is a biographer's dream. He was a larger-than-life character who moved from an action-packed childhood to a career as a tenacious New York politician to a heroic turn as a member of the Rough Riders to an unexpected rise to the presidency. In between he wrote a number of books, shot big game, and had a large and active family. Clearly, there is plenty of fodder for a biographer.
Miller took this raw material and turned it into an interesting and coherent story. He includes plenty of relevant and interesting details without belaboring any single stage of the president's life. He helps us understand how the context shaped Roosevelt's actions and how Roosevelt shaped the political landscape during his presidency and for the remainder of his life. While this book made me want to read some of the other more focused Roosevelt biographies, it also stands on its own as a readable overview of a remarkable life.
Along with my Presidential biographies, I'm trying to read a novel that was published during the President's term in office. To accompany Theodore Roosevelt, I read The Jungle. Interestingly, this book was mentioned in Miller's biography because it may have influenced Roosevelt's push for stricter regulation of the food industry.
Also thanks for a good explanation of the differences in these books. Looks like you did a lot of research for all of us.
Re: #11: In Theodore Rex, the author points out the effect The Jungle had on the passage of the Pure Food Bill, so that seems like a particularly appropriate novel to read in conjunction with a TR biography!
It focused entirely on Roosevelt's love of nature and the work he put into creating National parks, national forests, and other natural habitats. He was sort of a contradiction who loved animals, but also the love of the hunt for animals, though he softened up as he got older. And the dude really loved birds. Teddy is one of those larger than life Presidents, so this book only scratches the surface of TR. I did wish he discussed his African safaris and trips to the Amazon, but the book ended after his time in office ended.
A ripping good yarn. Ne'er a dull page.
This book is interesting from start to finish, it tells of a complete life.
This is exactly the book I wanted for my collection of single-volume Presidential biographies. If a researcher of TR wants more information about the Panama Canal, the Battle of San Juan Hill, establishment of the National Parks system, or the 'Square Deal', it may be found elsewhere in the myriad of books written about his concerns. Read this one just for the pleasure of knowing one who was larger then life.
I now have to seek out Nathan Miller's "FDR: An Intimate History".
I am a sympathetic reader and very much enjoyed the details of Theodore Roosevelt as a conservation president. I had no idea he saved the Grand Canyon--according to Brinkley --from mining and extensive tourism interests. This book is a jumping off point for me (it covers so much more than just TR's interest in wildlife and wild places) now I want to read biographies on John Burroughs, John Muir, Gifford Pinchot, and John James Audubon. Theodore Roosevelt's life is an inspiration--made me start keeping a naturalist's journal detailing the natural happenings on a tract of land my husband and I just bought in Eastern Oregon.
On the other hand, I was not as favorably impressed by The River of Doubt, which I read after The Wilderness Warrior. The term "dangerous" must have been used 500 times. It seemed the reader was being led a bit too obviously to be concerned by what tragedy might happen next during their long river of doubt journey. What really happened -- the facts and the people involved was fascinating--I guess Millard's writing style didn't work for me. But, it is a remarkable story detailing one of TR's last significant trips through the wilderness.
One Amazon reviewer writes that the book "is among the worst-written histories I have ever read," and as much as it pains me to say this, I tend to agree. One sometimes gets the impression that the author was so overwhelmed with information, that he had trouble with organization and editing. In fact, at times I couldn't help feeling there was more than one author at work. That is not to say however, that the book is not worth reading - it is! While the writing might fall short in many, many areas (e.g. repetitive, copious non sequiturs, numerous factual errors), this is a great introduction to the ideologies and personalities of the naturalist / conservation movement in America, and a fantastic survey of period literature. There is a great book in there, just demanding to be let out.
One great consequence of the book... It did lead me to read John Burroughs' Camping and Tramping with Roosevelt (1906), which I thorougly enjoyed!
#20 - I felt the same way (loved the book that is!) after reading Robert Caro's The Path to Power, volume one in his "The Years of Lyndon Johnson" series, so I immediately moved on to volume two, Means of Ascent, and am now over 300 pages into volume three, Master of the Senate.
I just bought the Edmund Morris trilogy in hardback, so I'm looking forward to going on that adventure as well!
#21 -- All the Caro books on LBJ are outstanding, but Master of the Senate is at the apex of the stack. That volume can stand alone as a history of the Senate in the first half of the 20th century and LBJ's enormous impact upon it. One of the finest books of history/biography out there IMHO
Second in Morris' three-volume biography of Theodore Roosevelt - easily the most interesting US President for me. Theodore Rex concentrates on TR's presidency (in 550 pages, no less) and is pretty detailed. That's fine since he's discussing some really important topics like the intrigue leading up to the Panama Canal Treaty, TR's trust-busting and capital/labor relations, and the buildup of the US Navy to counter German and British influence in the Western Hemisphere, among others. Morris doesn't just talk about issues and politics, though. Roosevelt the man is the focus: his family, friends, political allies and enemies, his reaching pretty much the pinnacle of power and influence in the US, his walking away from it in 1908. We see TR as less the uber-man and more the man as he ages and mellows a bit.
Morris' writing is top-notch. I'm highly recommending the trilogy - even though I haven't gotten to the third yet, it's hard for me to imagine it fails after the first two succeed so well!
Oh, and yeah, the teddy bear story shows up in this volume. :)
I finished up the third in Edmund Morris' excellent trilogy on Theodore Roosevelt while on a mini-vacation/trip to get the son back to college. As with the other volumes, the story's great, Morris' work is high quality, and the book's highly readable.
This volume concentrates on the years following Roosevelt's terms as President. TR followed big changes with adventures - his safari after leaving office and explored an unknown Brazilian river after losing in 1912 as a third-party candidate. It's one of my favorite thing about Teddy, and these passages were some of the best. Other sections on Teddy's political dealings, both to preserve his progressive ideals and to get Wilson to enter WWI to aid Britain and France - were less interesting, but mainly because Teddy was so ineffective in his attempts at influence, even as he was mostly wildly popular with the public. In the end, this is a book about a man past his prime, both physically and politically, and so has a measure of sadness to it.
The whole trilogy is highly recommended!
The guy was definitely the most interesting President I've read about so far. I certainly don't agree with all his politics but what a character! I had a hard time understanding his passion for conservation but yet his slaughtering of so many animals. I have nothing against hunting but the number of animals he killed during hunts was ridiculous.
gmillar, thanks for the recommendation on the Miller book. I was already into the Morris series but I will probably still pick up the book and add it to my TBR pile. But for now, on to Taft.
Of course, since it is written by himself, very positive look at the man and what he accomplished. Curious thing, he does not mention his wife, other than to say she read to the children. Don't even know her name. I find that rather odd, and a bit off-putting, frankly.
by Kathleen Dalton
Ms. Dalton starts out her biography of Theodore Roosevelt by pointing out his legacy as a caricature--all spectacles, mustache and teeth. She then goes on to present him as a real human being with a significant legacy in American history, but he comes across as no less a character. As she tells the tale, Theodore Roosevelt was a force of nature. He was raised in wealth and imbued with a sense of duty and an obsession to be strong and manly. Roosevelt's father set the tone for his life. Coming from wealthy stock, the elder Roosevelt devoted much free time to philanthropy and social reform. When he died in Theodore's 20th year, he left a high standard for his eldest son to achieve. But the younger Roosevelt managed to go far beyond his father's contributions.
The political climate, in Roosevelt's younger days, saw the rise of civil reform. The liberal Republican party tended to advocate for such, at least in Democratic strongholds, while also becoming the party of finance and business. Roosevelt tried to straddle the middle, having friends and advisors on both ends of the party. He was a great politician when it came to relating to the common people, but his tendency to speak his heart kept getting him in trouble. After his presidency he grew more and more liberal. In one sense he was powerless, yet he was also a man who could not be ignored.
All in all, Ms. Dalton has crafted a wonderful book. She really painted a picture of Theodore Roosevelt and the time in which he lived. I've often said that of the American presidents, John Quincy Adams was the man I admire most. But I may have to re-evaluate that in light of this biography. There were plenty of things about Theodore Roosevelt I find repulsive, but I can't help but admire his character, faith and willingness to stand up for his ideals and the needs of others.
Finished TR: The Last Romantic by HW Brands. Way too lengthy. I was disappointed but I'm not sure if I'm more disappointed in the book for not being a good read or in the president for being so pompous. . . .