Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (Modern Library Paperbacks), The

Edmund Morris
Described by the Chicago Tribune as "a classic," The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt stands as one of the greatest biographies of our time. The publication of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt on September 14th, 2001 marks the 100th anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt becoming president.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2017-03-07
[The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt] is a dense, but fascinating tale of TR's meteoric rise to the White House. From his sickly, asthmatic youth as a globetrotting child naturalist through his years as a legislator and reform politician and later cowboy adventurer, Roosevelt lived a life of almost fictional proportions. Some of his many accomplishments include: a distinguished ornithologist, Harvard graduate with honors, historian, author, state assembly man, lover and husband, rancher, police commissioner, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Colonel, New York's state governor, Vice President ... and finally President to name a few. All these experiences along with plenty of tragedy, shaped ad modeled Roosevelt into the national character that took over the nation at the turn of 20th century. What makes Morris' book so good is his ability to make the more mundane aspects of his early success in the New York State legislature as intriguing as the capture of the trio of horse thieves lead by Redhead Finnegan in the Badlands of South Dakota. Edmond Morris relies heavily on primary sources to produce a complete picture of both the public and personal life of such a multidimensional and enigmatic man who was Theodore Roosevelt. While it is clear that Morris deeply respects and admires his subject, he doesn't shy away from the character flaws that color TR's thinking and relationships with the public. I liked that Morris, as biographer, had enough faith in his audience to let them formulate their own opinions of TR, without the bias push in one direction or the other. I can see people coming away from this book with either loathing the bigoted bully that almost always gets what he wants, or with admiration for the way TR struggled against, stayed true to his principles, and forged his own path. I am of that latter group. It was also nice to see that Morris was able to capture the evolution of TR's ideas throughout his early career, from a high-minded elitist trying to stomp out corruption to the conservationist, and trust breaking president he would become.
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