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by Mark Deakins,Edmund Morris

Of all our great presidents, Theodore Roosevelt is the only one whose greatness increased out of office. When he toured Europe in 1910 as plain “Colonel Roosevelt,” he was hailed as the most famous man in the world. Crowned heads vied to put him up in their palaces. “If I see another king,” he joked, “I think I shall bite him.” Had TR won his historic “Bull Moose” campaign in 1912 (when he outpolled the sitting president, William Howard Taft), he might have averted World War I, so great was his international influence. Had he not died in 1919, at the early age of sixty, he would unquestionably have been reelected to a third term in the White House and completed the work he began in 1901 of establishing the United States as a model democracy, militarily strong and socially just.This biography by Edmund Morris, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award–winning author of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and Theodore Rex, is itself the completion of a trilogy sure to stand as definitive. Packed with more adventure, variety, drama, humor, and tragedy than a big novel, yet documented down to the smallest fact, it recounts the last decade of perhaps the most amazing life in American history. What other president has written forty books, hunted lions, founded a third political party, survived an assassin’s bullet, and explored an unknown river longer than the Rhine?Colonel Roosevelt begins with a prologue recounting what TR called his “journey into the Pleistocene”—a yearlong safari through East Africa, collecting specimens for the Smithsonian. Some readers will be repulsed by TR’s bloodlust, which this book does not prettify, yet there can be no denying that the Colonel passionately loved and understood every living thing that came his way: The text is rich in quotations from his marvelous nature writing.Although TR intended to remain out of politics when he returned home in 1910, a fateful decision that spring drew him back into public life. By the end of the summer, in his famous “New Nationalism” speech, he was the guiding spirit of the Progressive movement, which inspired much of the social agenda of the future New Deal. (TR’s fifth cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt acknowledged that debt, adding that the Colonel “was the greatest man I ever knew.”)Then follows a detailed account of TR’s reluctant yet almost successful campaign for the White House in 1912. But unlike other biographers, Edmund Morris does not treat TR mainly as a politician. This volume gives as much consideration to TR’s literary achievements and epic expedition to Brazil in 1913–1914 as to his fatherhood of six astonishingly different children, his spiritual and aesthetic beliefs, and his eager embrace of other cultures—from Arab and Magyar to German and American Indian. It is impossible to read Colonel Roosevelt and not be awed by the man’s universality. The Colonel himself remarked, “I have enjoyed life as much as any nine men I know.”Morris does not hesitate, however, to show how pathologically TR turned upon those who inherited the power he craved—the hapless Taft, the adroit Woodrow Wilson. When Wilson declined to bring the United States into World War I in 1915 and 1916, the Colonel blasted him with some of the worst abuse ever uttered by a former chief executive. Yet even Wilson had to admit that behind the Rooseveltian will to rule lay a winning idealism and decency. “He is just like a big boy—there is a sweetness about him that you can’t resist.” That makes the story of TR’s last year, when the “boy” in him died, all the sadder in the telling: the conclusion of a life of Aristotelian grandeur.From the Hardcover edition.
Download Colonel Roosevelt epub
ISBN: 030775040X
ISBN13: 978-0307750402
Category: Biographies
Subcategory: Leaders & Notable People
Author: Mark Deakins,Edmund Morris
Language: English
Publisher: Random House Audio; Unabridged edition (November 23, 2010)
ePUB size: 1548 kb
FB2 size: 1584 kb
Rating: 4.2
Votes: 469
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This is the 3rd and last of the bios of TR by Mr. Morris. While I liked "Theodore Rex" better. This book is still an excellent book about one of Americas best Presidents and his time after leaving the White House.

Bottom line - the time left to him (1908-19) was not spent laying around and writings his memoirs. Not this guy! While I shall not bore with the long list of stuff that he did to keep busy. Let us say that most real men would be extremely happy to have done half the stuff in their entire life. Which T.R. did in those few years left to him. He really was a steamroller in Trousers. I myself would like to have what one man said about his death. "Roosevelt must of been asleep when he died. Or there would of been a fight."
Only America, and more precisely, only that America which existed between 1850-1918, could have produced Teddy Roosevelt.

Every once in a while a character springs to life about whom it can be said that he or she is truly an extra-ordinary person, and have that be, quite literally, true. There is often much to admire about such a person, and that is true of T. R. There is also, just as often, much which may be criticized, and that is true of T. R. also, and in spades. However the net result of such a life is that it inspires the rest of us very-ordinary folk to shoot a little higher, strive a bit more and to recognize that, after all, one individual can make a difference.

Edmund Morris' trilogy is superb. I read them as they were published though with a bit of a delay. Biographies fall into that category of "night-time, before I go to sleep, read a few pages and turn off the light", reading. When each book runs upward of 700 pages of tightly constructed prose, it takes a bit of time to get through on that type of schedule. Each of these books however are amenable to that approach. One must be able to "pick up where one left off" without having to go back and review. The writing must stimulate mental images which involve the reader in the material. The subject matter must be interesting and personal and not just endless recounting of facts, figures, policy details, etc. which numb the mind and break the concentration. These books all possess those qualifications and are highly readable.

But if Morris' writing is the proper instrument to convey the information, it is ultimately the subject which determines the worth and no mortal sinner ever walked this earth who was more interesting than T. R.

The man was simply prodigious. How do you encompass a man who: (1) wrote a detailed study of the Naval War of 1812 before he was 25, a work which continues to this day to be a primary reference for any scholarly commentary on that subject, (2) was a recognized expert naturalist who not only wrote regular articles on various aspects of it but was also commissioned by the Smithsonian to supply samples, specimens and analysis of flora, fauna and geography across the globe, (3) was a cowboy & deputy sheriff in the still wild west, (4) raised the "Rough Riders" and lead them in battle in Cuba, (4) was an effective and energetic Police Commissioner in New York City, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, Governor of New York, Vice-President and then President of the United States, (5) winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and was actually deserving of it, (6) was the organizing power and principle for a serious third party alternative to the Democrat and Republican political system, (7) carried an assassin's bullet in his chest until he died, (8) fought off multiple bouts of malaria contracted in his explorations in South America and Africa, and .... well, it goes on and on. T. R.'s correspondence ranged from kings to plumbers. He was never late for a publishing deadline and had a nearly infallible memory for details of reading, conversations and acquaintances. His preserved correspondence numbers in the hundreds of thousands of pages in a day when hand writing or dictation was all that was available.

No one was neutral about T. R. His infectious charm made him at home with virtually every head of state in his life-time and many sought his advice even after he had passed his political zenieth. He was a man to be reckoned with in whatever he undertook to do.

The best description of him, I suppose, is that he was a boy who never quite grew up. Whether playing with his kids or his beloved grand-children, he delighted in energetic activity. Passionate in everything, he was explosive in his anger, mostly controlled to some extent in his public dealings but never so in private. His disgust, mostly well merited, with Woodrow Wilson verged on mania.

One of his first public actions was to propose, as a brand new, virtually unknown delegate, that a black man be nominated to the chair of his state political convention. This was unheard of in the late 1800's but it is representative of T. R.'s mind-set. He was a compromiser par excellence in pursuit of objectives but he never abandoned those objectives and saw compromise as only a step in the process.

T. R. was not religious and hence there was lacking in him that spiritual depth that would have, perhaps, reigned in some of his more egregious characteristics. He was, in his own terms, an advocate of "righteousness" (hence my title above). But T. R.'s brand of "righteousness" took Stoic, Spartan pride to new heights. He was fiercely moral but only according to his own defintion of it. There was a blood-thirsty tinge to most of his life and he thought war a means of purifying the national character and developing its virtue. This lead to him flinging his four sons off to the front in WW I and using all of his political skill to get them posted to combat elements. His sons served with distinction but one, his youngest, did not survive and the others were all deeply affected by the horror that they saw.

T. R. never quite recovered from that.

I do not agree with all of T. R.'s political agenda but his far sighted vision and impact cannot be denied. Perhaps his greatest legacy, humanly speaking, is the National Park system and the present ecological emphasis. He was an elitist in virtually every aspect of his personal life but he never lost sight of the common man during a time when the common man was not very high in political concerns. His brand of Progressiveism is foundational to that which goes by the name today but I doubt seriously that he would agree with where it is now registering. His nationalism would place him far afield from the present advocates of that system.

All in all, this is a man who registers most vividly what America once was and will never be again, for good or for evil.

I would most highly recommend Morris' work. Too many Americans today are ignorant of their history and their heritage. These books will acquaint the reader with not only a man but the nation in which he lived and one cannot help but gain from having that additional depth in his perspective.
Captain America
There have been many books written about the life of this remarkable man and his achievements. Not all sing his praise. I have found that most of our greatest leaders have those who find fault with them for one reason or another. It is always annoying to me. No matter what great accomplishments they did, someone always feels the need to bring them down a peg. This book was not like that. It was unique in that it concentrated on a finite period of his life from 1910 until his death in 1919 at the age of 61.
The Republican Party leaders were hoping he would run again for President in 1920 but the accumulation of trauma he had endured during his life finally took him down including being shot in the chest, malaria and leg wounds during his odyssey in the wilderness of Brazil charting an unknown river.
The book begins in the spring of 1909. He had finished his seven years as President turning the reins over to William Howard Taft. He has gone to Africa on a game hunting safari. It describes the many times his life was at risk. Afterwards he embarked on a visit to the countries in North Africa and Europe. He was greeted with the greatest respect wherever he went. While in Paris he uttered the following words which to me personified the type of man he was. He was bitter that some in academia “sneered” at anyone trying to make the real world better. He said;
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat”.
In my mind that is the perfect epitaph of this great man.
He became disillusioned with President Taft and when he could not win the Republican Primary he started his own party called “Bull Moose”. He won more votes than Taft but with the party split Woodrow Wilson the Democrat candidate became President in 1912. Roosevelt was a progressive and I believe was more Democrat than Republican as he railed against the excessive influence on Congress by the huge Corporations. He was also the strongest and most productive of all Presidents in the preservation of wilderness areas he felt should be preserved for future generations. He believed in graduated income and inheritance taxes on big fortunes, a judiciary accountable to changing social and economic conditions, comprehensive workman’s compensation acts, national laws to regulate the labor of children and women, higher safety and sanitary standards in the workplace, and public scrutiny of all political campaign spending, both before and after elections. He supported women’s right to vote. He tried to establish an understanding that science and religion could co-exist without harming each other. During his years as President he appointed men of color to key positions, most of who were quickly removed under Taft. Wilson’s Administration was also lily white.
At the end of another great speech he said “We, here in America, hold in our hands the hope of the world, the fate of the coming years, and shame and disgrace will be ours if in our eyes the light of high resolve is dimmed, if we trail in the dust the golden hopes of men”.
As the war in Europe struggled on with losses on all sides in the millions and German U-Boats sinking scores of American vessels, he became angry with his perception of Wilson as weak and indecisive. He spoke out for increased preparedness. The country gradually shifted from isolation to participation. It is clear that without the introduction of Americans the war would have stalemated for many years longer.
Roosevelt was a prolific author of books and articles. He had great knowledge of a number of subjects which to me was extraordinary.
I can recommend reading this book by anyone interested in American history.