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Hardcover Theodore Roosevelt : An Intimate Portrait of the First President of the 20th Century [Large Print] Book

ISBN: 0786241357

ISBN13: 9780786241354

Theodore Roosevelt : An Intimate Portrait of the First President of the 20th Century [Large Print]

(Book #26 in the The American Presidents Series)

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. An intimate portrait of the first president of the 20th century The American century opened with the election of that quintessentially American adventurer, Theodore Roosevelt. Louis Auchincloss's warm...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

A model for the next four (or eight) years?

History never ends; it merely repeats similar but never identical challenges and opportunities and thus determines the fate of nations and leaders by the response to old events in new settings. And so, President Theodore Roosevelt is a prototype for Barack Obama. It makes this 2002 book a guide to the next four years, perhaps a forecast for the next century. The popular image of Roosevelt is a Rough Rider vigorously charging up San Juan Hill like a Bull Moose -- the Rambo, or perhaps Dumbo, of his generation. This book offers a more astute portrait of a complex intellect who used bravado and the Bully Pulpit as images and not as a crutch. Roosevelt inherited the Gilded Age excesses, just as Obama inherits the wreckage of the Greedy Age; his guiding principle, shaped by his vigorous response to devastating asthmatic attacks as a child, was "the classic credo that every man is master of his fate." He became president when the Great Powers, real or in sorry delusions, were Britain, France, Germany, Austria/Hungary, Russia and Japan. Due to his intellect and ability, he became the moderator of their disputes. The Great White Fleet was a powerful image; Roosevelt was the intellect to which they listened. Had he been president in 1914, could he have prevented or stopped World War I? Auchincloss raises this issue and concludes Roosevelt was deluding himself; however, based on his successes in the Russo-Japanese War of 1905 and the Moroccan Crisis of 1906, he might have succeeded. Roosevelt's words were often bravado, but his actions were common sense and realistic. For example, in 1895 he advocated "an immediate war with Great Britain for the conquest of Canada." In 1903, when faced with the Alaska-Canada border dispute, he settled for negotiation (Canada has never lost a war with the U.S., or won an argument). In conclusion, this is a brief but superb study of Roosevelt's character and major decisions. In some ways he was greatly flawed, but it many ways greatly talented and wise. It's easy to be president if no major decisions are required -- think of Millard Fillmore, president from 1850-53; Roosevelt is an example of the ability to respond to great challenges. May America do as well in the next four to eight years.

Great Introduction to TR

Louis Auchincloss is one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, and while he has certainly received a notable number of awards and sold great numbers of books during a 50+ year career, he is underappreciated in my estimation. This short and imminently readable biography of Theodore Roosevelt shows Auchincloss the historian, not Auchincloss the novelist, at his finest -- though of course, his narrative powers developed in writing novels certainly add to the liveliness. Weighing in at about 150 pages, including notes and timelines, this book is a great introduction to TR for either the serious student of history or the political gadfly. I can also imagine it being used to great effect in a classroom, given its length and the clarity of its prose.

Excellent Series

This is the second volume in the new American Presidents series edited by Arthur M. Schlessinger, and like the first on James Madison, provides excellent, although brief insight into one of America's most fascinating characters. The prime focus of this book is on TR's presidential and post-presidential years. Limited space does not allow for anything more than a brief summary of Roosevelt's early life, which may actually be his most interesting period. Still there is enough to give the reader a basis for understanding Roosevelt's revolutionary power-expanding actions as President. Auchincloss does a wonderful job of filling this short volume with all of the important events of Roosevelt's life while keeping to a very enjoyable and readable style. It is a good introduction to Roosevelt and will leave you wanting to learn more.

Bully Moose

ully MooseThe author likes TR, and it shows. But then he backs up his judgment with a detailed history of this president. Mr. Auchincloss is not afraid to add his own interpretations, and some of them you may not want to agree with. But they are always well reasoned and therefore welcome. Was TR an imperialist? By modern definition of the term one would answer in the affirmative. He condoned the taking of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, the Philippines and the digging of the Panama canal. He built up the fleet and had it sail around the world to demonstrate America?s new might. But he also engineered the peace treaty between Japan and Russia.Was TR a bully? Most decidedly so. He fought hard for what he believed in - and never forgave an insult. But his conduct was built on a basis of honor and chivalry, trying to do what he believed would be best for the people. He took on the likes of Morgan, Gould and Fish because he believed them to be detrimental to the people?s welfare. In the end he outlived himself and his policeman?s ethic.Mr. Auchincloss gives us a stunning, vivid portrait of this great president, in clear and precise language. I highly recommend this book.

Great short overview of TR

Like Auchincloss' earlier short biography of Woodrow Wilson, this book gives a good overview of the character and personality of its subject. A lot of ground is covered in less than 150 pages. Certainly there are more in depth biographies of Roosevelt, such as "Theodore Rex") which was published at about the same time this was) and the earlier biography "TR: The Last Romantic." This book will appeal to the reader who wishes to get to know TR without having to plough through a legnthy tome.What Auchincloss does well is to get the reader to know the subject in relatively few words. Obviously, historical events cannot be covered in exacting detail but, I got the feeling that I understood the personality of Roosevelt as he lived through these events. Roosevelt was a strong supporter of a strong military and, indeed, he left his post as Assistant Secretary of the Navy in order to form the Rough Riders. I couldn't help but to chuckle as Auchincloss describes how he formed this group from, on the one hand, western ranchers and cowhands, but on the other hand, from his social equals of polo players and fox hunters. What a motley crew, but, it worked. One reason for his militarism may be that he was ashamed of the fact that his father paid for a substitute rather than fight in the Civil War.What Auchincloss and Arthur Schlesinger (in his introduction) get across is that Roosevelt was a President whose greatness ws not shaped by events. Many presidents, such as Lincoln and FDR rise to greatness in a time of crisis. There was no such crisis when TR was president and many people could probably not recall a single major event that took place during his presidency, yet, he is remembered as a great president. This may be due to the fact that the force of his personality set a tone. He was a reformer and, indeed he became the head of the liberal wing of the party when he challenged his successor, Taft, and the Democratic nominee, Wilson, in 1912 running on the "Bull Moose" party.Roosevelt set a macho, somewhat gingoistic tone which worked well at the start of the 20th century. Supporting a revolution in Panama against Columbia so as to get control of the area to build the Panama Canal was probably the right type of international intrigue for that period of time. He was the right man for his time and that, ultimately, may be what led to his greatness.
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