Theodore Roosevelt Biography by Edmund Morris



Well, I'm almost done with volume three of Edmund Morris's three part biography of Theodore Roosevelt.   Whether you agreed with his politics or not, it would be difficult to not be impressed with what Roosevelt accomplished in his life.  Physically, he was a sickly child, who overcame that through sheer will and exercise.  He authored a number of books on nature, naval warfare, and more.  He became progressively more progressive (get it?) as he got older, almost to a point where you would identify him as a liberal.

Yet, he was the leader of the Republican party, and influential in some manner until his death.  His power waned, quickly, after he chose not to run for a third term, but he still held court with many of the powerful member of the part even after his presidency ended.

One thing that shocked me was his machismo attitude toward war and battle and glory.  The whole San Juan Hill thing and Cuba and all that just seems sort of unnecessary, and his reckless charge caused a number of unnecessary deaths.  But he seemed not just unfazed, but proud of the whole thing like it was some great military accomplishment.  Also, the suit he's wearing above is one he designed and had made by Brooks Brothers (I believe), which is weird in and of itself.

He was this strange East Coast elite, who saw himself as 'Colonel Roosevelt', and was definitely a force of nature.  A man of his time, but I always wonder how he would do in today's political climate.  
Either way, I recommend the series.   The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, the first volume, looks at his early life, and his rise to the presidency.  Theodore Rex, is about Roosevelt in power, and his accomplishments.  Colonel Roosevelt, the last volume, explores his life after leaving the office of U.S. President.  Edmund Morris tends to speculate and 're-create' scenes as he might imagine them, but in general he doesn't take too many liberties, and the story of Roosevelt and the analysis of his actions and motives and their impact is an impressive achievement.

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