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The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (Modern…

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (Modern Library Paperbacks) (original 1979; edition 2001)

by Edmund Morris

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Title:The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt (Modern Library Paperbacks)
Authors:Edmund Morris
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The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris (1979)


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Here was a true, unabashed man's man. If only there was someone on the horizon who even resembled him, our future would be much brighter. He made no excuses. He tried anything within limits of the law to improve government for the people. If there were someone like him today, he would be elected President by a landslide. ( )
1 vote JVioland | Jul 14, 2014 |
First of Trilogy: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Rex, and Colonel Roosevelt
1 vote gandksmith | May 27, 2014 |
A wonderful biography of Teddy's youth that leads up to his presidency in 1901. This is a fantastic biography with lots of "why this is important". In short, it had all the hallmarks of a good history. ( )
1 vote stuart10er | Sep 27, 2013 |
The great thing about reading Edmund Morris is two-fold: he presents extremely thorough research with a enjoyable reading style that makes one feel like they are reading fiction. As a friend put it, it’s like reading a novel, not a biography. It doesn’t hurt that Theodore Roosevelt lived a life that makes easy picking for any biographer.
The first in Edmund Morris’ three part biography of the 26th President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt lived a life full to the brim. Born sickly, he had overcome physical ailments and “built courage by ‘sheer dint of practicing fearlessness.’” Indeed, his life reads in a crescendo that leaves other men wanting:
Published author at 18, of “The Naval War of 1812,” a classic that would go on to find a place in the textbooks for both US and British naval academies.
Married at 22, father and widower at 25, husband again at 28.
Acclaimed historian and New York Assemblyman at 25.
North Dakota ranchman at 26
Candidate for New York City Mayor at 27
Civil Service Commissioner of the United States at 30
Police Commissioner of New York City at 36
Assistant Secretary of the Navy at 38 (and author of the plan that defeated the Spanish in Manila under Admiral Dewey)
Colonel of the First U.S. Cavalry, the “Rough Riders” and a war hero at 39 (yes, he left a near cabinet level position to ride in the cavalry)
Governor of New York two weeks short of his 40th birthday
Vice President at 42…
And that’s just in the first book. Making his living as a working writer, Roosevelt read over 20,000 books and writing fifteen of his own, not to mention speaking French and German, developing and maintaining relationships with numerous leaders in fields scientific, intellectual, and philosophical. His mind was a steel trap and his life steam engine, gaining speed and momentum.
He was a man who was a lifelong learner, knew no bounds to his interests or abilities, and never stopped trying to reach further. Although born to priviledge, Theodore took nothing for granted, and he took every advantage he could to work, read, exercise, challenge himself, and expand his reach. It’s an example that inspires me, and it’s one we could all use.
In a day where people talk a lot and actually do less, Roosevelt reminds us of the power of action, of doing, and that it is those who do that make a difference.
If you’re looking for a readable biography of one of our most colorful presidents, before he was president, pick up Edmund Morris’ “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt.” ( )
1 vote publiusdb | Aug 22, 2013 |
On completion:

This was an absolutely excellent book. It gave me everything I want from a biography. It chronologically relates all aspects of Theodore Roosevelt's life up to his presidency, after President McKinley's assassination in 1901. The next in the trilogy covers his years in the Presidency: Theodore Rex. I will very soon continue with that! I was worried that it might be repetitive, having years ago read (and loved)David McCullough's book Mornings on Horseback. Such a worry was unnecessary. Edmund Morris' book went much further in depth. I completely know now Theodore's personality. I know what he would do and what he would most probably say in a given situation. This author had me laughing at some of the things Theodore had the nerve to say and do! His ego was rather inflated, to say the least, but that doesn't mean I didn't also find him highly worthy of admiration.

Gosh, I have never run into someone with so much energy. Absolutely never. Please read the comments left below this review if you want more details of some of the events in this book. I should say that not a word have I mentioned about Theodore's "Rough Riders" of 1898 and his role in the Spanish-American War. You simply must read the book to find out about that! It is engaging and amazing and funny! This author made some of the events of that war hilariously amusing! Is that possible? Yes!

I honestly cannot think of anything to complain about in relation to this book OR its narration by Mark Deakins. OK, only one thing, and it is so very minor that it is pitiful. The narrator would read the date July 1, 1900, as "July one 1900" rather than "July first 1900". THAT is the only puny complaint I can think of. I compared Deakins narration to the Theodore's own speeches found on Utube. Deakins perfectly bit off and spit out his words, as Theodore learned to do in his fight against asthma.

If you are in the least interested in Theodore Roosevelt, then read this book.....even if it is very long! I will soon be reviewing the next in the trilogy to see if it too is as amusing and interesting and engaging as this one as proved to be! In fact you do not even have to be interested in reading about presidents to choose this book. He is an amazing person. I have never run across someone like this.


I have listened to about 3/4 of the book. I am thoroughly enjoying it. By that I mean sometimes I feel like clobbering Theodore and then later I want to hug him. He has qualities that are m-a-g-n-i-f-i-c-e-n-t. I like that this author has shown me both sides to such a degree that I hate him and love him. In the comments below this review I have gone into details. If you are looking for more details, please check them out there. Really good book and really good narration by Mark Deakins. Yes, this is long, over 26 hours and only the first of a trilogy, but well worth every minute.


My first impressions:
Once you get beyond the prologue, this book grabs your attention. I do understand that the purpose of the prologue is to show the outstanding characteristics of the man, but it throws in names and details that have no depth. That is impossible in a prologue; that is why you are reading the book, and this is the first of a trilogy on Theodore Roosevelt. The next, [book:Theodore Rex|40923], covers his two terms as president. [book:Colonel Roosevelt|7993566] concludes his life story.

What you immediately draw from the prologue is the energy of the man. In 1907 in the White House he shook hands with all those invited to say: “Happy New Year!” Quickly, at the speed of 50 per minute. (Skeptical me….is that possible?) He set a record with this, no one else for a century shook hands so quickly and with so many. But what does this says about him? Think about it. What we immediately grasp from the prologue and then the following chapters on his youth is how the hyperactive youth develops into a man of strength and vitality. From a very young age he has serious bouts of asthma. His father takes him aside and discusses his physical disability. Theodore declares that he will conquer his body! “He will make his body.” His fight for survival shaped him and it strengthened him; it made him a fighter.

From the very first chapters we see the man who came to be a conservationist. He started his “Roosevelt Museum of Natural History”, to the disgust of family and servants. Smelly! He learned taxidermy. He had is head in a book, often standing on one leg that gave him the pose of a flamingo. He scientifically observes the world around him, and what delight he discovers when he finds that with glasses he can actually see the world around him. He had no idea the world could be so sharp. He wrote in a diary. He wrote letters. Many, many remain and they reveal his personality, his inborn humor. In a letter to an Aunt when he is on tour in Egypt he remarks, “I may as well mention that the dress of the inhabitants up to ten years of age is nothing! After that they put on a shirt descended from some remote ancestor and never take it off until their death.” He did like Egypt. He now had glasses and he scientifically observes and records all that he sees of the fauna. The birds, so many birds! But he is still an ordinary boy. He learns to box, to defend himself vis-à-vis peers. He groans over his father dragging them all off for a year in Europe.

How Theodore views his own illness is reflected in this quote from a letter sent to his father when he was a young teenager, alone with two siblings in Dresden. (His father thought it important to encourage his children’s independence.) Here are the lines:

I am at present suffering from a very slight attack of asthma. However, it is but a small attack, and except for the fact that I cannot speak without blowing up like an abridged edition of a hippopotamus, it does not inconvenience me much. We are now studying hard. Excuse my writing; my asthma has made my hand tremble awfully. (chapter 2)

He views even himself with humor. The importance of books, his interest in fauna, his asthma and his staunch character are all evident in these lines.

The prologue was too stuffed, although I do understand its purpose, but then the book takes off with delightful details of Theodore’s youth, the characteristics he was born with and the events that shaped him. This book starts well. I hope it continues so. I just had to tell someone.

Completed June 17, 2013 ( )
2 vote chrissie3 | Jun 17, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Edmund Morrisprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Deakins, MarkNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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At eleven o'clock precisely the sound of trumpets echoes within the White House, and floats, through open windows, out into the sunny morning.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt is hte story of seven men - a naturalist, a writer, a lover, a hunter, a ranchman, a soldier and a politician - who merged at age forty-two to become the youngest President in history. Twenty-one years ago, this classic biography (the first volume of a planned trilogy; the second volume Theodore Rex is available in paperback from the Modern Library) won both the Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award, and since then it has never been out of print.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375756787, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:26:05 -0400)

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The story of seven men--a naturalist, a writer, a lover, a hunter, a ranchman, a soldier, and a politician--who merged at the age of 42 to become the youngest President in history.

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