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The King and the Cowboy: Theodore Roosevelt…

The King and the Cowboy: Theodore Roosevelt and Edward the Seventh, Secret… (2007)

by David Fromkin

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Entertaining, and easily digested because it treats only one small portion of the life of two large personalities. Gives some insight into both Teddy and the Prince. ( )
  librisissimo | Apr 14, 2015 |
International Relations expert and Historian David Fromkin delivers a slim, elegant little book which puts forward the claim that there was a special relationship between Theodore Roosevelt (the Cowboy) and Edward VII (the King) of England which changed the course of history by creating a special relationship between Britain and the USA which still stands today and which drew the battle lines in World War One by blocking the ambitions of Kaiser Wilhelm II at the Algeciras during the First Moroccan Crisis in 1906. Furthermore he uses this claim to put forward the idea that individual personalities are often just as if not more important than impersonal forces (industrialisation, nationalism, economic structures etc.) in determining the course of history.

Alas in singularly failing to prove the first claim, Fromkin undermines the second as well. The first 4/5s of the book provide us with short biographies of Edward, Theodore and Wilhelm, which are interesting to read (given that they are sprinkled with scandalous tidbits about the peccadillos of the European monarchs in particular) but don't seem to really fully support the thesis. We are told Edward (who had nothing to do with foreign policy directly) exerted an indirect influence through his patronage of pro-French friends in the foreign office. The evidence for this, and its impact is never provided. The special relationship between Roosevelt and Edward amounts to one telegram of congratulations after the conference is over. The conference, which one would expect to be described in depth is passed over in only a couple of pages. In short, Fromkin's thesis does not hold up. At best he shows how Edward VI preferred an Anglo-French alliance rather than the Anglo-German one his parents had wanted and that this preference may have filtered into official British thinking.

A final note concerns odd little irregularities with facts and some (at least to me) debatable interpretations of historical records. Charles I of England was not a Catholic. The Hanoverian dynasty came after the Glorious Revolution of 1688, not the execution of Charles, etc. ( )
1 vote iftyzaidi | Jan 1, 2012 |
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An analysis of the unlikely friendship between Edward VII of England and President Theodore Roosevelt discusses their collaborative efforts at the Algeciras conference of 1906 while explaining how their alliance initiated an international power shift.… (more)

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