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Theodore Rex (2001)

by Edmund Morris

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3,412352,630 (4.17)92
Describes Theodore Roosevelt's presidency as he faced the challenges of a new century in which the United States would become a world power, and discusses his accomplishments and failures, the enemies he made, and his family life.
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Teddy Roosevelt set the agenda for twentieth-century America. After assuming the presidency because of an assassination (McKinley), Roosevelt provided a successful progressive trajectory for the coming century. Because of him, America prospered and prospers still.

He impacted just about every major area with his touch. He helped start the area of land conservation. He introduced legislation to improve transportation by ending the railway trust. In foreign policy, he mediated negotiations to end the Russian-Japanese War and won a Nobel Peace Prize for it. He was called the greatest American president since Abraham Lincoln. Indeed, in terms of impact of twentieth-century presidents, he shares company with only Ronald Reagan and his cousin Frankline Roosevelt.

As a part of a biographical trilogy, Morris tells the tale of his presidency from when Roosevelt found out he was president (in a well-told and interesting introductory chapter) all the way to Roosevelt’s departure from the White House after handing the reigns to Taft. Roosevelt’s gregarious personality is difficult to capture because of its outsized strength; however, Morris seems equal to the task and often quotes TR to provide vivid and intimate access to the genius.

Are you interested in how America transitioned from a gilded age of nineteenth century sputtering to the bustling giant that it is today? You have to go through the masterful Teddy Roosevelt. Do you want to learn about him? If you do, you have to go through his masterful biographer Edmund Morris. Do you want to master his rise? Read the entire masterful trilogy.

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  scottjpearson | Jan 25, 2020 |
This was really well written. I'm coming to truly appreciate Roosevelt as a master politician and as someone who truly enjoyed life to the fullest. He was definitely a different breed of Republican than what we see today. (He initiated some of the first labor laws, set natural resources above profit and he was the first President to dine with a man of color in the White House. That last decision almost cost him his second term.) ( )
  pmtracy | Dec 17, 2019 |
A good portrait of an energetic President. For me, though, Morris didn't quite bring Roosevelt to life. The book is often at a high level, missing the personal details.

> Roosevelt ordered simplified spelling of some three hundred frequently used words. Such changes, he argued, were "but a very slight extension of the unconscious movement which has made agricultural implement makers and farmers write plow instead of plough … just as all people who speak English now write bat, set, dim, sum, and fish, instead of the Elizabethan batte, sette, dimme, summe, and fysshe." ( )
  breic | Sep 1, 2019 |
Really, really great book. I enjoyed this as much as the first in the trilogy by Morris about the life of Teddy Roosevelt. What a fascinating figure in history. I very much admire TR's ability to plow ahead with what he felt was right no matter what. His ability to convince others to take his side on issues was amazing. His personality is one I feel we need back in politics today. While he was not a perfect human being by any stretch, I feel that he certainly performed with the moral high ground as President.

I am excited to read the third and final book about TR in this series. He has easily become one of my favorite historical people, and I would recommend this book to any lover of history or anyone who wants to read a really great narrative. ( )
  msaucier818 | Apr 9, 2018 |
Biography of Theodore Roosevelt ( )
  JackSweeney | Jan 9, 2017 |
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To my Mother and Father
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THE0D0RE ROOSEVELT became President of the United States without knowing it, at 2:15 in the morning of 14 September 1901.
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'It is necessary patiently to wait,' Bunau-Varilla replied, 'until the spring of the imagination of the wicked is dried up, and until truth dissipates the mist of mendacity.'
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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