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Paperback The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt Book

ISBN: 0375756787

ISBN13: 9780375756788

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

(Book #1 in the Theodore Roosevelt Series)

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Book Overview

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE AND THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD - One of Modern Library's 100 best nonfiction books of all time - One of Esquire's 50 best biographies of all time

"A towering biography . . . a brilliant chronicle."--Time

This classic biography is the 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...

Customer Reviews

7 ratings

Excellent book, riveting read!

Absolutely love this book! I can hardly put it down. The descriptions and details are absolutely interesting. I feel my brain getting bigger as there are many sophisticated words that make me pause to go get a dictionary— but totally not needed unless you have an overly curious mind. 5 stars for this book. I’m planning to buy a copy for my dad as well.


I love the quality and attention to detail Morris has put into this book. For me, the initial few pages are complete magic. You can almost see Roosevelt making his way through the crowd, his famous teeth bared for all to see, giving a handshake to both young and old, rich and poor. Informative and inspiring. Frankly felt more like reading an adventure novel than a biography, TR's life is just that interesting. I will definitely be reading the other two books in the trilogy.

Not Just a Great Biography, But a Work of Art

Edmund Morris's "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" is a magnificent biography, perhaps the best I've ever read. In it, Morris follows the life of Theodore Roosevelt from his birth in a New York City brownstone in 1858 to his assumption of the U.S. Presidency in 1901. The book is the first of three volumes Morris plans to write on Roosevelt, the second of which --"Theodore Rex" -- was released last year.In more than 700 pages of text in this book, there is hardly a dull page. The main reason for this, of course, is TR's fascinating, energetic life. He was -- in no particular order -- an amateur naturalist of note, a decorated soldier, an historian, a rancher in the Badlands, a government officer pushing for reform in the civil service, Police Commissioner, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, a state assemblyman, New York's Governor, and finally Vice President. It would be difficult to write a dull book about such a man.But Morris deserves some credit as well. I've read several other biographies of Roosevelt, and while many of them are quite good -- even great -- this is the best. I believe Morris's style as well as his control of the material is the best explanation for this. Much of the writing is beautiful. Even Morris doesn't approach it in his other books. But here Morris shows a poet's gift for metaphor and simile. In explaining how reserved, emotionally stunted men like Henry Adams, Thomas Reed, and Henry Cabot Lodge put up socially with the rambunctious Roosevelt, Morris writes they "...grew dependent upon [Roosevelt's] warmth, as lizards crave the sun." There are numerous examples like this in the book.While "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" should probably be described as a political or historical biography, one doesn't need to have the slightest interest in either to enjoy it. Roosevelt's own ambition and energy, the circumstances of his life, and Morris's writing will drive anyone's interest.

"When the wolf rises in the heart..."

Theodore Roosevelt... Harvard graduate, historian, New York state assemblyman; rancher, Civil Service Commissioner, New York City Police Commissioner, Assistant Secretary of the Navy; Commanding officer of the "Rough Riders;" war hero; Governor of New York; Vice President, and then President of the United States. All of these accomplishments by the time this extraordinary man reached 42 years of age. Theodore Roosevelt's historical achievements are indeed most impressive! In his Pulitzer Prize-winning biography "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt," biographer Edmund Morris masterfully chronicles the life of this mercurial, complex, and paradoxical man who became the 26th President of the United States.Morris's brilliant narrative depicts Theodore Roosevelt as a man who towered over his world. Yet who would have guessed at future greatness for this, the oldest son of one of New York's wealthiest and most respected families? A sickly child, afflicted with constant bouts of asthma and chronic diarrhea, he is seen by his parents as a child "with the mind, but not the body..." for high achievement. But the young Roosevelt senses his own potential for greatness and resolves to strive mightily to achieve it...Throughout his life, TR is a man of many paradoxes. Largely self-educated, he eventually attends Harvard University, from which he graduates magna cum laude in 1880 with a Phi Beta Kappa key in one hand and a membership in Porcellain, Harvard's most prestigious social club, in the other. The son of a wealthy philanthropist, he eschews the traditional, genteel, upper-class lifestyle in favor of the rough-and-tumble of New York politics. A member of the Republican party, he champions progressive reform. By age 26, he has served two terms in the New York state assembly; has earned the begrudging respect of his colleagues; and has authored several significant pieces of reform legislation.After the death of his first wife, Alice Lee Hathaway Roosevelt, and his mother, Mittie (both women die on the same day, in the same house) TR flees New York, heading to the harsh, uncompromising Dakota Badlands to earn his living as a cattle rancher and writer of history books. Here, in this barren country, a startling transformation takes place. The thin, sickly youth of sallow skin and frail constitution becomes the muscular, tanned, robustly healthy man known to history."The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" vividly demonstrates how this intensely energetic politician used his forceful personality in the cause of badly needed reform at all levels of American government. As Morris points out, Roosevelt puts his personal stamp on nearly everything he undertakes. As Civil Service Commissioner during the Harrison administration, he publicly - some say bumptiously - investigates claims of graft and corruption within the Civil Service. He alienates many colleagues, but achieves lasting results. During his tenure, the Civil Service expands dramatically, despite fier

Without a doubt, the best presidential biography ever!

With all due respect to David McCullough's "John Adams" and Robert A. Caro's impressive Lyndon Johnson volumes, this is the best presidential biography ever written.Starting with Theodore's birth and ending with the death of President McKinley, thereby making Vice-President Roosevelt the youngest (still) President ever, this book covers every aspect of Roosevelt's life and his ascent in politics .We see him change his mind over and over in college about what career he will pursue. We witness him attempting to win over the heart of Alice and later her death while in labor on the same day as his mother's death from cancer. We follow his rapid political career. First as state assembly man, then as federal Civil Service Commissioner, then New York City Police Commissioner. Also well documented and are his years as Governor of New York, Assistant Secretary of the Navy (his passion) and finally his short stint as Vice-President.More than anything else, we see Theodore Roosevelt the human. His personal triumphs and defeats. His loves (hunting, reading, writing and reforming) and his dislikes (corruption, ignorant people who have more power than him). We also see him at his happiest and his darkest days.As a former resident of North Dakota, I always heard about Theodore Roosevelt while growing up. After reading this first part of the planned trilogy, I feel like a close personal acquaintance. I almost feel like a friend.

As Theodore Roosevelt would have said it: "Dee-lightful!"

This is a supurb researched biography of one of the most colorful, revered presidents of the 20th century. For anyone who has unfortunately grown cynical and tired of the political and social cliched diatribe of today's political figures and political system, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt will change all that and bring forth a new appreciation for what man and woman can achieve in government when they have conviction, determination and plain old guts. What makes this book so appealing is that it focuses not on TR's presidency, but rather it explores TR's youth, family upbringing and hobbies as well as his formative years with the famed Rough Riders... It also delves into the tragedies that he incurred on his path to presidential greatness, i.e. the death of his first wife and mother on the same day of two different causes. Morris does a splendid job detailing TR's time with Tammany Hall and Harvard, his joy of writing and literature as well as athletics. The language that Mr. Morris uses is immediate, personal and inviting, giving off a permeating aura that TR is looming over the reader's shoulder. Whenever I have failed with something and don't believe that I can rise from it, I think of TR and say to myself: "If TR can do it, so can I."

Not much to add, a well deserved 5 stars (and Pulitzer too!)

This biography is one of the most thorough and enjoyable I have read. If there has been controversy over Morris' Reagan bio, at least it brought attention to this book. Morris drew a portrait of Roosevelt and his era and it came to life for me. I particularly enjoyed the description of the political scene of the time, especially the New York State assembly and further on to Boss Platt, Senator Hanna, and the other backroom operatives. Morris does not hide the negative side of TR, the snobbery, the hypocrisy, and the naked jingoism. As a Canadian, Roosevelt took Manifest Destiny to extremes and one sympathized with those who considered him a loose cannon. At the same time, this book shows his drive, energy, and his willingness to put himself face-first into anything, be it the Spanish American War, the unpopular anti-saloon enforcement in NYC, or any of his western adventures. I highly recommend this biography to anyone interested in history, Americana, or the times of the later 19th century.
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