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The Rough Riders

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3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  1,329 ratings  ·  105 reviews
In 1898, as the Spanish-American War was escalating, Theodore Roosevelt assembled an improbable regiment of Ivy Leaguers, cowboys, Native Americans, African-Americans, and Western Territory land speculators. This group of men, which became known as the Rough Riders, trained for four weeks in the Texas desert and then set sail for Cuba. Over the course of the summer, Roosev ...more
Paperback, 262 pages
Published October 12th 1999 by Modern Library (first published January 1st 1899)
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David Hinckley
I enjoyed this short book quite a bit. There were three things that really struck me.

First, Roosevelt's approach to war was extremely interesting. It was very much an adventure to him. Although there was absolutely no need for this war, he considered it a just cause, and he openly promoted it. The war was an opportunity for men to prove their mettle, and he was proud when his men did. So it was very much an adventure, something to be celebrated in his mind. But at the same time, he didn't skimp
...more
Cari
Fact: Theodore Roosevelt was not a bad ass, he was The Bad Ass.

I suspect he was also a little bit crazy in the best possible way, as evidenced by how gleefully he describes the adventure of going to war with his group of rough-around-the-edges volunteers (also bad asses), because for him this really was just another adventure. (Further suspicion: his men--and everyone else--were probably less than thrilled, because most people don't think "war" = "yay! adventure!") To each their own.

I thorough
...more
Mohammad Ali Abedi
Before Theodore Roosevelt became the President of the United States, he had a war experience, which was less like the soldiers in WW2 and more of a fun adventure for Roosevelt. First of all, this was probably the beginning of unnecessary wars for the United States. Each generation of American probably needs his war.

First they started fighting all those natives in the land, then they spend some time fighting the British, then when all of that was done, they decided to have some internal fighting.
...more
Tom Kepler
A stereotype of the American man exists: a man of purity with a simple, straightforward manner of supporting right and opposing wrong with bravery and fortitude. There is also another side to that stereotype: a man whose simple perspective of right and wrong minimizes minorities and significant perspectives just because they don't fit into that simple world view.

I think Theodore Roosevelt and his era fit both sides of that stereotype of the American man, good and bad.

In 1898 the American governm
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Tom
"Credit should go with the performance of duty, and not with what is very often the accident of glory." - TR

What a fun read. Much like US Grant's memoirs I felt like TR and I were having a beer and he was just matter-of-factly recounting his experiences.

I did not know that Clara Barton was there in Cuba during the war which was fought over the sinking of the Maine which, according to continuing research, was probably due to bad ship design rather than Spanish monkey business.
Mike Sanders
It's easy to see why Roosevelt rose to such a height of popularity after publishing this book. The entire first third praises the wide variety of men who joined the Rough Riders, listing their various backgrounds, home regions, and skills. He often gives credit to individuals for outstanding efforts or accomplishments while minimizing his own contributions. Yet at no point does Roosevelt seem to engage in false modesty. It's obvious that he genuinely cared for the well-being of his troops. He al ...more
Todd Martin
Colonel Roosevelt
Rough Riders is Theodor Roosevelt’s account of his involvement in the Spanish-American War to liberate Cuba from Spanish control. Lieutenant-Colonel Roosevelt (serving under Colonel Leonard Wood) led the First US Volunteer Cavalry Regiment (a diverse group of cowboys, miners, hunters, gamblers and Ivy League graduates, who came to be more popularly known as the “Rough Riders”).

The story is Roosevelt’s first person account of the preparations for battle, travel to Cuba, storming of San Juan Hill
...more
Ken
This illustrated edition, I found to be a more interesting version of TR's classic telling of the Rough Riders during the Spanish-American War. I read the story before, but seeing photos of the men, camps and battlefields adds to the impact of what was done during those four months so long ago. As Roosevelt writes of his men and their actions, he also writes about the other regiments that camped and fought with the Rough Riders. While TR's racism comes through at times when he writes of the 9th ...more
Pete Iseppi
Well, Teddy was one brave, tough son of a gun for sure. This was an interesting book. I didn't know much about the war to rid Cuba of the Spaniards. I had no idea how big the battles were and how many casualties that they produced. Theodore doesn't really blow his own horn that much, which surprised me. He lets the testimonials from his commanding officers do that, by publishing all of their recommendations that he receive the Medal of Honor for his performance in an appendix. I have no problem ...more
Richard Gartee
This book is based on a series of articles Theodore Roosevelt wrote that were published in Scribners magazine. It is interesting because it offers that rare first-hand account of an historical event from the perspective of one of the leading participants and I might say, proponents, of the Spanish American War. In his account of organizing, training, and going to war with his company of Rough Riders, we see not only what happened but get a good impression of Roosevelt's strong opinions on what h ...more
Peter
History as it was being made - told in a racey, contemporaneous style by one of the most interesting Americans of all time. Theodore Roosevelt, despite having already been chairman of the New York police borad and under secretary for the Navy, raised a volunteer regiment to help fight in the Spanish-American War. His cavalary troopers were christened the "Rough Riders" by the popular press and although Roosevelt initially hated the name it rapidly stuck. His re-telling of the raising of the regi ...more
Jay
Truly a diarist view of a very short war. Roosevelt describes in engaging detail the campaign against Spain in Cuba as he saw it. The book details the many issues with transportation to Cuba, while in Cuba, and in leaving Cuba. It also describes a leaders' worries about supplying food to his troops and ensuring the health of his troops after battle. Roosevelt also provides details of soldiers and officers wounded and killed in action, and this is what feels most like a diary. He also discusses t ...more
Craig
This is a very detailed and descriptive account written by Theodore Roosevelt himself of the military campaign of the "Rough Riders", a volunteer force headed by Lieutenant Leonard Wood and Second Lieutenant Roosevelt who were pressed into military service during the war with Spain fought in Cuba. The nation had become outraged with the blowing up of the battleship Maine in a Cuban harbor. This brought great indignation to the American people and a cry for war to drive the Spanish from the Carib ...more
Nickie
I remember learning something in school about the Rough Riders and Teddy Roosevelt. But I couldn't tell much else.

This book is about the development of the voluntary group of cowboys, farmers, college men, mountain men, and military men that make up the Rough Riders. I had no idea this group of horse riders actually fought. I just remember seeing pictures of men on horses and never thought more of it as far as I can remember.

Anyway, this little book is about the American battle against the Spani
...more
Michael
This book was written in a style that reminded me of a play by play sports announcer. Teddy chronicles how he helped prepare men and horses by training, assembling, and transporting for war. It contained profiles of many of the men with whom he served in Cuba in the war with the Spaniards. A recurring theme was the waste, ineptitude and bureaucratic red tape of government and military leadership in Washington.

Teddy reflected the racial opinion of his day when he said "the colored soldiers behave
...more
Robert
Giving a vivid account of the author's participation in the Spanish-American war, this book so captivated the imagination of the American people that it got Teddy the Vice-Presidential nomination and set him on the path to Mount Rushmore. He tells this story well. Had a great gift for narrative - had a wonderful ability to create a sense of time and place. The reader feels as if he is with Teddy, experiencing these events himself - the descriptions are so vivid, the account so detailed, so "just ...more
Tony
64. Roosevelt, Theodore. ((1858-1919). THE ROUGH RIDERS. (1899). ****. This history of Roosevelt’s raising a volunteer regiment to fight in the Spanish-American War reads like a commentator’s coverage of a football game. It rates the four-star rating only because of its importance as an American document. It is quite obvious that Roosevelt approached this mission as he would have approached a yacht race. He managed to recruit over 1,000 men to form a fully volunteer force that was eager to parti ...more
D. Jason
Teddy Roosevelt's memoir of the less-than-six-months' existence of the Rough Riders, a volunteer cavalry unit formed for the sole purpose of serving in the Spanish-American War, is a breezy and entertaining read.

It is also a rather astonishing look into an alien world --- the world that used to be the United States, but is no longer.

Roosevelt was the Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1898. Though he doesn't make this clear in the book, he was the de facto Secretary and basically in charge of th
...more
Mark Fallon
Who were the Rough Riders?

As Roosevelt explains:

All – Easterners and Westerners, Northerners and Southerners, officers and men, cowboys and college graduates, wherever they came from, and whatever their social position – possessed in common the traits of hardihood and a thirst for adventure. They were to a man born adventurers, in the old sense of the word.

At the outset of the Spanish-American War, Theodore Roosevelt and Leonard Wood were commissioned with raising, training and deploying a regim
...more
Nelson Rosario
This book was a very interesting and easy read. Former President Roosevelt tells a very vivid tale of his time during the Spanish-American War. It is easy for one to feel Roosevelt's genuineness while he takes us through the journey.

The book begins with the one-day President discussing the idea of war with Spain and the possibility of assembling a volunteer regiment. The language and way with which Roosevelt discusses war and it's supposed inevitability is indicative of the time at which he was
...more
Michael
An excellent, very readable book by Roosevelt. Enjoyed it thoroughly. This book is not some self-serving account by Colonel Roosevelt to advance himself. No, it is the story of one of the most colorful units in American military history, their members' backgrounds, their valor, and their adaptibility to very tough circumstances. I've always admired the Rough Riders, and after reading this book, my esteem increased even more.

One thing that I did not realize, until reading this, is how completely
...more
Breck
Without doubt, Teddy Roosevelt is one of the most loved and most controversial/complex Americans to serve as POTUS. TR was fully a romantic, and his enthusiasm of life and thirst for adventure explode off the page in his account of the Rough Rider regiment's exploits in the Spanish-American War.

TR, like many men of his day, hungered for the opportunity to try themselves in battle as their fathers did the Civil War. These desires coupled with the belief in the necessity of American Expansionism
...more
Lynn
It was good to read if not uncomfortable how Roosevelt and most other white Americans of his time viewed other people who weren't ancestors of the Vikings as he might put it. Roosevelt in describing bis desire to rid the Western world of the Spanish colonialists, describes how he had been wanting to fight them for axlong time. Choosing to lead a Calvary through Cuba, he first uses Ivy League college men and later men from the 4 territories, Texas, New Mexico, Indian and Arizona. Roosevelt does c ...more
Douglas Dalrymple
There was a generation of boys, especially (it seems) in Britain, who watched their fathers go off to fight in the First World War and resented staying at home. Too young, perhaps, to digest the horror of it, they grew up wishing they could participate in a national/military crisis of comparable glory. When WWII came around, most of them were in their middle-thirties, almost too old to take advantage of it. (I’m thinking, for example, of Evelyn Waugh, Malcolm Muggeridge, Anthony Powell.). It fel ...more
Philip
This simple story of Roosevelt’s action in Cuba is a story of the self-made man, courage under fire, and American diversity. There certainly some overly glamorized portions or sections that may go too far in elevating Roosevelt and his men while denigrating the input of others in the larger effort, but on the whole, the work is rather generous and fair. It is a wonderful story of action and adventure in a first person account. There is some level of honesty about the toll of war and its horrors. ...more
Rdt
This book was a big disappointment to me. I have always admired Roosevelt, and expected him to be a good writer, but this is just a tiresome self promotional tract by a man advancing his political career. He goes on and on about the bravery of his men and how great the Rough Riders were. I got tired of the lists of names and the Ivy League schools they attended. It was like the catalog of ships in the Iliad. The were moments of color that raised above once star, but just barely.
Tyler Windham
Theodore Roosevelt's The Rough Riders is sheer, unadulterated Americana; the story of the Spanish-American War's most decorated and remembered regiments, comprised of cowboys, lawmen, illiterate former prospectors, Cherokee Indians, Ivy League educated east-coast aristocrats, circus performers, red blooded working class southwestern "territorials", and professional sportsmen all led by Colonel Leonard Wood and his energetic and intelligible friend and , the just weeks previous Assistant Secretar ...more
David
This kind of reads like the Bible. There's a lot of names given and a lot of heroic people. It's hard to remember them all. There were heroics happening all the time. The action was written good. It was my favorite part. Teddy sees a man beside him and looks back and the man's head was gone or he was shot through the belly or spine or foot or face. Not a damn one complained, it didn't seem. Not even the ones that were shot in the head with nonfatal wounds. People got shot up and just took it and ...more
Dgm
An easy read, and gets exciting quickly and makes you feel like you're joining TR on his greatest adventure. Lots of praises from TR for his fellow troopers and those of the regular army and cavalry, with marked disdain for headquarters peppered throughout (especially due to their logistical incompetence). Praises for his fellow troopers stem from their experience in the wild, which might be an inspiration for other books I may want to read.
Mike Moody
Good Read!

The adventures of the Rough Riders as written by Roosevelt himself. The book covers the regiment from inception and training, battles in Cuba, and return to the United States. Roosevelt writes in a straightforward style that engages the reader even if it occasionally seems like an after action report. No information is given about the war as a whole or anything outside of that which affected the Riders. You'll have to hit wikipedia for big picture information.
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44567
Theodore Roosevelt, Jr., also known as T.R., and to the public (but never to friends and intimates) as Teddy, was the twenty-sixth President of the United States, and a leader of the Republican Party and of the Progressive Movement. He became the youngest President in United States history at the age of 42. He served in many roles including Governor of New York, historian, naturalist, explorer, au ...more
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“It was a pleasure to deal with a man of high ideals, who scorned everything mean and base, and who possessed those robust and hardy qualities of body and mind, for the lack of which no merely negative virtue can ever atone.” 12 likes
“Credit should go with the performance of duty, and not with what is very often the accident of glory.” 3 likes
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