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Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  239 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
He inherited a sense of entitlement (and obligation) from his family, yet eventually came to see his own class as suspect. He was famously militaristic, yet brokered peace between Russia and Japan. He started out an archconservative, yet came to champion progressive causes. These contradictions are not evidence of vacillating weakness: instead, they were the product of a r ...more
Paperback, 756 pages
Published February 10th 2004 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2002)
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May 07, 2013 Steve rated it liked it

One of the most recent comprehensive, single-volume biographies of TR is Kathleen Dalton’s 2002 “Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life.” Dalton is a history instructor at Phillips Academy at Andover and focuses on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. She is currently working on “The White Lilies and the Iron Boot” about Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt.

Unlike most TR biographies, Dalton’s book neither embraces the notion of Roosevelt as a larger-than-life hero
Aug 12, 2009 Heather rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thorough book about a very interesting subject. TR was very much a self-starting person who refused to quit at anything (politics, travel, his own health, the direction of his family). He is admirable in many ways, but I was surprised at how bigoted and misogynistic he could be (only partly a product of the time period). He believed Africans and Native Americans were savages and the US was better off without them. He also believed women belonged in the house and were immoral and unpatriotic if t ...more
Sep 25, 2008 Gloria rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'Strenuous' is an apt descriptor for Theodore Roosevelt and was a constant choice by him for his approach to life. The influence of early life experiences, particularly his asthma, and of his immediate family relationships, on all of his later life is shown along with his growth and change in emotional, social, political and spiritual areas of his life. I learned much about his major achievements as well as details about specific political machinations to accomplish them. I found this book fasci ...more
Apr 23, 2010 Jason rated it really liked it
Having previously ready both of Edmund Morris' books on Roosevelt I still found this books very intriguing. It was interesting to read a biography about someone many would consider the ultimate man's man written by a woman. Perhaps not surprisingly, Dalton chose to portray his entire life through the lens of gender. Normally I would have been completely turned off by that approach and dismissed her as a feminist self projecting the weight she places on her own gender role onto the rest of the wo ...more
May 16, 2008 Charles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
T.R. and Lincoln are by far the most interesting Presidents I have read about so far.
Regina Lindsey
Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life by Kathleen Dalton
4.5 Stars Rounded to 5

Of the forty-three men who have held presidency, only a handful stand out as either exceptional presidents or having a major impact on the evolvement of the office. There is a great deal of disagreement over whether Teddy Roosevelt is a great president on not, but he certainly falls in the category of having a major impact on the office. Until this juncture in history, only Andrew Jackson comes close in desire and succe
Scott Cox
Jan 17, 2016 Scott Cox rated it it was amazing
"Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life" by Kathleen Dalton ?????
“Theodore Roosevelt’s life stands as prophecy unheard, yet even prophets speaking in the wilderness can be resurrected.” Thus concludes Kathleen Dalton’s excellent biography entitled, “Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life.” Strenuous indeed. TR’s unending antics and escapades had the ability to wear down the reader as we travel with Teddy to Western dude ranches, African safaris, and through unchartered South American rivers. He was
The other John
Apr 15, 2014 The other John rated it really liked it
Ms. Dalton starts out her biography of Theodore Roosevelt by pointing out his legacy as a caricature--all spectacles, mustache and teeth. She then goes on to present him as a real human being with a significant legacy in American history, but he comes across as no less a character. As she tells the tale, Theodore Roosevelt was a force of nature. He was raised in wealth and imbued with a sense of duty and an obsession to be strong and manly. Roosevelt's father set the tone for his life. Coming fr ...more
May 15, 2014 Jerry-Book rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I gave the book 4 stars. I thought the author was deficient in describing his presidency and his Governership of New York. On the other hand Dalton did show how TR could be a scientist, politician, leader, husband, father, idealist and pragmatist. She was able to show he was more the patrician Knickerbocker reformer rather than a dam Cowboy. She described adequately his attempts to reform the "malefactors of great wealth."
She certainly was strong in showing how his overcoming asthma and his fath
Jul 30, 2012 Anne rated it liked it
Shelves: history
This book could have used some good editing. Dalton seems to suffer from the need to show off exactly how much research she did by including too many details and repeating herself. On the other hand, I did pick up lots of little Teddy facts to throw around at cocktail parties, and the overall portrait of TR in the context of his times, his family, and his career is enlightening. Dalton gives us a complex and complicated portrait of a President ahead of his time on many social issues and firmly e ...more
Sep 03, 2015 David rated it it was amazing
TR can be easily dismissed by modern sensibilities. Many of his beliefs have not withstood the test of time. It is notable that many, perhaps most, of those beliefs were commonly held prejudice of the time. The author does a good job of putting those beliefs in to context. What is most notable was TR's ability to be swayed by what he saw and what he learned. The TR on his deathbed was not the brash young man nor the sickly child. You can see some of the influence of the Bull Moose on another Roo ...more
Mar 08, 2013 Chris rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent biography of a fascinating president. A huge number of TR biographies have been written, including the popular 3 volume set by Edmund Morris. I don't know how this one stacks up to those, but it is surprising to me that this book isn't more popular. In her book, Dalton did a wonderful job painting a picture of Roosevelt's character traits and personality. I felt as though I knew the man after I finished reading it. She focused quite a bit on his childhood, family life, and p ...more
Feb 02, 2012 Jeremy rated it liked it
Though informative, this biography wasn't written in a way that really held my interest. Roosevelt's life was much less full of actual achievements than I thought. By trying to cover a lot of topics, this biography didn't really provide much detail about any one topic, but instead gave a welcome overview and enough information to allow you to participate in a conversation about Roosevelt. It spent too much time on some topics (like his family), for my taste. In the coming months, I'll probably r ...more
Jul 05, 2016 Tore rated it liked it
I'm regretting now that I didn't pick David McCullough's account of Roosevelt, since I've enjoyed all his books that I've read. This biography, though quite good, is somewhat lacklustre, even a bit boring at times. I struggled a bit to finish it, but still, in retrospect, I don't think it's all that bad, I was just hoping for something more I guess.
May 05, 2014 Drew rated it really liked it
A great telling of the life of Theodore Roosevelt. A great character of American history with an incredible story. This is a well written, easy to follow account of his entire life from pre-birth to post-death. The impact of not only Theodore, but the entire Roosevelt family is easily seen and understood.
Jan 03, 2012 Laurel rated it liked it
Took me forever to get through this very detailed, informative bio. Often the level of detail made what could have been a compelling book rather unappealing. Great for a research project, not so great for general interest. I walked away ambivalent about TR. Could have used a list of family and friends to keep all the people straight.

Jan 23, 2012 Serena_v rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this as an audio book and it was excellent. Probably my favorite of all TR biographies. I've listened to several and this one had plenty of detail I had not heard before in other books.
Aug 21, 2009 Mike rated it it was ok
I've done quite a bit of research and read several other books on T.R. and was really looking forward to it. While the information within was interesting, the writing was extraordinarily dull making it a chore to push forward. Disappointing.
John Wilson
Apr 19, 2013 John Wilson rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
Whatever your politics, it is very difficult to read this book and walk away without a real admiration for Teddy Roosevelt the man.
Pamela Hawley
Oct 31, 2014 Pamela Hawley rated it really liked it
What a great biography, that envelops Theodore Roosevelt's political career, personal life and history of his time. All three are fascinating, with great flowing writing!
Joseph D. Walch
Jan 05, 2009 Joseph D. Walch rated it it was amazing
The best Teddy Roosevelt Documentary ever written.
Ray Russolillo
Jan 19, 2017 Ray Russolillo rated it it was amazing
As advertised, a great one volume bio of TR. Even with the ridiculously small type, the book is a fairly easy read. Highly recommended.
Mar 17, 2008 Andy rated it did not like it
Read about 100 pages. Deadly dull writing, seemed like this was written in a foreign language and translated into English by some other egghead. The first Edmund Morris book was much better.
May 03, 2010 Naomi rated it liked it
Theodore Roosevelt was an absolutely fascinating man, but, frankly, not very likeable. Also, although this book was very thorough, it was not particularly well written.
Gregory Crysler
Gregory Crysler rated it really liked it
Dec 06, 2014
Ezio Auditore
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Dec 01, 2016
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Dec 18, 2012
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Dec 28, 2014
Christopher St
Christopher St rated it it was amazing
Mar 11, 2015
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Persephone Anemone rated it really liked it
May 17, 2014
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