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The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America
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The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  1,209 Ratings  ·  167 Reviews
In this groundbreaking epic biography, Douglas Brinkley draws on never-before-published materials to examine the life and achievements of our "naturalist president." By setting aside more than 230 million acres of wild America for posterity between 1901 and 1909, Theodore Roosevelt made conservation a universal endeavor. This crusade for the American wilderness was perhaps ...more
Hardcover, 960 pages
Published July 28th 2009 by Harper
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Sep 18, 2009 Tony rated it liked it
Shelves: presidents
Let there be no question who the 'environmental president' was. Brinkley establishes that in meticulous, painstaking detail. I think I now know every bird TR observed, every book on nature he read, every park he created. A monograph would have been enough. Oh, there are great anecdotes and analyses here. But this bordered on Too Much Information. And the problem is that TR was not just a conservationist president. By focusing only on TR's conservationist actions, Brinkley does TR and history a ...more
John Hood
Dec 26, 2009 John Hood rated it it was amazing
Bound Miami SunPost November 15, 2009

The Rough Riding Tree Hugger

Teddy Roosevelt’s Deep Green Militancy

John Hood

There’s a good reason why Teddy Roosevelt’s mug is on Mount Rushmore. Because of all the president’s, he’s the one who’s legacy is large enough to stand alongside the likes of Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson. Like our first president, Roosevelt was a war hero, even if the fight he fought was in but “a splendid little war.” Like Lincoln, Rooseve
Jan 02, 2014 Clif rated it it was amazing
I always wondered why Teddy Roosevelt's face was on Mount Rushmore. Now I don't. He belongs there at least as much as the others there and I owe that knowledge to this book.

Wilderness Warrior is an account of the life-long naturalist who gave us most of our National Parks, Monuments and game reserves. From his precocious youth, Teddy (he hated that name) was captivated by nature and driven with a desire to know, record and collect the plants and, in particular, the animals of our world.

With a ze
Aug 20, 2012 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
So, first of all let me say, I love Teddy Roosevelt. I think I may have an unnatural obsession with him, especially considering the giant mustache he sported which is usually a turnoff for me. His conservationist side is one of the main things that I appreciate about him. That made The Wilderness Warrior a huge draw for me.
Unfortunately, this book just didn't do T.R. justice. First of all, the editing was borderline offensive. I know I shouldn't hold that against the author, but it was awful.
Bookmarks Magazine
Oct 03, 2009 Bookmarks Magazine rated it liked it
Shelves: nov-dec-2009
Drawing on unpublished research on Theodore Roosevelt and the rise of conservationism in America -- no small task, considering the many biographies on Roosevelt published over the last decade -- Brinkley offers a weighty tome that, while shedding new insight into the former president's environmentalism, tends to overwhelm with detail and, according to some critics, underwhelm with substance. Over two decades and more than two dozen books, Brinkley has mastered the art of balancing scholarship ...more
Aug 13, 2009 Bob rated it really liked it
Looking forward to this. A very good (and prolific) writer, and a subject I feel some kinship with. My grandfather met Teddy and Taft about 100 years ago. He was impressed that they seemed like regular, unassuming guys. My grandfather took more pride in his adopted country (as seems typical) than many natives. Also interested in the conservation angle. .....Update: Terrific!!! A unique personality, tied to the birth of the movement to conserve the American wilderness. Shows why TR is remembered, ...more
Jan 02, 2014 Caroline rated it really liked it
Shelves: american-history
Theodore Roosevelt once said, "we regard Attic temples and Roman triumphal arches and Gothic cathedrals as of priceless value. But we are, as a whole, still in that low state of civilisation where we do not understand that it is also vandalism wantonly to destroy or to permit the destruction of what is beautiful in nature, whether it be a cliff, a forest or a species of bird or mammal."

He was, and remains, without question the most environmentally-friendly, conservation-minded President America
Andy Miller
Oct 04, 2012 Andy Miller rated it really liked it
This biography of Theodore Roosevelt is an in depth focus on the conservationist. Douglas Brinkley, the author, does an excellent job of capturing Roosevelt's passion for the outdoors which started at a young age. Even the reader of other biographies will learn a lot, including the influence of his "black sheep" paternal uncle who was an early pioneer in the "outdoor" movement, Roosevelt's involvement in the beginnings of the Boone and Crocket club, Field and Stream magazine and his outdoor ...more
Ryan Louis
Dec 30, 2010 Ryan Louis rated it really liked it
The word "epic" is an epidemic. It's replacing "really cool" in the way we describe things like ice cream and fresh produce. So, when I ascribe the word to this book, I want to emphasize that it is not an accidental attribution. Rather, it is a sincere description of the book's scope. It's epic--phenomenally epic.

So epic that--when I finish books like these--I begin walking around with a chip on my shoulder. People tell me that's how they feel after reading "Gone With the Wind." Investing ample
Dec 18, 2009 Brad rated it liked it
Whew-I have finally reached the conclusion of this 950 page (small font, no less!!) behemoth that articulates, at times in excruciating detail, Teddy Roosevelt and his agenda towards conservation. A useful history that ignores everything else in TR’s complex, productive life, this book focuses exclusively on his love of wilderness and his eventual role in shaping environmental policy. The book really excels in its first half, which addresses TR’s pre-presidential life. Here we really appreciate ...more
Catherine Woodman
This book really is too long--there is a lot of good information in here, and there were chapters that I really enjoyed, but there is much overlap from section to section, where we go back over the same material and the same people, but from a slightly different angle, and I think a more gifted storyteller would have been able to weave the tale a little tighter to come up with say a 500 page biography instead of a 900 page one. I read it on the kindle, so usually picked it up on trips where I ...more
Richard Maxwell
Jun 29, 2010 Richard Maxwell rated it it was amazing
Lucy was kind enough to give me this book for my last birthday. It is a tome but reads quickly. Brinkley goes into a great deal of detail about TR's love of nature and his efforts to preserve the wilderness of America from the repaciousness of speculators and land-hungry businessmen of the early 20th century. Some may feel there is too much detail devoted to TR's classification of birds, etc. but the writing is good and detail is interspersed with anecdotes and stories. Brinkley never does ...more
May 26, 2016 Paulcbry rated it really liked it
Quite a read at 817 pages but well worth it. I knew something of Theodore Roosevelt having read The Bully Pulpit. This books focuses on his environmental record (I had never heard of the roseate spoonbill before) and with the possible exception of Hetch Hetchy, his record is not only prodigious but spotless. Suffice to say President Obama has nothing on TR with regards to Executive Orders. Well written and researched, the author is obviously a huge fan of TR. After reading this book, I count ...more
May 30, 2016 Sara rated it it was amazing
Never read anything by Brinkley before and this was quite a treat. Living in Utah, I am surrounded by beautiful national parks, monuments, and forests that are part of T.R.'s enduring legacy. This book was a fascinating journey through nature conservation history and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Oct 17, 2013 Brian rated it it was amazing
This was a fantastic biography of Teddy Roosevelt and his conservationist policies and ideals. Extremely long and in-depth but totally worth the time.
Jul 27, 2014 Robert rated it really liked it
President Theodore Roosevelt is my favorite historical figure.

The Wilderness Warrior by Douglas Brinkley is the 8th book involving or by Theodore Roosevelt I've read. This includes The Strenuous Life Essays and Addresses, The Big Burn Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America, The River of Doubt Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey, Island of Vice Theodore Roosevelt's Doomed Quest to Clean up Sin-loving New York, and of course the definitive biography trilogy by Edmund Morris, The Rise of
Brad Hodges
Nov 24, 2010 Brad Hodges rated it really liked it
It is a testament to the fascinating life that Theodore Roosevelt led that this doorstop of a biography, The Wilderness Warrior, weighing in at over 800 pages, ends with Roosevelt leaving the presidency. It also has a singular emphasis--Roosevelt's abiding passion for protecting the wilderness. As the subtitle suggests, he was a crusader with an evangelist's zeal.

Douglas Brinkley has written an exhaustive study of Roosevelt's almost radical approach to preserving wildlife and its habitation. The
May 21, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it
A little dry, but overall, a fascinating look at a side of Roosevelt that we have rarely seen.

I learned a lot about this side of Roosevelt. For example, I knew he was a big game hunter, but I did not know that he fought for conservation and was very interested in birds (a student of Audubon) and their habitats. This contradiction in his "personality" has baffled Roosevelt scholars for years.

Also, it's been said by modern enviromentalists that Roosevelt had a conflict of loyalties in the West bet
Nov 07, 2016 Joe rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio-books
This is a great book! TR saved more of this country than anyone! Parks monuments, reserves and preserves! We need to protect and cherish our wild places. Green space should be sacred.
We have plenty of oil. Let's stop spoiling out land and water with leaky pipelines and fracking waste water. Save the planet! It is the only one we have!
Support you National parks and state parks. Local parks too. Keep America Green!
Douglas Brinkley is a superb historian and a competent writer, but he leans heavily on facts rather than insights and anecdotes. This is a good history of TR's phenomenal impact on America's natural heritage, but it doesn't grab and hold the reader. I kept putting it down and coming back to it a week later. For me, it wasn't the kind of book that I just had to pick up night after night.
Ralph Emrick
Nov 02, 2016 Ralph Emrick rated it liked it
only made it 200-ish pages in... my bookmark fell out and while looking for my spot, i realized i was holding myself book hostage and was not required to finish it.
very interesting and informative, but more of a deep dive than i was ready for.
Todd Martin
Feb 20, 2011 Todd Martin rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
The Wilderness Warrior is a nicely done history that chronicles how Teddy Roosevelt’s early interest and study of nature led him to be both a powerful voice for conservation as well as an active protector of wilderness. The book exhaustively chronicles his life as a privileged young boy to Harvard student studying biology, to ranch owner, author, and politician to president of the United States. Throughout it all, a love of nature runs as a common thread through his life.

Roosevelt is a bit of an
Ralph Hermansen
Feb 08, 2013 Ralph Hermansen rated it it was amazing
The Wilderness Warrior by Douglas Brinkley is a delightful and inspiring read. It is delightful because Theodore Roosevelt (TR) realized the irreplacable value of our natural treasures and fought vigorously and successfully to preserve them. He loved the natural wonders of America such as Yellowstone, Yosemite, the Grand Canyon and the coral paradise of the Florida islands. He was bird lover first and foremost and was appalled at the wholesale slaughter of beautiful birds for their plumes. He ...more
Nicole R
Sep 30, 2012 Nicole R rated it really liked it
At a critical time in our Nation (and the world) when much attention is focused on environmental issues ranging from improved water quality and disease control to destruction of forests and degraded coastal communities, the current generation is often portrayed at the first serious crusaders for environmental awareness and protection. However, that song has been sung numerous times in history, only to a different melody, but perhaps never as effectively as during the Theodore Roosevelt era. ...more
Mar 17, 2010 Louis rated it really liked it
Theodore Roosevelt has become a popular subject for biographers the past few years. Two more volumes (the third volume of Edmund Morris's massive trilogy and Doris Kearns Goodwin's first door-stopper after Team of Rivals) are due within the next year. With all the words expended on TR, it should be difficult to find anything new and noteworthy to say. Douglas Brinkley pulls off this neat trick by addressing a subject near and dear to Roosevelt's heart: conservation. He uses TR's life from the ...more
Feb 02, 2010 Monica rated it liked it
Much of this extremely comprehensive book, focusing almost entirely on TR's obsession with wild birds, game and Darwinism, is marvelous stuff. The problem is that this book feels like a first draft, with repetitions and far too many factual and proofreading errors. One of the citizen reviewers on Amazon guessed that the book was rushed into publication in order to coincide with Ken Burns's National Parks TV series, and I concur. I had the impression that Brinkley took his voluminous research and ...more
Jan 15, 2013 Bonnie rated it it was amazing
I have always thought highly of Theodore Roosevelt, but he has moved up in my estimation to hero status. Thanks to him, my favorite places still exist in a natural state.

I have had a problem reconciling his penchant for hunting with his love of nature, but after reading this book, I realize he probably did too. Apparently he felt the need, from his youth as a small, sickly, bookish boy, to prove his manliness. And, he did love adventures. Also, he was very interested in the scientific identific
Jun 07, 2016 Betsy rated it really liked it
This is a very long book of over 900 pages, including numerous pages of footnotes. It is also slow reading in certain areas, but for the most part, it is extremely interesting and certainly well researched.
I did notice one error when it was quoted that TR was fond of July 1 due to the charge up San Juan Hill and then the author goes on to say that it is also important for the beginning of the battle of Gettysburg, July 1, 1873. I assume that was merely a typo that should have been caught by an a
Nov 04, 2012 Seth rated it it was ok
When I checked this audiobook out from the library, I was expecting a mix of "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" and the Ken Burns National Parks documentaries. 40 hours of laborious listening later (seriously--40 hours), I feel like I should have been paid for the work. It officially cured me of my "I've got to read everything about Teddy Roosevelt" phase. Good editing--eliminating about two-thirds of the "I don't care!" material would have bumped it up to three stars for sure. Too bad you can't ...more
Drew Danko
Mar 29, 2016 Drew Danko rated it really liked it
This book is a 817 page educational experience that both enlightened me as well as raised some emotions. What struck me most about this great man was how he was the right man, in the right place, at the right time. I doubt if we will ever see such a perfect fit again. His innate talents and temperament led him to engage in many roles -a highly regarded ornithologist, a cattle rancher out west, a military officer, a published author, a progressive Republican politician, a U.S. president, a ...more
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Douglas Brinkley is a professor of history at Rice University and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. The Chicago Tribune has dubbed him “America’s new past master.” His most recent books are The Quiet World, The Wilderness Warrior, and The Great Deluge. Six of his books have been selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year. He lives in Texas with his wife and three children.
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