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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

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  850 ratings  ·  129 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
ebook, 960 pages
Published July 28th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2009)
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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
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
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
John Hood
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
Bookmarks Magazine
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 an ...more
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
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 adve ...more
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.
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
Richard Maxwell
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 succe ...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 wa ...more
Steve Smits
I can't decide whether to criticze this book for its length - 817 pp plus appendices, notes, etc. Well, I did read it entirely so such complaint would lack credibility. It was interesting to learn in great depth TR's passionate interest in nature, conservation and preservation. We are fortunate that he was so passionate about this and determined to act on this, as in his era the country was on the way to being irretrievably despoiled by corporate rapaciousness. To a large degree great damage had ...more
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 mys ...more
This was a fantastic biography of Teddy Roosevelt and his conservationist policies and ideals. Extremely long and in-depth but totally worth the time.
Incredibly detailed at 950+ pages, this is a great lens through which to understand Theodore Roosevelt. Flawed as he was, his heroic and intrinsic "Wilderness Warrior" leadership toward "conservation" in the largest & most spiritual sense... was great to read about & is so abundantly missing from current political leaders at a time we need it most. Theodore Roosevelt's imprint on America is far larger than we appreciate. Hard to get through the excess detail, but a great book including a ...more
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
Pamela Okano
Epic (meaning long) account of Teddy Roosevelt's work in conservation through his presidency. Eminently readable but needed an editor to eliminate redundancies and not very relevant details. That said, without Roosevelt, we would not have Olympic National Park (created as a national monument unilaterally by TR in the waning days of his presidency and later elevated to park status by cousin FDR). He created bird reserves at Cape Flattery/Copalis Rock/Quillayute Needles/Keechelus/Kaches/Cle Elum/B ...more
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
Amy Moritz
Throughout the entire book, I could not get one thought out of my mind: Gosh, what can't one accomplish in the absence of Netflix and Facebook? An extraordinary thorough look at Theodore Roosevelt and his conservation polices that shaped the nation. The book begins with some personal history of TR to better understand where his love of nature and "the strenuous life" comes from. No doubt he was influenced by being ashamed that his father bought his way out of being in the Civil War and by his ch ...more
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 li ...more
Todd Martin
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
Brad Hodges
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
This is a facinating book about TR, especially if you like nature, camping and the great outdoors. Roosevelt was an oudoors enthusiast to the max and enjoyed birds, plants, indigenous animals (he brought back the buffalo to certain parts of the country), wild animals, national parks he later ordained and many, many camping sites all over the country detailed in this book. TR was a roughing it kind of guy, and the stories of TR camping with his pals in the South Dakota Badlands and eating a dozen ...more
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
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. Roos ...more
This is a very long book and a bit of a slog in the early chapters, but perseverance pays off as the total portrait of this American titan's accomplishments on behalf of the preservation of wild nature begin to emerge and take shape. In the end I found myself thinking, "thank God for Teddy Roosevelt, for we shall not see his like again." Not all aspects of his character are attractive, but so what? He was a man, for all that, and what he did! I will never again be able to visit a national forest ...more
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 b ...more
For a man who has supposedly accomplished so much and was such a character, in this book Brinkley seems to focus exclusively on the "wilderness" aspect of Roosevelt's achievement. He does this extensively also, as the entire book is basically the story behind the different parks, reservations, and monuments that TR helped save throughout his presidency. These stories are seemingly unending and as a result, incredibly boring and monotonous.

The impression one gets of TR from Wilderness Warrior is
Ryan Louis
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
Brinkley has zeroed in on a segment of history so often relegated to mere factoids in history class. Almost everyone knows as a general fact that Roosevelt was involved in creating the national park system- "The Wilderness Warrior" gives us every detail of that long and involved process. In fact, the focus on conservation sometimes hinders the development of the book; I think the narrative might have been clearer if Brinkley had periodically given brief overviews of the other issues of Roosevelt ...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.
More about Douglas G. Brinkley...
The Great Deluge: Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans, and the Mississippi Gulf Coast Cronkite The Boys of Pointe du Hoc: Ronald Reagan, D-Day, and the U.S. Army 2nd Ranger Battalion The Majic Bus: An American Odyssey Rosa Parks: A Life

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