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Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  164 ratings  ·  19 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
ebook, 752 pages
Published December 18th 2007 by Vintage (first published January 1st 2002)
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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
'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
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
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
The other John
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
T.R. and Lincoln are by far the most interesting Presidents I have read about so far.
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.
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
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
Pamela Hawley
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!
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
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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
John Wilson
Whatever your politics, it is very difficult to read this book and walk away without a real admiration for Teddy Roosevelt the man.
Joseph D. Walch
The best Teddy Roosevelt Documentary ever written.
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