Checkman's Reviews > Colonel Roosevelt

Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
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's review
Oct 23, 2015

really liked it
bookshelves: biographical-memoirs, history, non-fiction
Read from December 25, 2011 to February 05, 2012 , read count: Once

Solid biography of Roosevelt's last ten years of life. His "retirement" would be considered a lifetime of experiences for most people and that probably contributed to his relatively early death. He simply was unable to slow down and adjust his activity level as he grew older.Between the African safari, Amazon expedition (where he almost died) and a brutal presidential campaign Roosevelt made demands on himself that his aging body was unable to meet - he literally burned out. Possibly he simply never wanted to live past seventy, but that is all speculation.

Morris does his usual outstanding work. The book is dense and covers the last decade of Roosevelt's life with a microscope. Surprisingly I found myself not liking Roosevelt when reading this installment, which was not a feeling I had with the first two books. I wanted to grab hold of the man and tell him that now it was time to live his life with his wife and simply stop to smell the roses. But ,of course, I couldn't do that - no more than Roosevelt could slow down. So while an interesting look at the end of his life it's a frustrating look. The mountains had been climbed and the giants slain, but still Roosevelt was looking for other conquests and challenges.

Many readers of the trilogy prefer the first installment and that's understandable. The first book covers Roosevelt's first 42 years. The young man in a hurry overcoming personal tragedy, moving up the political ladder, adventuring in the Dakotas and fighting a war in Cuba. Thrilling stuff. The second book is a political bio and while it might not be as exciting it's a book about Roosevelt at his pinnacle. This installment ,as I have already noted, isn't as satisfying. Endings are bittersweet at best. But Morris obviously admires Roosevelt and he gives as much effort to the end as he gave to the beginning. It's a good bio and well deserving a place on your shelf next to the first two books and other well written biographies.
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Quotes Checkman Liked

Edmund Morris
“Norway...looked to Roosevelt "as funny a kingdom as was ever imagined outside of opera bouffe....It is much as if Vermont should offhand try the experiment of having a king.”
Edmund Morris, Colonel Roosevelt

Edmund Morris
“Except for the two years he had lived with cowboys in North Dakota,and being the employer of a dozen or so servants,Roosevelt had never had to suffer any prolonged intimacy with the working class.From infancy,he had enjoyed the perquisites of money and social position.The money,through his own mismanagement,had often run short,and he was by no means wealthy even now, but he had always taken exclusivity for granted.”
Edmund Morris, Colonel Roosevelt

Edmund Morris
“If he was less motivated by compassion than anger at what he saw as the arrogance of capital,he chafed,nonetheless,to regulate it.”
Edmund Morris, Colonel Roosevelt

Edmund Morris
“He has,in short,reached his peak as a hunter,exuberantly altered from the pale,overweight statesman of ten months ago. Africa's way of reducing every problem of existence to dire alternatives-shoot or starve,kill or be killed,shelter or suffer,procreate or count for nothing-has clarified his thinking,purged him of politics and its constant search for compromise.”
Edmund Morris, Colonel Roosevelt

Edmund Morris
“Ensconced, he (Roosevelt) lacked some of the neuroses of progressives-economic envy and race hatred especially.His radicalism was a matter of energy rather than urgency.”
Edmund Morris, Colonel Roosevelt

Reading Progress

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