Melani's Reviews > Mornings on Horseback

Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough
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Dec 15, 09


I checked this out to listen to in the car on a whim. There was really nothing else at the library that I even remotely wanted to try out. I really had no interest in Teddy Roosevelt and only checked it out because I have liked the other books that I have read by McCullough.

Well let me say that McCollough did not disappoint. I was very quickly drawn into his depiction of New York high society in the post Civil War era. I was enthralled as I heard about Theodore Roosevelt Senior and his wife taking their four children on trips across Europe and up the Nile. I really enjoyed hearing about the evolution of young Teddy Roosevelt from a sickly, asthmatic boy, to a strapping young man, to a rugged outdoorsman. The stories about Roosevelt's "Badlands" years were very fun to listen to. I was surprised to be so touched by the telling of Roosevelt senior's early death.

I think McCollough's style of history is most readliy captured by the very last few sentences in the book... he shows you what kind of man he thinks that Roosevelt was with just the story of a feather.

McCollough has so much compassion in his writing. For every one of the historical figures, he manages to bring out that in them that was best to remember, without neglecting to touch on their faults. The result is that, although you are well aware that the person you are reading about was less than perfect, you respect them even more than you ever intended.

With the tendency towards revisionist history that can sometimes leave you wondering how the world ever got as far as it did with so many bad fellows in charge, it is good to read a book that reminds you that great men and women have lived well and changed the world for the better.

The book does not cover in detail the whole life of Theodore Roosevelt, but rather it seems to be a study of how a few decent (very rich) young men and women made their way in the world. How many of them found their way to greatness, and how others did not. He touches in a very glancing way on how these men and women were the antecedents of people like Eleanor Roosevelt and FDR.
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message 1: by Rachel (new)

Rachel Terry I'll have to find this one. Rebecca and I just learned about Teddy Roosevelt in her history lessons, and we loved the pictures in the book of his little boys standing at attention next to the Secret Service guards. Did the book talk about his first wife who died so young?


Melani Rachelterry wrote: "I'll have to find this one. Rebecca and I just learned about Teddy Roosevelt in her history lessons, and we loved the pictures in the book of his little boys standing at attention next to the Secre..."

Yes the book did mention her... it was very sad. I thought the book very inspiring. My boys like most of it -- some parts which I found very moving, they found very dull. I think the subtitle "an extraordinary family and a vanished way of life" was very apropos. I found myself transported into their family. It was so sad to me, the alcoholism of Elliot later in life... and you wonder about what kind of stuff goes through the gene line, that he was Eleanor's father, and she, in so many ways was like her grandfather... I loved the book.. which is a funny thing to say about a book you never intended to read.


Deanna Nice review, Melani, I'm putting this one on my "to read" list.


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