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Theodore Roosevelt and the Assassin: Madness, Vengeance, and the Campaign of 1912

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  171 ratings  ·  37 reviews
A New York Times Bestseller!

John Flammang Schrank—a lonely Manhattan saloonkeeper—was obsessed with the 1912 presidential election and Theodore Roosevelt. The ex-president’s extremism and third-term campaign were downright un-American.

Convinced that TR would ignite civil war and leave the nation open to foreign invasion, Schrank answered what he believed to be a divine su
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 8th 2013 by Lyons Press (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.79  · 
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Tim Baze
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Theodore Roosevelt is my favorite president. Hands down. There is not even a close second. I have read the biographies of him by Miller and Morris. They are very good mostly because their subject is simply fascinating.
Roosevelt served two terms and then chose not to run for a consecutive third term. His friend, Taft became the next president. Four years later, Roosevelt then decided to run against him as part of the Bull Moose party in 1912. He split the Republican vote and Woodrow Wilson was el
Kevin Topolovec
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Teddy Roosevelt, making all presidents that came after him look lame by comparison.
Marcy Graybill
Dec 29, 2014 rated it liked it
If you like non-fiction books that read like fiction you will like this book. An excellent narrative about the man who attempted to kill Roosevelt when running for his third term as president. I think Helferich did a nice job of setting the scene and telling the story. I do think if you have read no other books about T. Roosevelt, you might feel a little lost.
Apr 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
This depicts one of the great episodes in the Teddy Roosevelt legend: the time he gave a speech after being shot. The work reads quickly and provides alternate stories of Roosevelt and his would be assassin. Somewhat similar in set up to Devil in the White City.
Aaron Million
May 30, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: american-history
Helferich tells an interesting, though not particularly contextual, story of the attempted assassination of ex-President Theodore Roosevelt during the latter stages of the 1912 presidential campaign. This is an episode that has received surprisingly little attention over the years (somewhat similar to the attempted assassination of FDR in Florida while he was President-elect in early 1933). Even Patricia O'Toole, who wrote a very good book about TR's life after the White House When Trumpets Call ...more
Last Ranger
Jun 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing

Rough Rider's Last Crusade:

This engrossing little book reads like a Tom Clancy thriller, filled with twists and turns as a deranged young man stalks TR across multiple states for one purpose: to kill him. Convinced that TR had a hand in former President William McKinley's assassination in 1901 and that God was sending him on "Divine Mission", John Flammang Schrank would stop a nothing to avenge the death of a man he had never met and to make sure that TR had no chance of ever becoming a "third t
Francesca Salerno
Apr 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
I recently finished TR's autobiography (downloaded from Project Gutenberg onto my Kindle -- anyone who has not explored Project Gutenberg is missing a treasure trove of tens of thousands of free books, all of them with copyrights that expired before 1922 and that are now in the public domain).

Of course TR has been much in the news of late because of Doris Goodwins fabulous exploration of his relationship with William Howard Taft, but that leaves plenty of room in "book space" for lesser known wr
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
Nonfiction narrative of the near assignation of Theodore Roosevelt. This book was very interesting and I learned so much history of the early 20th century. I had no idea the ex president was shot in his attempt to be elected to a third term as a Progressive candidate. After being out of office Teddy decides he should be president again. But the Republicans think otherwise. It was interesting how he went from Republican to Progressive back to Republican. John Shrank thought otherwise also. This b ...more
John Walker
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very well written non-fiction account of John Schrank's obsessed chase of third part candidate Theodore Roosevelt in 1912, in order to stop him from winning a third term to the Presidency. The finale of Roosevelt's shooting in Milwaukee on October 14 of that year possibly ruined his chances for the third term.
The story carries on to what happened to all the candidates and Schrank's survival to see FDR get a third term. Great story, well done.
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very good. learned a lot about the political atmosphere in 1912.
Christopher A
Aug 21, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. some parts were very entertaining, some parts were long and drawn out. Still a good, quick read on an amazing man.
Aug 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Theodore Roosevelt and the Assassin: Madness, Vengeance, and the Campaign of 1912 is an amazingly well written and researched book. I have read about President Roosevelt and read his famous book The Rough Riders. I am very familiar with his early life as invalid and his urge to be a man in the west. But this is a chapter in his left that I knew zilch about.

Theodore Roosevelt was a larger than life character, who I would have loved to meet if I had lived in his times. This book brings out his uni
Aug 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I won this book through Goodreads Giveaways.

Theodore Roosevelt and the Assassin is a good narrative history of the momentous 1912 presidential election. It is a highly readable history that anyone, from general reader to scholar, interested in the Progressive Era and the election of 1912 should find enjoyable.

The author Gerard Helferich follows the paths of Teddy Roosevelt and his campaign and his would be assassin, John Schrank, to their fateful day in Milwaukee. Schrank believed he was chosen
Jul 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Excellent narrative and compelling read on this almost forgotten piece in American history. A true leader in which he will always be known for, Teddy Roosevelt,always put his causes before himself, something very lacking in today's political environment. This narrative will take you across America in the quest of John Schrank to halt "the third termer" in what he believed was the coming of another Civil War and Kingship if Teddy Roosevelt succeeded. One will be inside each character viewing and ...more
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
I won a copy from a goodreads giveaway.
Before reading this, my knowledge of Theodore Roosevelt was limited. I had not read too much about him other than from several years ago in school. After reading this book about his third time running for the office of the president, I want to read more about him.
The book follows the campaign of 1912 mostly from Roosevelt's perspective. Roosevelt's campaign stops, travel, speeches are covered. We also learn about the other politicians that ran for office th
Jul 26, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was the first book that I ever got from Goodreads and overall, it was a pretty good one. :]

As you could tell by the title, this book delves into the Presidential election of 1912 and the attempted assassination of Theodore Roosevelt. The author does a great job in researching his sources and placing you into this tumultuous period of times. There is great detail and a ton of quotations, which sometimes made things move a little slow, but it really picks up at the end.

Mr. Helferich's book is
Nov 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
Highly readable narrative of the epic 1912 Presidential campaign, largely through the eyes of Theodore Roosevelt's stalker - and of course climaxing with the famous assassination attempt. It's one of the great stories - Roosevelt was shot in the late afternoon, but went on to deliver a rousing ninety minute speech with the bullet still in his chest - and Helferich gives it wonderful political and cultural context.

Roosevelt is a favorite President of mine, but since I'm familiar mostly with the
Jan 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history, non-fiction
This book does not claim to be a comprehensive historical profile of Roosevelt and Schrank, rather a narrative retelling of the events leading and after Schrank's assassination attempt in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. It is a compelling read and captures the characters and settings well. As a Milwaukeean, I'm pleased to know that this historic event hasn't fallen completely out of membry.

I'd prefer more detailed footnotes/endnotes so that I can better follow the sources and the historical record. I am s
Alger Smythe-Hopkins
This is a fun read, but most definitely pop history.

Not much between these covers is new or original, and large sections are essentially reprints of newspaper accounts and memoirs. This means that the perspective on the main actors is external, we watch them move about and are told what others were thinking or feeling rather but not the shooter or the target. Also, it means that throughout the book Roosevelt is called "The Colonel" because that is what others called him at the time, but no one
Mark Fallon
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Most fans of Theodore Roosevelt know that he was shot on October 14, 1912. Before going to the hospital, Roosevelt gave an hour and half long campaign speech to thousands of supporters. Another chapter in a legendary life.

In Theodore Roosevelt and the Assassin, Gerard Helferich tells the story of John Schrank, and how he pursued Roosevelt on the campaign trail, determined to prevent his election to a third term as President. Helferich weaves in the actions of Roosevelt, his opponents (Howard T
Jul 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Entertaining well-written narrative of T. Roosevelt's campaign swing during Sept. - Oct 1912 and the troubled individual that stalked and ultimately attempted to assassinate him in Milwaukee. It is also in some ways almost a travelogue of American cities (or what those cities were like in 1912). While some readers might find those descriptions perhaps a bit too detailed in places I loved it - the author succeeds in really bringing the people and places to life - which is exactly what I am lookin ...more
Jul 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The author Gerard Helferich did a fine job of bringing the reader up to date about the political picture prior to 1912. The way he tracked the candidates and Shrank leading up to the day of the assassination attempt was very well done. I also enjoyed the background history on the main characters, thus giving insight to their character, political views and the issues of the day regarding, but not limited to, industry, the labor force, unions. There never seemed to me to be any part in the book th ...more
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
I got distracted from reading this for about 6 weeks. When, I resumed it was a little tedious. But, the epilogue pulled me back in. Nice wrap-up.
Teddy was quite a character. This book is a summary biography of Roosevelt. The core of the book is about the 1912 presidential campaign and Roosevelt's progressive campaign platform.
The story of John Schrank, who attempted to assassinate Roosevelt was presented as an interesting way to break up what might have been a dry non fiction treatment of the
Chris Meads
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, historic
This book is about the story of Teddy Roosevelt wanting to run for a third term. The assassin is John Schrank who had a dream that President McKinley told him to shoot Roosevelt, to get back at him. Schrank also believed that no president should run for a third term. This story follows the path of both these men and what happens after the 1912 election.

It is well written and in a narrative form that is easy to follow. Gerald Helferich makes it interesting and one can learn about the history of R
Paul Miller
Jan 25, 2016 rated it did not like it
"The Forgotten Story" of the assassin who attempted to kill Teddy as he ran for a 3rd term under the Progressive Banner in 1912 ... is best forgotten. Turns out the same characteristics found in today's serial killers (lack of social connections and delusions of grandeur) were found in the early 20th century as well. Nothing much else to say. Looking forward to reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's coverage of this same frenetic period of American History (Bully Pulpit - just published). Skip this guy. ...more
Apr 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Picked it up from the library on a whim and I'm glad I did. A history of Roosevelt, John Schrank and the politics of the time. It's a nice, easy read with good detailed information. And it's not 500+ pages like so many books these days. I failed most every history class I ever took so reading some of these things that I probably learned and forgot is fun. ...more
James Ray
Aug 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Excellent timeline chronicling the movements of the protagonist and antagonist. Very thorough. Very readable. The epilogue was great historical reference and completed the story. Very good work Gerard!
Aug 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
As a history buff, I loved this book. With the campaign (and stalking) traveling around the nation, the descriptions of the locales were detailed and you truly got a sense of the times. The relationships, personal and political were well written and documented.
Jim Blessing
Feb 09, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
I've read books about Teddy Roosevelt and this was an interesting read about the assassination attempt on his life during the 1912 campaign. It provided considerable detail on this period of his life. ...more
Andrew Scholes
May 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the read and finding out more about Teddy Roosevelt. The author does admit "In the name of dramatic presentation, I have made some assumptions." It is more of a story than it is a history. ...more
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Gerard Helferich, a former editor and publisher, is the author of "Humboldt's Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Latin American Journey That Changed the Way We See the World." He lives with his wife in Yazoo City, Mississippi, and San Miguel Allende, Mexico. ...more

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