Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King: A Novel of Teddy Roosevelt and His Times” as Want to Read:
The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King: A Novel of Teddy Roosevelt and His Times
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King: A Novel of Teddy Roosevelt and His Times

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  220 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Raising the literary bar to a new level, Jerome Charyn re-creates the voice of Theodore Roosevelt, the New York City police commissioner, Rough Rider, and soon- to-be twenty-sixth president through his derring-do adventures, effortlessly combining superhero dialogue with haunting pathos. Beginning with his sickly childhood and concluding with McKinley’s assassination, the ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published January 8th 2019 by Liveright
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  220 ratings  ·  49 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King: A Novel of Teddy Roosevelt and His Times
Jeffrey Keeten
Jan 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
”I stepped into the roaring crowd of greeters--that was the Roosevelt way.

‘Mr. President, Mr. President.’

Babies were thrust at me. I wanted to rock them in my arms, reassure a mother or two, but I didn’t dare in a field of bayonets that reminded me of monstrous porcupine quills. I could feel my freedom slip away with a sudden pull, like the silent shrug of a straitjacket. I didn’t require bayonets, not at all. Deep within my throat, I let out the Rough Rider rip.


 photo Theodore Roosevelt_zps6mzrjakg.jpg
Theodore Roose
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Who knew Teddy Roosevelt lived such a life?! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

Upon reading The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King, I quickly realized how little I knew about Teddy Roosevelt. What a life! What a character.

Did you know Theodore Roosevelt was a police commissioner for New York City, a Rough Rider, an environmentalist? (Shhh…don’t tell…I didn’t know exactly what a Rough Rider was prior to reading this?)

No one would have known our fearless twenty-sixth president had a childhood filled with illness,
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Dec 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: arc
Oh, this book cover.  Don't judge a book by its cover but, oh my, this one is pretty epic.  There's Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt (AKA Teddy / TR / the bull in a china shop / 26th POTUS), with his mountain lion Josephine.

In history class, each president was defined in a brief paragraph with basic information.  If you'd given me a history book with an epic cover depicting any POTUS as a cinematic action hero badass, I would've devoured it.

After reading this historical ficion/biographical fiction nov
Feb 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book could have be subtitled: “The Good Parts.” Any event in Theodore Roosevelt’s life from the near-sighted little boy who mastered birdcalls and taxidermy to the Vice-President who was the “hero of San Juan Hill” are culled and set before the reader.

“Father had six generations of Roosevelts at his rear, bankers and traders in glass, and he took nothing for granted. The Roosevelts had arrived in Manhattan as pig farmers, and Father never forgot the smell of manure that clung to the family
Ron Charles
The Teddy Roosevelt who narrates “The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King” is a whirlwind of activity, a man so caught up in the escapades of his intrepid life that he can’t always be bothered with details. As Henry Adams once said, “All Roosevelt’s friends know that his restless and combative energy was more than abnormal,” and that’s the dynamo whom Charyn has spun into being.

The story opens in panicked gasps. Little asthmatic Teddy spies a werewolf at the foot of his bed. The boy’s life mi
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley

Who can resist that pulp fiction era cover art, reserved for stories about daredevil heroes?

Yes--That is Teddy Roosevelt, our 25th president, dressed in his Brooks Brothers uniform, custom-made for his fantasy-come-true chance to play at war on San Juan's hills, his sidekick mascot cougar at his side!

I can't think of any other president so deserving of action hero fame, for TR's life was made up of Big Moments that prove that fact truly is stranger than fiction. And Jerome Charyon's Th
Steven Z.
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
In Jerome Charyn’s last book I AM ABRAHAM the author presents an unforgettable portrait of Lincoln and the Civil War. He boldly narrates his story in the first person and mixes his brand of humor with Shakespearean like tragedy. In his current effort Charyn takes on the character of Theodore Roosevelt, entitled, THE PERILOUS ADVENTURES OF THE COWBOY KING: A NOVEL OF TEDDY ROOSEVELT AND HIS TIMES. As he has done in the past, Charyn speaks in the first person beginning with Roosevelt’s relationshi ...more
Steve Donoghue
There are SO many ways to get Theodore Roosevelt WRONG in historical fiction that it was a sharp relief to find him done so well in this latest book by the semi-legendary Jerome Charyn. Here's my full review:
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Brave Heart, Teddie's father, plays a very important role in Teddie's life. From long midnight rounds in the carriage to fighting the bad guys to playing the role of a loving and caring father - Brave Heart had influenced young Teddie's life a lot.

When Brave Heart was out, fighting, sister Bamie took charge of the Roosevelt House. From managing her delirious mother - Mittie, to a servant who did not want to take orders from an eleven-year-old, Bamie's hold on Roosevelt household and Teddie's lif
Paul Bennett
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
@LiverightPub @jeromecharyn @CowboyKingTR


In this novel, which Kirkus Reviews calls, “colorful, entertaining” in its starred review, Charyn gives new dimension to Roosevelt, revealing Manhattan’s swampy underbelly after the Civil War, TR’s farcical and dangerous expeditions to the Dakota Badlands, and his personal anguish at losing his mother and wife on the same day.  Like the best of E.L. Doctorow, historical detail is supported by a keen grasp of lang
Ruth Hill
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

So I simply adore historical fiction, and learning about one of the most notable and intriguing characters of history in an entertaining fashion made this book a truly exciting read. I appreciated the fact that the author had a cast list at the beginning of the book (I highly recommend copying this for easy reference as you read). Furthermore, the fact that th
The Library Lady
I don't care that Charyn has a body of critically acclaimed work. I don't care that the reviewer in the Washington Post raved about this yesterday. I don't even care that he is a fellow Bronxite.

I simply hated his writing style. Perhaps it will float your boat. It sank mine.
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
I think that Theodore Roosevelt, who died 100 years ago today, is quite possibly one of the best presidents we ever had and one of the most fascinating men. As a child, I was often sick due to being asthmatic and having allergies that just wouldn’t quit. I always felt that I would never do anything fun because I had asthma. It was my mother who informed me, “Theodore Roosevelt had asthma.” A strange thing to say to a child, but I was a child who was utterly enthralled with reading about Presiden ...more
Feb 14, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm not sure how to rate this book. It was easy to read and entertaining, but as a fictionalized version of TR's life it was almost like a fantasy. There were visions and conversations with dead people that completely undercut the gravitas of the book. I think I should just stick with David McCullough or Doris Kearns Goodwin next time I want to read about an historical figure. I did find it interesting, however, to read a biography told in the first person. But, again, how much was actually base ...more
Jessica Belmont
Jan 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
I know…I know…don’t judge a book by it’s cover. Generally, I’m not a hystorical fiction fan. Not because it isn’t good reading, but because I’m too interested in the fantasy type novels, and I never give historical a chance. Well, when this book was offered to me, I couldn’t help myself. This time, I judged the book by its cover, and I think it worked out pretty well.

I don’t know Jerome Charyn’s work, but I do really like his style of writing. The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King is narrat
I received a galley of this book to review for Library Journal. Please read my review there when it is published.
Cheryl Malandrinos
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Just when you think Jerome Charyn has crafted the best book he could ever write, he comes out with a new one that is even better than the last.

The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King is a novel of Teddy Roosevelt, who would one day become the 26th president of the United States. Covering the years of 1862 when he was still suffering from debilitating asthma, through 1901 when Vice President Theodore Roosevelt is on his way to take a new oath after President McKinley is assassinated, the reade
Mark Fallon
Mar 02, 2019 rated it liked it
A dee-lightfully silly fictionalized account of TR's life before the presidency. Told with TR as the narrator, Charyn's story adds several over-the-top stories to an already larger-than-life character. ...more
Misty Rayburn
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have never been an American history buff. I always felt our history was boring and I liked British history so much better, that I minored in it in college. When I was asked to be a part of this tour, I hesitated because even though I’ve read other books by Jerome Charyn and loved them, I wasn’t sure if a book about Teddy Roosevelt was really for me.


If this would have been the way American history was taught, maybe I would have paid more attention! Jerome Charyn brings the
Bette Stern
Jan 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This novel is utter joy to read from the first page to the last line. I enjoyed the ride and felt like a sad child when I knew it was over.

After reading this book, I realized that Theodore Roosevelt should be everyone's favorite president. A man whose whole life was dedicated to others, to nature, to our future.

I will share this book with my grandchildren when they are old enough to read it, and I hope they follow the example of our finest president - a true superhero worthy of the Marvel comi
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Teddy Roosevelt was indeed a heroic figure whose words seem prescient:

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official…It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country… It is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.”

Charyn succeeds in telling Teddy Roosevelt’s origin story by recreating his voice. This approa
Tony Laplume
Feb 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jerome Charyn is undoubtedly a treasure of American literature, and a champion of that rebel spirit that keeps presenting itself as the true spirit of the nation, so it's not surprising that he finally wrote a novel focusing on the last of the revolutionaries. The results might be bewildering or illuminating, but they're a testament to all Charyn's best instincts.

In the aftermath of the Civil War, a party that had splintered the United States upon election of an unpopular president suddenly foun
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
This historical novel relates the life of Theodore Roosevelt, nicknamed The Cowboy King, from his childhood until he takes office as President. Roosevelt grew up a sickly child; his hero was his father known as Braveheart, who fought for those who were poor and persecuted. As Roosevelt grew, he incorporated many of his father's ideals. He couldn't abide to see those who were victimized by the wealthy, those despised because they didn't have the ability to be educated and make it in the upper cru ...more
Jun 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As I read this wonderful book I kept thinking, “We could use a man like TR in the White House right now!” The Cowboy King brings to life the man who would be our 26th president with the whirlwind fury of his powerful personality. We follow him from his childhood days to the very beginning of his presidency following the assassination of William McKinley. From earliest days he is influenced by his larger-than-life father, the man known as Brave Heart. Hard to say what was the best part of reading ...more
Jan 01, 2021 rated it liked it
This book did a decent job of taking historical facts and developing them into a biographical-fiction narrative. However, events could have been more smoothly connected rather than lumped together in blocks of time as they were. Theodore Roosevelt is not presented as a particularly great man. His heart seems to have been in the right place but his actions are recorded here as somewhat rash and ill conceived with regular self-reflective misgivings. From this rendering, TR seems to have risen to h ...more
Jan 31, 2019 rated it did not like it
I couldn't get into this one and DNF'd at the halfway point. The narration was too...breezy? For 1st person, it was really distant and lacked emotion. The plot moved along at a fast clip and not much time was given to the really hard-hitting aspects of Roosevelt's life, such as the death of his wife and mother on the same day. I mean, I get that in pulp fiction like Charyn is trying to emulate, the focus is more on the action instead of the emotion, but you can still convey emotion in that style ...more
Jun 11, 2019 rated it it was ok
This novelized auto-biography reminds us of how much has changed in America over the past 100 years. However, it trivializes Teddy Roosevelt's life before he became President. So many of the things that were most important to him, and that explain so much of what he accomplished, were totally ignored. I suppose that dealing with Roosevelt's religious-based morality and respect for the environment would have made it difficult to attempt the light-hearted humor that seems to be the objective of mu ...more
Oct 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is described as a "first person novel rich in historical detail and uproarious dialogue". It is definitely not a 'womb-to-tomb' biography, that's certain.
The author does take us from Roosevelt's childhood up to his arrival as 26th President of these United States. Teddy Roosevelt was a larger than life character. We know him as a crime fighter & champion of the disenfranchised, leader of the Rough Riders, and as an environmentalist. History tells us he is one of our greatest peacetime presi
Edy Gies
The fact that I really liked this book has more to do with my love for Theodore Roosevelt than it does for this book. While I found the information interesting, I had a really hard time with the first-person narrative that seemed to jump from past to present tense. I found it confusing and would have enjoyed it more if it were in third person narrative past tense. All that said I can't wait to read more about this incredible larger-than-life figure. ...more
Mount Prospect Public Library
A fun romp featuring Teddy Roosevelt, his upbringing, and his rise to becoming a Rough Rider. With his pet mountain lion, Josephine, by his side, it seems like Teddy can conquer anything! Adventures inspired by an adventurous life abound. ~Chelsea

Available on OverDrive as ebook and on Hoopla as eaudio.
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Crossroads
  • Wolves of Eden
  • The Zealot and the Emancipator: John Brown, Abraham Lincoln, and the Struggle for American Freedom
  • The Last Halloween, Book 1: Children
  • Silence Is a Sense
  • Recursos inhumanos
  • The Keep
  • Florence & Giles
  • The Breach (Travis Chase, #1)
  • Ghost Country (Travis Chase, #2)
  • Hippies
  • Perestroika in Paris
  • Crooked Hallelujah
  • Afterland
  • Love Always
  • The Siberian Dilemma (Arkady Renko #9)
  • Hondo
  • Beasts of No Nation
See similar books…
Jerome Charyn is an award-winning American author. With more than 50 published works, Charyn has earned a long-standing reputation as an inventive and prolific chronicler of real and imagined American life.

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon calls him "one of the most important writers in American literature." New York Newsday hailed Charyn as "a contemporary American Balzac," and the L

Related Articles

  Here at Goodreads, we've noticed that a funny thing tends to happen when we start talking about audiobooks: The same few titles get...
59 likes · 15 comments