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The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

(Theodore Roosevelt #1)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  42,990 ratings  ·  1,758 reviews
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time

Described by the Chicago Tribune as "a classic," The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt stands as one of the greatest biographies of our time. The publication of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt on September 14th, 2001 marks the 100th anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt becoming president.
Paperback, 2001 Modern Library Paperback Edition, 816 pages
Published November 20th 2001 by The Modern Library (first published March 30th 1979)
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Valérie B. Greetings,
In college I had to read it and I would read 200 pages per weekend.…more
Greetings,
In college I had to read it and I would read 200 pages per weekend.(less)

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Average rating 4.23  · 
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 ·  42,990 ratings  ·  1,758 reviews


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Matt
Feb 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
“[Theodore] Roosevelt found himself on a great flat rock, gazing out…across the whole of New York State. Rolling fog obscured everything but nearer grass and shrubs, yet the sense of being the highest man for hundreds of miles around, cherished by all instinctive climbers, was no doubt pleasing to him. As if in further reward, the clouds unexpectedly parted, sunshine poured down on his head, and for a few minutes a world of trees and mountains and sparkling water lay all around, stretching to in ...more
Laura
I can't remember the last time I was so glad to have finished a book. Clearly, this is an award-winning work with lots of glowing reviews. From about the middle of the book on, it was a slog to get through. I won't say the book itself is bad, as it was meticulously researched and written. I think it's more a case of what I was expecting, and what I instead got from this that caused the problem.

What I expected:

1. I wanted to know TR as a human being: personal, professional, spiritual, social.

2
...more
Chrissie
On completion:

This was an absolutely excellent book. It gave me everything I want from a biography. It chronologically relates all aspects of Theodore Roosevelt's life up to his presidency, after President McKinley's assassination in 1901. The next in the trilogy covers his years in the Presidency: Theodore Rex. I will very soon continue with that! I was worried that it might be repetitive, having years ago read (and loved)David McCullough's Mornings on Horseback. Such a worry was unnecessary.
...more
Max
May 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: american-history
In this superbly written first volume of three, Morris portrays a man of unbelievable fortitude, accomplishment and unparalleled scope. Theodore Roosevelt’s incredibly incisive mind is coupled with endless energy. He is anything he wants to be: an avid outdoorsman, a skillful boxer, an accomplished hunter, a cattle rancher, a Harvard phi Beta Kappa and magna cum laude graduate, a devouring reader of every possible subject, an author of highly regarded books on topics as diverse as naval warfare ...more
Matt
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook
TED OF ALL TRADES, MASTER OF ALL

Edmund Morris ought to consider this new title for his next revised edition of this jam-packed book, so full of information and anecdotes that the reader would surely agree to the change a short time into the literary adventure. As thorough as the beginning of this biography might be, its ease of reading entices many who might otherwise shy away from so long a tome.

As I seek to expand my knowledge of some key historical figures, I chose to tackle the three volume
...more
Colleen Browne
Aug 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
I had to give this book 5 stars because frankly, it is one of the finest biographies I have ever read. It is a narrative of TR's life told by a writer who is obviously one of the presidents biggest fans. That said, Morris does not allow his admiration and respect for his subject to cloud his judgment. When he determines that TR got it wrong, he says so. If there is one criticism that I have it is that Edith and TR's relationship is not really dealt with in any meaningful way. I would like to hav ...more
Laura Noggle
“It is not often that a man can make opportunities for himself. But he can put himself in such shape that when or if the opportunities come he is ready to take advantage of them.”

It was probably unfair to read this so soon after Ron Chernow's Grant, which is still the best biography I've read to date.

Morris does an exceptional job—however—this book is filled with rather mundane minutia and not as much heart or character as I was hoping for. Maybe I just like an underdog story (Grant) more than
...more
Erik Graff
Aug 16, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Americans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: biography
Having been invited by Nate and Robyn Gregory to spend two weeks with them in NW Wisconsin and having had several prior visits to the nearby town, I brought up two books for scholarly review and trusted to the Hayward animal welfare resale shop for supplementary pleasure reading. There I picked up this text and a couple of birthday gifts for a niece, expecting to make a start while still up in the north woods, but to finish it at home.

In fact, the text was so engrossing that I finished it in a f
...more
Jim
Jan 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the great biographies of all time, certainly the greatest I have ever read. Thus it is also the greatest presidential biography I have ever read, and I've read nearly thirty such volumes. This is the first volume of Edmund Morris's three-volume biography of Theodore Roosevelt, covering the years from his birth to the moment his presidency began. Never have I read such a thoroughly researched, minutely detailed, yet stirring and compelling biography. This is a book that seems to ov ...more
Checkman
Theodore Roosevelt is one of our most admired presidents. It seems that regardless of one's political viewpoints there is something about him that one can admire. There is a laundry list: Liberals, conservatives, gun-owners, hunters, conservationists, doves, hawks, capitalists, socialists, racists. You name the cause or special interest and it seems that Theodore Roosevelt covered it -a true Renaissance Man . Wait a minute what was that last thing, racists? Yes I included racists in that list. T ...more
Marcel
Oct 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Teddy Roosevelt ranks among the most colorful characters in American history. We all have heard of the charge of Roosevelt's Raiders up San Juan Hill. But who knows that Teddy once captured a horse thief? Who knows that Roosevelt was a prolific writer, and somewhat of an expert scientist? Teddy ranks alongside characters such as Alexander the Great, George Armstong Custer and Kit Carson as people one wonders, "How did they do so much in a single life?"

Edmund Morris is one of the best writers of
...more
Jill Mackin
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read like an adventure story. What an interesting man Teddy was.
Patrick Peterson
Written Oct. 2014, minor revisions 19 Nov. 2017 - This 8 disc abridged audio version of the book makes me very sorry that this is only an abridged version, since I noticed many significant gaps that I want to know more about:

1. Father's family history - just how wealthy were the Roosevelts? Where did the money come from?

2. Mother's family history - how important were the slaves in the family? What happened to the family and the slaves during the civil war? How did her mother (Teddy's maternal gr
...more
Steven Fisher
Jun 25, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: american
Better read this before it is removed from circulation.
Or thrown on a pryor .
Mark
Sep 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It took quite a while to get through this one. I put it aside for a long while (twice) just to take a breather. Not because it's terrible; it's just so much information, and so detailed that it is at times difficult to absorb, and difficult to read at length in one sitting. Definitely a Sunday morning book, not a bedtime book during the work week. Unless you have insomnia. I don't mean that it poorly written, its just dense. Which is fine when reading about Teddy's extraordinary youth, his explo ...more
Peter Beck
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pulitzer, presidents
"Magisterial," "erudite," and yes, "definitive" are a few of the words I would use to describe "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt." Morris effectively captures just what a force of nature Roosevelt was and makes a strong case for Roosevelt as the most interesting president Americans have ever elected. At the same time, Morris does not cover up Roosevelt's warts: He was a racist and a war monger who found solace and joy in killing animals for sport.

One of the best ways to take a measure of the man
...more
Morgan
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not really a fan of politics or presidential biographies, so was a little wary going into this one, but out of all the presidents, Theodore Roosevelt has been my favorite to learn about. In middle school I did a somewhat long report about Teddy and I have been a fan of his since. Reading this book took me back to that report, but with more knowledge and far better writing.

At times this book read like a great American novel, except this isn't a novel. Roosevelt's life is so rich and a times a
...more
Mary Mason
Apr 05, 2008 rated it really liked it
I'm a fiction reader, mostly; this was one of the efforts I made at reading some non-fiction after hearing Edmund Morris in an interview on a talk radio station. He was immensely impressive--so well spoken, so literate, so knowledgeable about, it seemed, nearly everything.

The book was as good as I had hoped, full of wonderful detail of Theodore Roosevelt's personal life. This first of (3?) books by Morris on Roosevelt was on his formative years--the love of his parents, the love of his family, t
...more
Charles J
Feb 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a forty-year-old biography that is as fresh today as it was in the 1970s. "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" is the best-known of modern biographies of Theodore Roosevelt, although it only covers his life up to his accession to the Presidency, in 1901. It wholly warrants its reputation—the writing is clear and compelling, the facts are relevant and interesting, and the author, Edmund Morris, treats the man through the lens of his time, not with any jarring ideological overlay imported from ...more
Matt Pitts
Aug 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had wanted to read this book for some time and finally grabbed the audiobook from my library. It was not until I was on the second disc that I realized with disappointment that it was an abridgment. But I got over my disappointment because the narrator was superb and the pacing perfect. I always prefer the full work, but I see now why an abridgment is appealing. Still, I'd like to read or listen to the next two in the trilogy unabridged going forward.
Dick Gullickson
Apr 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to separate my admiration for Theodore Roosevelt from my appreciation for Edmund Morris's great biography. Theodore is an unexpectedly remarkable and fascinating individual. Edmund paints a compelling picture of Teddy with his boyish enthusiasms, boundless energy, magnetic personality, odd speaking style (at least for much of his early career), and top flight intellect. Roosevelt was a committed amateur biologist who wrote one of his many books on the big game animals of the west. He w ...more
Matt
May 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, 2013-reads
In the early afternoon of September 13, 1901, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt was eating lunch on his descent from the top of Mount Marcy where he no doubt had contemplated his future not only in politics but in life. Now just hours after possibly concluding that his political fortunes would descend as he would from the mountain top, a ranger baring a yellow telegram message came into view that would mark the end of "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt" not in political obscurity but it's mountain ...more
rmn
Mar 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing
It is hard to believe this is not fiction. Roosevelt led an amazing childhood and early life, one that is not to be believed.

Aided by Morris' lively writing, this book follows TR from birth until just before he becomes President. It is not only a great picture of the precocious, intellectual, and multi-talented Roosevelt, but a good look at what America was like in the late 1800s and delves into alot of history that gets glossed over in school.

While this is the first book of a planned trilogy (T
...more
Katy
An excellent account of TR up to his vice presidency. Even knowing what comes next, it is amazing that Morris leaves us with a cliff hanger at the end of this volume.
Eric Hollen
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Mistah SPEEK-AH! Mistah SPEE-KAH!"

A very well-written and engaging biography. Roosevelt, pre-presidency, was a man of boundless energy and ambition. A cross between his privileged, millionaire, Harvard-educated East society, and his rugged, colloquial, rancher Western crowd, Roosevelt embodied his idea of what he thought it meant to be American. While at times the narrative felt like it was written by an old white dude (some cringeworthy moments with women and Native Americans), Morris does a f
...more
Bartosz Majewski
Nov 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: pleasure
I have been wanting to read a biography of Theodore Roosevelt for years now, but there was always something more important and urgent to read to. So when the time came i decided to go for overkill and to read (listen on audible, to be exact) a three-part biography that has 2500 pages in total. This is a first, 780 pages long part.

If what you've read doesn't scare you, maybe consider reading it however make sure that you are committed to 2500 pages or ~80 hours of audiobook listening. So far I'm
...more
Markus Molina
Nov 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Firstly, I'd like to preface this review by stating, I'm really not into politics much at all and find it boring for the most part, so I can imagine more political folk enjoying this book a lot more than I did. I decided to pick up this review after my professor was discussing him in class with such pep and enthusiasm, I was compelled to read up on him.

Roosevelt is probably the most interesting man to ever run for office, in my opinion. And this book brought him to life waaay better than my pro
...more
Shawn Deal
Jan 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I have read many biographies over the last many years, especially on the Presidents, and this one is one of the best. Chronicling the rise in power of Theordore Roosevelt, this book essentially starts with his childhood and goes to the moment he finds out that he has become president through assassination. With some amazing details, this book goes through every position he has until Presidency and through all the major decisions he has to make personally and professionally. The reader really get ...more
Andrew
Jun 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Is this what it feels like to climb a mountain?

No matter how overbearingly detailed this is, I couldn't stop reading it.
Absurdly overlong, but I do feel very inspired having known how vigorous a man Roosevelt was. How the heck did he do so much stuff all the time? How did he write so many letters? How did he come up with such good insults? I wanna be like Teedie when I grow up.

Not sure how a biography could be any better than this. For what it might have lacked in style and prose it made up for
...more
Cristobal
Oct 31, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
A monster of a book fitting a monster of a man. Theodore Roosevelt's life is the stuff of fantasy, right up there with history's greatest men Alexander the Great, Charlemagne, Napoleon. This first book in a three book series by Morris covers Roosevelt's life from his birth until the brink of his first presidency. In those forty something years he packs several lifetimes.

The writing is full on detail but doesn't feel boring. It draws clear pictures of the characters of the time and their relation
...more
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NonFiction Pulitzers: Roosevelt: Nov/Dec 2016 79 38 Dec 27, 2016 11:50AM  
AoM Essential Man...: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt 1 8 May 01, 2015 09:19AM  
Teddy Roosevelt 4 28 Nov 21, 2014 12:18PM  

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Edmund Morris (1804-1874)
Edmund Morris, actor, playwright, author of screenplays

Edmund Morris was a writer best known for his biographies of United States presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. Morris recei
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Other books in the series

Theodore Roosevelt (3 books)
  • Theodore Rex
  • Colonel Roosevelt

News & Interviews

There's something great about a paperback book: They're perfect book club choices, you can throw them in your bag and go, and they've been out in...
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“In the tired hand of a dying man, Theodore Senior had written: "The 'Machine politicians' have shown their colors... I feel sorry for the country however as it shows the power of partisan politicians who think of nothing higher than their own interests, and I feel for your future. We cannot stand so corrupt a government for any great length of time.” 19 likes
“It is not often that a man can make opportunities for himself. But he can put himself in such shape that when or if the opportunities come he is ready to take advantage of them.” 7 likes
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