Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America” as Want to Read:
The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  1,492 Ratings  ·  192 Reviews
From New York Times bestselling historian Douglas Brinkley comes a sweeping historical narrative and eye-opening look at the pioneering environmental policies of President Theodore Roosevelt, avid bird-watcher, naturalist, and the founding father of America’s conservation movement.

In this groundbreaking epic biography, Douglas Brinkley draws on never-before-published mater
ebook, 960 pages
Published July 28th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books
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 Wilderness Warrior, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Wilderness Warrior

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Aug 21, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: presidents
Let there be no question who the 'environmental president' was. Brinkley establishes that in meticulous, painstaking detail. I think I now know every bird TR observed, every book on nature he read, every park he created. A monograph would have been enough. Oh, there are great anecdotes and analyses here. But this bordered on Too Much Information. And the problem is that TR was not just a conservationist president. By focusing only on TR's conservationist actions, Brinkley does TR and history a ...more
John Hood
Dec 26, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bound Miami SunPost November 15, 2009

The Rough Riding Tree Hugger

Teddy Roosevelt’s Deep Green Militancy

John Hood

There’s a good reason why Teddy Roosevelt’s mug is on Mount Rushmore. Because of all the president’s, he’s the one who’s legacy is large enough to stand alongside the likes of Washington, Lincoln and Jefferson. Like our first president, Roosevelt was a war hero, even if the fight he fought was in but “a splendid little war.” Like Lincoln, Rooseve
May 27, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
So, first of all let me say, I love Teddy Roosevelt. I think I may have an unnatural obsession with him, especially considering the giant mustache he sported which is usually a turnoff for me. His conservationist side is one of the main things that I appreciate about him. That made The Wilderness Warrior a huge draw for me.
Unfortunately, this book just didn't do T.R. justice. First of all, the editing was borderline offensive. I know I shouldn't hold that against the author, but it was awful.
Nov 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I always wondered why Teddy Roosevelt's face was on Mount Rushmore. Now I don't. He belongs there at least as much as the others there and I owe that knowledge to this book.

Wilderness Warrior is an account of the life-long naturalist who gave us most of our National Parks, Monuments and game reserves. From his precocious youth, Teddy (he hated that name) was captivated by nature and driven with a desire to know, record and collect the plants and, in particular, the animals of our world.

With a ze
Jul 28, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Looking forward to this. A very good (and prolific) writer, and a subject I feel some kinship with. My grandfather met Teddy and Taft about 100 years ago. He was impressed that they seemed like regular, unassuming guys. My grandfather took more pride in his adopted country (as seems typical) than many natives. Also interested in the conservation angle. .....Update: Terrific!!! A unique personality, tied to the birth of the movement to conserve the American wilderness. Shows why TR is remembered, ...more
Dec 24, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: american-history
Theodore Roosevelt once said, "we regard Attic temples and Roman triumphal arches and Gothic cathedrals as of priceless value. But we are, as a whole, still in that low state of civilisation where we do not understand that it is also vandalism wantonly to destroy or to permit the destruction of what is beautiful in nature, whether it be a cliff, a forest or a species of bird or mammal."

He was, and remains, without question the most environmentally-friendly, conservation-minded President America
Andy Miller
Oct 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This biography of Theodore Roosevelt is an in depth focus on the conservationist. Douglas Brinkley, the author, does an excellent job of capturing Roosevelt's passion for the outdoors which started at a young age. Even the reader of other biographies will learn a lot, including the influence of his "black sheep" paternal uncle who was an early pioneer in the "outdoor" movement, Roosevelt's involvement in the beginnings of the Boone and Crocket club, Field and Stream magazine and his outdoor adve ...more
Bookmarks Magazine
Drawing on unpublished research on Theodore Roosevelt and the rise of conservationism in America -- no small task, considering the many biographies on Roosevelt published over the last decade -- Brinkley offers a weighty tome that, while shedding new insight into the former president's environmentalism, tends to overwhelm with detail and, according to some critics, underwhelm with substance. Over two decades and more than two dozen books, Brinkley has mastered the art of balancing scholarship an ...more
Apr 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Never read anything by Brinkley before and this was quite a treat. Living in Utah, I am surrounded by beautiful national parks, monuments, and forests that are part of T.R.'s enduring legacy. This book was a fascinating journey through nature conservation history and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
Bob MacNeal
Laboriously researched, it's regrettable that Douglas Brinkley and his editors didn't honor the subject with meticulous editing.

This biography is described as epic because it lays out in encyclopedic inclusiveness (and repetitive detail), how a wealth-coddled asthmatic boy from New York City grew into a legendary Rough Rider, beloved President, and one of America's most accomplished conservationists.

Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir on Glacier Point, Yosemite Valley, California, in 1903
Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir on Glacier Point
Yosemite Valley, California, in 1903

TR was
Matthew Philips
Apr 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book but couldn't give it a 5 for the following reasons:

-It was just too long. Many sections repeated info without much added benefit. With that said, it was still a relatively quick read all things considered. It never felt like a slog.

-I found that he jumped around a lot in time. The book is roughly chronological, but there were numerous places where he jumped forward or backwards with just a reference to a year. Who can keep a lifetime of dates straight?!

-The lists of bi
What? An environmental republican president? Yep!

Created the U.S. Forest Service, established bird reserves, game reserves, National Parks, National Monuments and National Forests. Saved more land for future generations than any other president.
Ryan Louis
Aug 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The word "epic" is an epidemic. It's replacing "really cool" in the way we describe things like ice cream and fresh produce. So, when I ascribe the word to this book, I want to emphasize that it is not an accidental attribution. Rather, it is a sincere description of the book's scope. It's epic--phenomenally epic.

So epic that--when I finish books like these--I begin walking around with a chip on my shoulder. People tell me that's how they feel after reading "Gone With the Wind." Investing ample
Nov 12, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whew-I have finally reached the conclusion of this 950 page (small font, no less!!) behemoth that articulates, at times in excruciating detail, Teddy Roosevelt and his agenda towards conservation. A useful history that ignores everything else in TR’s complex, productive life, this book focuses exclusively on his love of wilderness and his eventual role in shaping environmental policy. The book really excels in its first half, which addresses TR’s pre-presidential life. Here we really appreciate ...more
Drew Danko
Mar 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a 817 page educational experience that both enlightened me as well as raised some emotions. What struck me most about this great man was how he was the right man, in the right place, at the right time. I doubt if we will ever see such a perfect fit again. His innate talents and temperament led him to engage in many roles -a highly regarded ornithologist, a cattle rancher out west, a military officer, a published author, a progressive Republican politician, a U.S. president, a hunter ...more
Catherine Woodman
This book really is too long--there is a lot of good information in here, and there were chapters that I really enjoyed, but there is much overlap from section to section, where we go back over the same material and the same people, but from a slightly different angle, and I think a more gifted storyteller would have been able to weave the tale a little tighter to come up with say a 500 page biography instead of a 900 page one. I read it on the kindle, so usually picked it up on trips where I wa ...more
Richard Maxwell
Jun 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lucy was kind enough to give me this book for my last birthday. It is a tome but reads quickly. Brinkley goes into a great deal of detail about TR's love of nature and his efforts to preserve the wilderness of America from the repaciousness of speculators and land-hungry businessmen of the early 20th century. Some may feel there is too much detail devoted to TR's classification of birds, etc. but the writing is good and detail is interspersed with anecdotes and stories. Brinkley never does succe ...more
Dec 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quite a read at 817 pages but well worth it. I knew something of Theodore Roosevelt having read The Bully Pulpit. This books focuses on his environmental record (I had never heard of the roseate spoonbill before) and with the possible exception of Hetch Hetchy, his record is not only prodigious but spotless. Suffice to say President Obama has nothing on TR with regards to Executive Orders. Well written and researched, the author is obviously a huge fan of TR. After reading this book, I count mys ...more
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a fantastic biography of Teddy Roosevelt and his conservationist policies and ideals. Extremely long and in-depth but totally worth the time.
Mac McCormick III
Aug 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, 1858-1919 is a biography of Theodore Roosevelt that concentrates strictly on his conservationist side. Other domestic policy and foreign policy occasionally come into play, but only when it's connected to conservation policy. It is a long book, repetitive on occasion, but very readable and engaging.

“We regard Attic temples and Roman triumphal arches and Gothic cathedrals as of priceless value,” Roosevelt decreed, full of wi
Feb 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Theodore Roosevelt has been one of my favorite historical figures for almost my entire adult life. As someone who has a hard time narrowing down my own interests (let alone reading list), the breadth and depth of his pursuits is both fascinating and reassuring. As someone who enjoys being outside in wild spaces, his efforts in preserving them has been inspiring.

He’s also one of the most intellectually challenging figures for me. Without delving too far into politics, I generally prefer the feder
At 824 pages (before appendixes and endnotes) this book is not for the faint of heart. But Brinkley's writing—and Roosevelt's own force of personality—may well carry the reader down the stream of wonder, knowledge, and executive orders until he or she looks back to find that the journey was indeed worth taking.

This is the first T.R. biography I have read, which may strike some as an odd choice given its narrow focus. Maybe it was the sale price on Amazon that enticed me. At any rate, here you ca
Tim Hahn
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's long. Really long. And somewhat dry. But I listened to it while driving to and from work, so I didn't have to spend time on this I otherwise would have spent doing other things.

That being said, this book is very informative and motivating. It drives home the point that TR revolutionized the idea of "public lands" as we know them today. He set aside so many acres for the preservation of nature that even if we hadn't done anything more, there would still be lots of great places to go. But wh
Sep 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Actually would rate this 4 1/2 stars. It was very long, but I am glad that I kept reading. I've read a few books about Theodore Roosevelt, I think this was the best one. Its a good analysis of a complicated naturalist/preservationist/big game hunter.
The difficult part for me was trying to reconcile his obsession with big game hunting and his preservationist side. It bothered me, especially reading in too much detail about his hunting trips. Even as he was concerned about preserving wildlife he
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio-memoir, 2018
Fascinating man who made the biggest impact on conservation of anyone I can think except perhaps John Muir. The book would have been more impactful at about half the length. There was so much detail that was mildly interesting but not curated well, in my opinion.

Loved reading about his big game hunting habit and that was somewhat contradictory at times but also important to his impact in animal and habitat conservation. The chapter on the invention of the teddy bear toy (based on a cartoonist's
May 15, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
President Theodore Roosevelt is my favorite historical figure.

The Wilderness Warrior by Douglas Brinkley is the 8th book involving or by Theodore Roosevelt I've read. This includes The Strenuous Life Essays and Addresses, The Big Burn Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire that Saved America, The River of Doubt Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey, Island of Vice Theodore Roosevelt's Doomed Quest to Clean up Sin-loving New York, and of course the definitive biography trilogy by Edmund Morris, The Rise of
Brad Hodges
Oct 24, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is a testament to the fascinating life that Theodore Roosevelt led that this doorstop of a biography, The Wilderness Warrior, weighing in at over 800 pages, ends with Roosevelt leaving the presidency. It also has a singular emphasis--Roosevelt's abiding passion for protecting the wilderness. As the subtitle suggests, he was a crusader with an evangelist's zeal.

Douglas Brinkley has written an exhaustive study of Roosevelt's almost radical approach to preserving wildlife and its habitation. The
A little dry, but overall, a fascinating look at a side of Roosevelt that we have rarely seen.

I learned a lot about this side of Roosevelt. For example, I knew he was a big game hunter, but I did not know that he fought for conservation and was very interested in birds (a student of Audubon) and their habitats. This contradiction in his "personality" has baffled Roosevelt scholars for years.

Also, it's been said by modern enviromentalists that Roosevelt had a conflict of loyalties in the West bet
May 04, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This book covered in meticulous detail the hunting and conservation activities of Theodore Roosevelt. It also covered his childhood activities that led into it. It was far more detail that I cared to read. I soon found that through the book there was a repeating pattern of meeting someone & working toward a common goal. And also a description of how much or how little their goals were in common.

The acquaintance and relationship with dozens of people who were like minded as hunters, ornitholo
Eddie Callaway
Jun 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Took me two months to read, not because it wasn't fascinating but because it was so in depth.

This book covers an amazing amount of the accomplishments of Theodore Roosevelt. It ends when his presidency ends, unfortunately.

Many pages of end notes lead to even more interesting topics to read and discover.

Highly recommended for anyone who likes conservation and considers TR to be at the top of greatest presidents. Without a doubt he is the "conservation president".
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir
  • The Ascent of George Washington: The Hidden Political Genius of an American Icon
  • The Sage of Monticello
  • Franklin Pierce: New Hampshire's Favorite Son
  • Andrew Johnson: A Biography
  • Impeached: The Trial of President Andrew Johnson and the Fight for Lincoln's Legacy
  • A Secret Life: The Lies and Scandals of President Grover Cleveland
  • Ike: An American Hero
  • Last Stand: George Bird Grinnell, the Battle to Save the Buffalo, and the Birth of the New West
  • Abigail and John: Portrait of a Marriage
  • Dark Horse: The Surprise Election and Political Murder of President James A. Garfield
  • The Return of George Washington: 1783-1789
  • Jefferson's Secrets: Death and Desire at Monticello
  • Andrew Jackson: The Course of American Empire, 1767-1821
  • America's Great Debate: Henry Clay, Stephen A. Douglas, and the Compromise That Preserved the Union
  • T.R.: The Last Romantic
  • Rutherford B. Hayes: Warrior and President
  • Year of Meteors: Stephen Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, and the Election that Brought on the Civil War
Douglas Brinkley is a professor of history at Rice University and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. The Chicago Tribune has dubbed him “America’s new past master.” His most recent books are The Quiet World, The Wilderness Warrior, and The Great Deluge. Six of his books have been selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year. He lives in Texas with his wife and three children.
More about Douglas Brinkley...

Nonfiction Deals

  • Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival
    $8.24 $1.99
  • A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf
    $27.00 $2.99
  • Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
    $8.99 $1.99
  • A Room of One's Own
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Life in a Medieval City
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Forged a New Afghanistan
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Too Close to Me: The Middle-Aged Consequences of Revealing A Child Called "It"
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Inside the Criminal Mind: Revised and Updated Edition
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
    $13.99 $2.99
  • How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Evangelii Gaudium: The Joy of the Gospel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Heart of Christianity
    $9.74 $1.99
  • Hidden Figures
    $4.09 $1.99
  • Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen
    $17.99 $1.99
  • Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man
    $7.24 $1.99
  • K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain
    $11.99 $1.99
  • The Art of Living: The Classical Mannual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness
    $10.49 $1.99
“survival of the fittest”—which was first coined by the economist Herbert Spencer” 1 likes
“Defenders of the short-sighted men who in their greed and selfishness will, if permitted, rob our country of half its charm by their reckless extermination of all useful and beautiful wild things sometimes seek to champion them by saying that “the game belongs to the people.” So it does; and not merely to the people now alive, but to the unborn people. The “greatest good for the greatest number” applies to the number within the womb of time, compared to which those now alive form but an insignificant fraction. Our duty to the whole, including the unborn generations, bids us to restrain an unprincipled present-day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations. The movement for the conservation of wild life and the larger movement for the conservation of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method. —THEODORE ROOSEVELT, A Book-Lover’s Holidays in the Open (1916)” 0 likes
More quotes…