Abe's Reviews > Colonel Roosevelt

Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris
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M 50x66
's review
Nov 22, 2011

really liked it
Read in November, 2011

The third and final installment in Morris’s biography of the great man, this book was not as good as the first two, but still worth the read.

It takes us from the beginning of Teddy’s “retirement” in 1909 until his death in 1919. While the first book was absolutely fantastic in introducing us to this most amazing American, and the second book covered momentous events of which he was the architect as President, this book doesn’t have as much external excitement going for it. While it covers WWI, Roosevelt was a gadfly more than he was an integral part of it. There are two amazing expeditions – game hunting in Kenya and exploring an unknown river in South America – but exploration books are a dime a dozen. And the splitting of the Republican Party to form his Bull Moose party was in fact driven by him, but 100 years later just doesn’t seem that earthshaking. And sure he was the victim of an attempted assassination, got a bullet in his chest that remained there for life, but despite bleeding profusely delivered the speech he was on his way to before going to the hospital, but then doesn’t everyone?

Still, this was a man who, during this period, probably had the most influence in the world of anyone outside the reins of power. And the reason for this remains that he was a man of enormous intellect, energy, talent, and sincerity, and was viewed as such by the entire world; indeed he was likely, despite being in an era of kings and queens, the most famous person in the world during these years.

As always Morris writes with an eye to incredibly small detail, while sourcing everything to an unbelievable degree, so every turn of face or random word helps to tell the story while retaining total authenticity.

My only real quibble with the book is that TR had to die at the end. After nearly 2000 pages of biography this was sad indeed….
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