The History Book Club discussion

34 views
PRESIDENTIAL SERIES > 12. MORNINGS ON HORSEBACK ~ CHAPTER 15, parts 1-3 (316 - 341) (08/16/10 - 08/22/10)~ No spoilers, please

Comments Showing 1-14 of 14 (14 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Bryan (last edited Aug 23, 2010 10:03AM) (new)

Bryan Craig Hello Everyone,

This is the discussion for the book Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life & the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt by David McCullough.

This begins the fourth week's reading in our new Presidential Series group discussion.

The complete table of contents is as follows:

Syllabus

Mornings On Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life, and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt

Table of Contents

Author's Note 9

Part One
ONE: Greatheart's Circle p.19
TWO: Lady from the South p.39
THREE: Grand Tour p.69
FOUR: A Disease of the Direst Suffering p.90
FIVE: Metamorphosis p.109

Part Two
SIX: Uptown p.131
SEVEN: The Moral Effect p.149
EIGHT: Father and Son p. 160

Part Three
NINE: Harvard p. 195
TEN: Especially Pretty Alice p. 218
ELEVEN: Home is the Hunter p. 237
TWELVE: Politics p. 251
THIRTEEN: Strange and Terrible Fate p. 277
FOURTEEN: Chicago p. 289
FIFTEEN: Glory Days p. 316
SIXTEEN: Return p. 351

Afterward p. 362

Notes p. 373
Bibliography p. 413
Index p. 427

The assignment for this week includes the following segments/pages:

Week Twelve - August 16th - August 22nd -> Chapter FIFTEEN PARTS 1-3 p. 316 - 341
FIFTEEN PARTS 1-3 - Glory Days

We look forward to your participation; but remember this is a non spoiler thread.

We will open up threads for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers.

This book is being kicked off on May 30th. This will be the twelfth week's assignment for this book.

We look forward to your participation. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library, or on your Kindle.

A special welcome to those who will be newcomers to this discussion and thank you to those who have actively contributed on the previous Presidential Series selection. We are glad to have you all.

~Bryan

TO ALWAYS SEE ALL WEEKS' THREADS SELECT VIEW ALL
Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough David McCullough David McCullough


message 2: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig We are on the home-stretch TR readers:

This is a very interesting chapter. So, TR leaves his family behind and heads west to the Badlands of North Dakota. He is a ranchman, not a cowboy. Cowboys evidently are frowned upon, because this is before cowboys become the folk heroes we know today. It is actually stylish to go West, write a book, or tell stories back East. (In fact, TR would write two books on the West.)

TR first goes out there in 1883 where he hangs out at a fine ranch called the Henry Honeychurch Gorringe ranch, and he invests in cattle. The Northern Pacific Railroad brought Easterners out to the Badlands. The Marquis de Mores was an early visionary for the cattle industry. Instead of hauling live cattle on rails to Chicago, he would slaughter the cattle in his town of Medora, put the meat on refrigerated cars, and sell it East. TR is impressed by the Marquis and the cattle ranch enterprise in general and on this 1884 trip, buys more cattle. He even builds a couple of ranches of his own.

McCullough states that TR stuck out. His clothes were the finest (and it seems a bit lavish). However, he works hard, breaks horses, goes on round-ups, and hunts rain or shine. TR even went on a two month trek to Big Horns Wyoming. He loves it. No one knows him out there, he feels free, and the whole experience restores his body and his soul over such a great loss in his life. His asthma even disappears!


message 3: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig One of the biggest points of TR's life so far that sticks in my mind is the fact that he gives up his child, Alice, and heads West.

This is a big deal. "Sorry, the pain is so great, I have to leave."

What does this say about his love and his personality? What other reasons do you think the West helped him heal?


message 4: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig I like McCullough's quote on cowboy life:

"the cowboy was bold, cared about his work; he was self-reliant and self-confident. Perhaps most important of all, the cowboy seemed to know how to deal with death, death in a dozen different forms being an everyday part of his life." (p. 340)

I think this illustrates TR quite well, and being in Victorian times, everyone faced death much more than today.


message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Aug 19, 2010 10:37AM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Yes, a good death goes back to even Roman times and before. I wonder if TR really thought about these things or because of his love of nature, of being comfortable with shooting animals as a natural part of life (his views not mine)...that he was more comfortable with death in all of its forms. Or is this McCullough just romaticizing the concept of TR. I am not sure. But it is a great line for sure. The more that I study some of the presidents the more I see similarities in some personality traits.


message 6: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Bentley wrote: "Yes, a good death goes back to even Roman times and before. I wonder if TR really thought about these things or because of his love of nature, of being comfortable with shooting animals as a natur..."

Good question, Bentley. Maybe because he was around death as you talk about, his action to go West was to me a surprise. Being such a passionate person, maybe the love was very deep.

I agree about the traits; I see them, too. I think you have to be of a particular personality to do well.


message 7: by Patricrk (new)

Patricrk patrick | 435 comments They had a different attitude for sure. This is from Flight Flight by R.G. Grant by R.G. Grant It is somewhat later as it dates from the 1920's.

Death was an accepted risk of the job. One pilot would recall later. "I would have been frightened if I thought I would get maimed or crippled for life. But there was little chance of that. A mail pilot was usually killed outright"


message 8: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Funny, Patricrk, and interesting. I suppose test pilots/military aviators and astronauts still have that mentality.

I think there are whole books on the topic of death and the Victorian times. It was truly a different attitude.


message 9: by Vincent (new)

Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments Bryan wrote: "One of the biggest points of TR's life so far that sticks in my mind is the fact that he gives up his child, Alice, and heads West.

This is a big deal. "Sorry, the pain is so great, I have to l..."


But his leaving was tempered by the availabiliyt of the Northern Pacific RR letting him go back and forth relatively, for the time, quickly and easily.

I think the west helped him heal as it helped him establish himself as "his own man" measuring up to the standards of the common men there. As a stockman - rancher - similarly to the Marquis he was working with money not earned by himself.

Time away from the usual crutches and supports of your normal world, notwithstanding his expensive guns and clothes etc., makes you more aware of your independence. I think.


message 10: by Vincent (new)

Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments There were a couple of other things I noted in this chapter - I read the full chapter but will not be a spoiler.

I am curious about his insistence that "old Lebo" not call him Theodore - insisting on Mr. Roosevelt. My curiousity is if it was common that the owners were called Mr. and that maybe old Lebo just reacted to TR's age or if Lebo took a liberty that he would not have taked with other bosses. The Marquis I think must have expected the title form everyone.

I also noted that this was only 20 years after the end of the Civil War - yet in the Dakotas it seemed that the country was thought of an one country without any question - this might always be true for those who were expanding the American frontier as they did it.


message 11: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Interesting, Vince, I remember that sentence, too. I'm not sure why TR wanted his last name to be used. It could have been the norm to call your boss Mr. I wonder if TR wanted other people in his life to use Mr, too, but McCullough does not cover it. I'm not sure, though...

And I think you are right about the frontier. You can make yourself over there and not worry so much about "state history" or your own for that matter.


message 12: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Maybe he saw it as a note of respect and that not calling someone by Mr. and Roosevelt connoted or insinuated familiarity where there was none.

I know when I call a customer service desk and they want to call me by my first name; I really do not like it either. I think if let us say one of my children brought somebody home to play or to stay over and they called me by my first name I don't think I would take to it either.

And in the case of TR, he was proud of his family heritage and felt that this was respectful. That is the only thing that I can reason from this.


message 13: by Vincent (new)

Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments Well a non historical side note is that I totally agree Bentley that when you are a customer unless you invite folks usually one should be Mr. or Mrs. or Ms etc

I get a lot of sirs but I think that is age driven.


message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Sorry about the sirs. But I think I understand Roosevelt's request for more formality.


back to top