The History Book Club discussion

PRESIDENTIAL SERIES > 13. MORNINGS ON HORSEBACK ~ CHAPTER 15, parts 4 & 16 & Afterword (341 - 370) (08/23/10 - 08/31/10)~ No spoilers, please

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message 1: by Bryan (last edited Aug 23, 2010 10:02AM) (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:


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 Thirteen - August 23rd - August 31st -> Chapter FIFTEEN PART 4 & 16 & Afterward p. 341 - 370

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 thirteenth 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.


Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough David McCullough David McCullough

message 2: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig As we left off with Chapter 15, we discover the Marquis de Mores and TR seemed to have a falling out, but it is unclear how far or how long it went. We know TR did not get the price he wanted for his cattle and left without selling. There was speculation that the two were going to duel, and luckily it did not happen, because the Marquis was a champion dueler. Anyway, the Marquis fortunes turned as his cattle enterprise goes "belly up." The beef was not as good Chicago's (the cattle was fed on corn vs. grass). Plus the area had the roughest winter on record and the prices dropped. TR got out of the cattle business. The Marquis returns to France, and would be a player in the Dreyfus Affair where Alfred Dreyfus was wrongly sentenced for giving military secrets to Germany.

Before going home, McCullough tells the tale of TR going after boat thieves in a horrible winter. Instead of letting them go, he takes them 45 miles in two days so he can put the men in custody. Once home, a friend commented that TR was "bone, muscle and grit." (p. 350)

Chapter sixteen covers his life upon his return to New York. Bamie had raised Alice and took care of TR's affairs. Bamie really was the rock of the family. She dealt with all sorts of situations better than any one else in the family. They asked her advice and was considered the most intelligent and energetic, which is saying a lot! And Bamie adored TR in return. TR started seeing his old friend, Edith Carow, and they get secretly engaged. He ran for mayor, the youngest candidate to ever run, but he was a long shot and lost.

The Afterward covers the life of TR, Bamie, Elliott, and Corrine up until their own deaths. We know about TR. Bamie married and lived in D.C. becoming a staple in the social scene until her death in 1931. Elliott died in 1894 due to alcoholism. Her daughter, Eleanor adored her dad, and TR and Bamie guided her as she grew up and married FDR. (TR gave Eleanor away at her wedding.) Corrine lived until 1933 seeing FDR become president. She was considered a great hostess and still never really loved her husband Douglas Robinson.

message 3: by Bryan (last edited Aug 23, 2010 06:39AM) (new)

Bryan Craig In this last discussion, we come full circle. What are your thoughts as TR becomes a dad himself?

message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
I am afraid that the ghost of his father will influence some of his decisions that he makes as a father in relationship to his own sons. TR's father was a wonderful father by all reports but in some instances some of the decisions that TR made in relationship to his own sons were the result of his father's shadow.

message 5: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig Bentley wrote: "I am afraid that the ghost of his father will influence some of his decisions that he makes as a father in relationship to his own sons. TR's father was a wonderful father by all reports but in so..."

No doubt and he himself is quite a role model, hard to live up to.

message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
I think that is the problem...I think they looked at their father as some God. One maybe that they could never live up to. And I think there were some things that his father had to do to appease his wife which also influenced some of the decisions that TR felt that he had to make as a father and a man. I am enjoying this book tremendously and always liked works by this author. Thank you for doing such a great job moderating this book.

message 7: by Vincent (new)

Vincent (vpbrancato) | 1245 comments Bryan I thank you too for the moderating. I think that TR had real obstacles to normal fatherhood and that being the accomplishment driven man that he was may have done the best he could which seems to have been OK -for his children.
He avoided the pitfall of family money and power that was probably/possibly the prime mover in the failure, or maybe fate, of his brother Elliot.
I agree with Bentley - a really good book - time well spent.

message 8: by Marje (last edited Sep 04, 2010 07:56AM) (new)

Marje | 12 comments One criteria by which I judge a history book is if it sparks an interest in the period and the players. By that criteria, for me, Mornings on Horseback, was a smashing success. THE MOMENT I finished it, I began reading Edmund Morris' Pulitzer Prize-winning biography "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt." And, at present I'm thoroughly enjoying watching TR fight the big trusts and monopolies in "Theodore Rex." The third book in Morris' Roosevelt trilogy, "Colonel Roosevelt," will be published in November 2010 and it's already on my Wish List.

I'm grateful to David McCullough for introducing me to this utterly fascinating man, and feel that reading Mornings on Horseback FIRST... gave me a unique insight into his formative years, deepening my understanding and appreciation of who he became as an adult.

I invite you to read below one of my favorite quotes about reading books; it happens to be by David McCullough about a defining moment Theodore Roosevelt's life.

"Once upon a time in the dead of winter in the Dakota Territory, Theodore Roosevelt took off in a makeshift boat down the Little Missouri River in pursuit of a couple of thieves who had stolen his prized rowboat. After several days on the river, he caught up and got the draw on them with his trusty Winchester, at which point they surrendered. Then Roosevelt set off in a borrowed wagon to haul the thieves cross-country to justice. They headed across the snow-covered wastes of the Badlands to the railhead at Dickinson, and Roosevelt walked the whole way, the entire 40 miles. It was an astonishing feat, what might be called a defining moment in Roosevelt’s eventful life. But what makes it especially memorable is that during that time, he managed to read all of "Anna Karenina." I often think of that when I hear people say they haven’t time to read." — David McCullough

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris by Edmund Morris
Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris by Edmund Morris
Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris by Edmund Morris

message 9: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Sep 03, 2010 02:03PM) (new)

Bentley | 44168 comments Mod
Thank you Marje for your wonderful post and I love that quote too. I bet that the next Morris book will be fabulous and thank you for bringing it to our attention.

Bryan is away for the Labor Day weekend so I am responding for him. I remember when we discussed My Early Life by Winston Churchill which was autobiographical; but of course had the same effect for so many folks getting to know more about Churchill himself and his formative years.

You can understand so much of why a person is what they became through the influences they had in their formative years and of course their parents' motivating powers or inspiration (either good or bad).

Please remember to do the citations with links for both the books and the authors you mentioned otherwise the powerful goodreads software cannot track your fabulous post with your recommendations. It will become lost on the thread and nobody will be able to sync and/or link to it. When you add the citations; folks interested in those authors or those books can actually link to all of the posts where these are mentioned or discussed anywhere on the site. Additionally, it helps our group's readers link to them. This is one of our guidelines.

I will add them for you here:

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris by Edmund Morris Edmund Morris

Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris by Edmund Morris Edmund Morris

Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris by Edmund Morris Edmund Morris

My Early Life 1874-1904 by Winston S. Churchill by Winston S. Churchill Winston S. Churchill

message 10: by Bryan (new)

Bryan Craig I'm glad Marje that you got inspired. It is so true that a hallmark of a good book inspires you to read more about a subject.

Thanks Vince for the kind words. It is interesting that TR's son, Ted, Jr., had asthma and TR admitted he pushed him too hard.

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