This biography of a young Theodore Roosevelt, has been in my library for some time. I picked it up after a conversation with my friend Jamie at our last book club. He said that he was reading one of the Edmund Morris biographies of TR. Then, with a scrutinizing look, he said, “I bet you are a fan of Ted.”
Why yes, I am a fan of the old boy. Being a fabulous president, practically hand-picking a successor, then deciding the bloke was doing it all wrong and starting a third party? That’s just good stuff.
I have read a non-zero number of books on the family, but Mornings on Horseback goes into some great detail. And I really do love McCullough.
Roosevelt came from a very tight and very New York family. You may think Edith Wharton, as she was a childhood friend. Ridiculously privileged, but I can’t hate ’em for it, because as a whole they made some good use of themselves.
A good part of the book talked about his early health problems, and how because and in spite of them, he very much valued being in the Great Outdoors. Also connected to that is the time he spent in the Dakotas after the death of his first wife. The better part of three years as a “ranchman”.
I could have done without the descriptions of every poor beast the man ever shot. But the book could not have done without them, because they are so very Roosevelt.
I don’t have to like everything about the guy.
In the end, I think it is his sincerity that makes me like Roosevelt as a person and a politician. Dude had a temper. Dude could change his mind. Talked rather too much. But if he ever lied, it was only to himself and that is worth a lot.