Commissioner Roosevelt: The Story of Theodore Roosevelt and the New York City Police, 1895-1897

Overview

"A lively, entertaining and well-researched portrait of a zealous reformer during the historic crusade that successfully launched his career in government."—Booklist

COMMISSIONER ROOSEVELT: The Story of Theodore Roosevelt and the New York City Police, 1895 - 1897

When Theodore Roosevelt took office as New York's police commissioner in 1895, the Metropolitan Police force was barely more than a confederation of thugs and petty criminals whose chief activity was to extort ...

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Overview

"A lively, entertaining and well-researched portrait of a zealous reformer during the historic crusade that successfully launched his career in government."—Booklist

COMMISSIONER ROOSEVELT: The Story of Theodore Roosevelt and the New York City Police, 1895 - 1897

When Theodore Roosevelt took office as New York's police commissioner in 1895, the Metropolitan Police force was barely more than a confederation of thugs and petty criminals whose chief activity was to extort protection money from local merchants. The thirty-seven-year-old Roosevelt rode roughshod over the corrupt bosses and power brokers and transformed the police into one of the first modern law enforcement agencies in the world.

Combining the best elements of biography and social history, Commissioner Roosevelt reveals a fascinating episode from the life of one of America's most colorful cities, and one of her most charismatic leaders.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In 1884 Roosevelt shepherded seven bills through the New York Assembly designed to reform the NYC police department; his subsequent performance on the U.S. Civil Service Commission added to his reputation for probity. Thus, when the Republicans won City Hall in 1895, TR was named to the board of police commissioners, where he was elected president. With the help of reformers and rising young journalists Jacob Riis and Lincoln Steffens, he converted a graft-ridden force into a constabulary run on the principles of promotion through merit and enforcement of all laws, no matter how unpopular. His innovations included hiring the first woman on the force and creating the first police fingerprint department. TR served for just two years, but even his enemies conceded that his performance had been spectacular. Jeffers (Bloody Business) captures the public-spirited TR in all his pugnaciousness. For a fictionalized account, see Caleb Carr's bestselling The Alienist. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.)
Library Journal
Before LBJ, JFK, and FDR, there was TR, our first modern president. In these two volumes we get a glimpse of TR before and after his presidency. Both books present a sympathetic portrait of an energetic man, first as reformer and then as naturalist/explorer. Roosevelt devoted only a chapter in his autobiography to his two years as police commissioner, but New Yorker Jeffers (Bloody Business, Funk & Wagnalls, 1992) expands it into a monograph that captures TR's hallmark blend of pragmaticism and idealism during his brief tenure as president of the New York Police Commission and ex officio member of the Board of Health. Roosevelt consistently alternated between a political life and an outdoor life. After two years in the New York legislature, he left for the Dakotas; after the presidency, it was Africa; after his unsuccessful bid for president on the Progressive ticket, he decided on an expedition to South America-his "last chance to be a boy." His version of the trip was told at the time in a series of articles for The Outlook and Scribner's Magazine and then as a book, Through the Brazilian Wilderness. Ornig's extensive research results in as complete an account as we are likely to get of Roosevelt's harrowing trip, a trip that broke his health and hastened his death at age 60. For entertainment, Jeffers's work is better, but both volumes contribute to understanding the personality, character, and contributions of TR before and after his presidency.-Nicholas C. Burckel, Washington Univ. Libs., St. Louis
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471145707
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 3/22/1996
  • Edition description: REISSUE
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 293
  • Product dimensions: 9.21 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

H. PAUL JEFFERS is the author of over twenty books, both fiction and nonfiction, including Bloody Business: An Anecdotal History of Scotland Yard and Who Killed Precious? How FBI Agents Combine Psychology and High Technology to Identify Violent Criminals. He lives in New York City.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Mr.

Steffens Gets an Assignment.

I Have Read Your Book.

Mulberry Street Blues.

"TR Is Enough".

The Gospel According to Teddy.

A Set of Teeth.

Midnight Rambles.

Honesty and Efficiency.

"I Deal with the Law".

Unbought, Unawed, Unknown to Fear.

Other Half, Other Hat.

Very Rough Work.

"Pistols or Anything Else".

Nothing of the Purple.

Epilogue: A Larger Kingdom.

Sources.

Bibliography.

Index.

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