The Lion and the Journalist: The Unlikely Friendship of Theodore Roosevelt and Joseph Bucklin Bishop

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Overview


Theodore Roosevelt, privileged New Yorker and accidental president, and Joseph  Bucklin Bishop, a wily newspaper editor from old New England stock, met when the future Rough Rider was police commissioner of New York City. Bishop hitched his wagon to the politician’s star and used his positions at influential New York newspapers to buttress Roosevelt’s initiatives first as commissioner, then as governor and president, adroitly shaping the opinions of voters and decision-makers. As president, after deploying ...
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Lion and the Journalist: The Unlikely Friendship of Theodore Roosevelt and Joseph Bucklin Bishop

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Overview


Theodore Roosevelt, privileged New Yorker and accidental president, and Joseph  Bucklin Bishop, a wily newspaper editor from old New England stock, met when the future Rough Rider was police commissioner of New York City. Bishop hitched his wagon to the politician’s star and used his positions at influential New York newspapers to buttress Roosevelt’s initiatives first as commissioner, then as governor and president, adroitly shaping the opinions of voters and decision-makers. As president, after deploying his trademark gunboat diplomacy to execute plans for the Panama Canal, T. R. made Bishop secretary of the Isthmian Canal Commission in Washington, D.C. But when construction dragged and the canal became a political liability, T. R. dispatched Bishop to Panama, where he used his skills to bolster Congressional support, improve worker morale, and push public opinion in the president’s favor.

Here is a new and important look at one of our nation’s most important leaders and the man who deftly helped him achieve his goals. It skillfully explores how a pioneering president yoked the media to his advantage and how men and machines united two vast oceans in the face of death-defying odds. It is a remarkable story of mutual loyalty and dedication that begins in shared opposition to corruption on the streets of New York City, pushes through ambition and hardship in the jungles of Panama, and culminatesin days of boldness and courage in the White House and beyond.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

A New York Times Bestseller

“An ‘unlikely friendship’ has produced an unlikely volume, but one that should be most welcome on anyone’s history shelf. … Read the book with an open mind. It’s a welcome change from dry biography as you ponder the issue of cronyism vs. patriotism.” —Providence Sunday Journal

“An entertaining dual biography … Genius … If you’re a T.R. fan, you’ll find much to enjoy in these pages. Bishop has a gift for scene-setting and clear narratives that moves his principals along smartly. … The author’s meticulous research and vivid writing make The Lion and the Journalist a worthy addition to the big-shelf of books on America’s Progressive Era.” —Barnstable Patriot

“A revealing look at the relationship between two very different personalities joined by common belief and shared savviness about how the world works. … Bishop has put a real face on the Roosevelt popular caricature, and he has described, through the words of his forebear, the national life that we were living when America was deciding what it would grow up to be.” —Martha’s Vineyard Times

 
"Bishop does an excellent job illustrating the dynamics of the relationship ... and an exceptional job of showing how it strengthened and altered with the passage of time, changes in status, increased physical distance, etc. These are the external forces that shape long-term friendships, but they’re seldom explored so intimately and eloquently in biographies of men. The Lion and the Journalist covers a lot of ground. There’s publishing, politics, PR, and the Panama Canal. It’s an unusual historical mélange, but it’s riveting. It's also an especially rich entry into the genre of biographies about biographers and their subjects. For it was Bishop who penned the first biography of Roosevelt, laying the foundation from which all future biographers would begin."
New Books in Biography

“An engaging tour of the busy intersection where history, politics, journalism, and power converge.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Bishop taps the enduring interest about TR and his associates. … Active TR collections will cheer Bishop’s addition to them.” —Booklist

“A long time coming but well worth the wait, this book elucidates the relationship between a president and a journalist that had important repercussions for both.”

—Tweed Roosevelt, great-grandson of Theodore Roosevelt and president of the Theodore Roosevelt Association

“An invaluable contribution to our understanding of Theodore Roosevelt. By chronicling the fascinating friendship between T. R. and journalist Joseph Bucklin Bishop, Chip Bishop identifies one of the central keys to T. R.'s success: his unparalleled ability to forge warm relationships with the members of the press even when they challenged and criticized him. Both figures are brought to vivid life in this compelling book.”

—Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize–winning author and presidential historian

“Who Roosevelt’s first authorized biographer was and how he became such a close personal friend to the president are aspects of T. R.’s life that have never been chronicled, and it is a blessing that Chip Bishop has stepped up to fill that gap in our knowledge. The fresh material he has unearthed about Joseph Bucklin Bishop’s life and the delightful way he has used it to portray President Roosevelt’s relationship with the American press across his lifetime, in particular with his chosen Boswell, may make many a politician, even presidents, long to recover that past age. Fascinating!”

—Nigel Hamilton, author of American Caesars: Lives of the Presidents from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush

“Just when we thought there was nothing new to learn about Theodore Roosevelt, comes Chip Bishop’s The Lion and the Journalist, which lifts the curtain on a behind-the-scenes friendship between the iconic president and a prototypical nineteenth century journalist. Here we learn close-up how America’s first media savvy president used the press to his advantage, setting the pattern for all presidents to come. Based on an astounding cache of letters and documents, Bishop’s book will find a deserved place on the Theodore Roosevelt shelf.”

—James McGrath Morris, author of Pulitzer: A Life in Politics, Print, and Power

Kirkus Reviews
A freelance journalist debuts with an account of the little-known relationship between a powerful journalist and a president. The author has much on his narrative plate. The social and political history of the early 20th century, the biographies of Roosevelt and Bishop, the story of the Panama Canal--all figure prominently. Bishop, 12 years older that Roosevelt, outlived the bully president by nearly a decade. The author, who is Bishop's great-grandnephew, begins with the 1919 death of Roosevelt, then devotes some chapters to the lives of his principals before they met, cutting back and forth between them. Bishop, a so-so student at Brown, moved to New York City, where he gradually ascended journalism's ladder until he was writing popular editorials for the New York Evening Post. Interwoven is the progress of Roosevelt through young manhood and his initial government posts, including his appointment as New York City police commissioner, a job that soon connected him with Bishop. The author writes that there was no magic moment of meeting, but they both realized the other's value. Though Bishop did not always support Roosevelt's actions, he did so with enough frequency that when his journalism career was collapsing, he landed a position with the Panama Canal Commission, a position that caused some in Congress to cry cronyism. The author, responding that his ancestor worked hard and did well, quotes generously from the many letters between the two and from secondary sources on Roosevelt, the block quotations from which sometimes make his text look like a term paper. An engaging tour of the busy intersection where history, politics, journalism and power converge.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780762777549
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 11/8/2011
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 390,175
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Chip Bishop is the great-grandnephew of Joseph Bucklin Bishop. He has edited stories for radio and television, reported for newspapers, and written hundreds of articles, op-eds, and news releases. A member of the Theodore Roosevelt Association and the president and CEO of his own marketing and communications consultancy.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 11, 2013

    Great book!

    Great book!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2014

    EXCELLANT BOOK

    THIS BOOK WAS VERY INFORMATIONAL. IT KEPT MY ATTENTION AND GAVE ME MORE RESPECT FOR TEDDY ROOSEVELT. I AM VERY GLAD THAT I BOUGHT IT AND I READ THE BOOK TWICE.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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