T. R.: The Last Romantic

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Overview


In his time, there was no more popular national figure than Theodore Roosevelt. It was not just the energy he brought to every political office he held or his unshakable moral convictions that made him so popular, or even his status as a bonafide war hero—the man who led the Rough Riders up San Juan Hill in Cuba during the Spanish-American war. Most important, Theodore Roosevelt was loved by the people because this scion of a privileged New York family loved America and Americans.And yet, according to Bill ...
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Overview


In his time, there was no more popular national figure than Theodore Roosevelt. It was not just the energy he brought to every political office he held or his unshakable moral convictions that made him so popular, or even his status as a bonafide war hero—the man who led the Rough Riders up San Juan Hill in Cuba during the Spanish-American war. Most important, Theodore Roosevelt was loved by the people because this scion of a privileged New York family loved America and Americans.And yet, according to Bill Brands, if we look at the private Roosevelt without blinders, we see a man whose great public strengths hid enormous personal deficiencies. His highly exaggerated, and often uncompromising ways drove many of his business and personal friends crazy. His historical writings, which Brands quotes from extensively, are nothing if not a portrait of a boy’s endless macho fantasies. He was often so full of himself that his speeches and writings were the frequent subject of fierce satire in their time.Even more revealing, according to Brands, was Roosevelt as son, brother, husband, and father. According to Brands, to understand both the public and private Roosevelt one must understand the impact of his father’s death while he was still a child, denying him the opportunity to come to terms with his own manhood. When his first wife Alice died of complications from childbirth, leaving behind a baby daughter Alice, his response was to run away to shoot Buffalo in the west, leaving the newborn infant to the care of his unmarried sister Bamie. When his second wife Edith was seriously, perhaps fatally ill, he left her to fight in the Spanish-American war. His only concern when his brother Elliot, who had been his only friend as a child, became an alcoholic was to hide the news from the public. Determined that his four sons would not dishonor his belief that men, to achieve their manhood, must test themselves in war, he arranged for each to serve, often in the frontlines, during WWI. His youngest son Quentin would die in that cause.Beautifully written, powerfully moved by its subject, TR is nonetheless a biography more appropriate to today’s critical times.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780465069590
  • Publisher: Basic Books
  • Publication date: 9/28/1998
  • Pages: 928
  • Sales rank: 253,356
  • Lexile: 1190L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.12 (h) x 2.08 (d)

Meet the Author


H. W. Brands is a professor of history at Texas A&M University and author of The Reckless Decade, The Wages of Globalism, and The Devil We Knew.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 31, 2012

    Interesting view of an American icon.

    Historian Brands does a good job presenting a view of Teddy Roosevelt many may have not seen before. The portrayal of T.R.'s responses to life crises can be little iconoclastic at times when considering his rather macho image depicted elsewhere. The book is well researched and follows the author's theme clearly. The thoughtful account of Roosevelt's reaction to major events in his life gives some good insight into the development of his philosophy of governance and social policy in the early 20th Century. It is well worth the read.

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  • Posted July 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent 1st book by an author

    While there has been so much data written about this subject I'll say just a view words about Brands coverage rather than rehashing the life of T. Roosevelt. I felt Brands approach was very honest. He doesn't give TR a green pass for everything he did. Tough viewpoints are expressed here. For as progressive as TR was he suffered from normal human reactions regarding how he coped with life's realities. There was bitterness throughout his life particulary later. Brands writes this. This book is honest from both sides and I felt unbiased in his style. Many proud Republicans today would be shocked to learn that one of their own did some heavy taxing while in high positions from Gov. of NY and then as President. Aside from being quite an imperialist he could nearly pass as a Democrat today. But then Andrew Jackson, a Democrat, had a bit of expansionism in his blood too.

    Brands analysis of writing here focused more on the political than the personal side of his subject. Be prepared for that. In reading this book you will have to stick with it. Brands seems well developed politically speaking when he wrote this book. A year ago I enjoyed his book FDR Traitor to his Class which showed his political sensiblities. It should be noted that the FDR book placed as runner up in last years Pulitzer for history.

    Take the time and read Brands TR. He comfortably measures his chapters. They are not too long before changing direction to the next. The book closes well giving a sound balanced review of Roosevelts life. Roosevelt was something else!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 20, 2010

    Very well written.

    Very informative about Roosevelt's whole life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2004

    A Masterpiece

    Theodore Roosevelt: The Last Romantic written by H.W. Brands. This book is a collection of information and stories about the public and private man that Theodore Roosevelt was. He collected and researched much of his data on Theodore from the library of congress itself. Brands¿ has written sixteen books and edited four and has published many others. For this work he collected and researched much of his data on Theodore from the library of Congress itself. It was very comprehensive including a back ground on his father¿s upbringing as well as little teddy himself. I consider this book to be one of the best single-volume biographies of Theodore Roosevelt that I have ever read. Written with historical insight creating interestingly new views of the president. Brands amazingly showcases the gallant and contradictory nature of our twenty-sixth president. Presenting a 360-degree view of T.R., Brands gives us new ways to understand the man. He constantly elaborates and clears up that grayness around some aspects of Theodore¿s life. Although Brands does have the irritating habit to over elaborate on some topics, He paints a very detailed picture of our twenty-sixth president. Also, it might have been a little easier to understand if he hadn¿t used words I had to puzzle over to get the whole picture. All in all, I found this book quite enjoyable (if not long winded) and I would recommend it for readers of college level and higher. Anyone especially interested in the history of the United States or in T.R. himself will find this book a veritable treasure trove of information and facts. The sophistication of this writing leads me to warn off any reader who does not particularly care for the heavy handed speech, which Brands uses to deliver this powerful biography on one of our greatest leaders.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 23, 2000

    brilliant work

    a must read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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