Theodore Roosevelt

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Sportsman. Naturalist. Warrior. President. There are so many sides to Theodore Roosevelt that it is easy to overlook one of his most enduring contributions to American public life: the use of fame to fuel his political career.

In this concisely written, enlightening book, presidential historian Lewis L. Gould goes beyond the "bully pulpit" stereotypes to reveal how Roosevelt used his celebrity to change American politics. Based on research gleaned from the personal papers of Roosevelt and his contemporaries, Theodore Roosevelt recaptures its subject's bold activism and irrepressible, larger-than-life personality. Beginning with his privileged childhood in New York City, the narrative traces his election to the New York Assembly, where he quickly rose through the ranks of the Republican Party. It is here that he first applied his shrewd ability to keep himself in the spotlight—a skill that served him well as commander of a volunteer regiment (dubbed "Roosevelt's Rough Riders") in the Spanish-American War. Gould shows how Roosevelt rode a wave of popular acclaim at the war's end, assuming the governorship of New York and serving as president from 1901 to 1909. While covering his major accomplishments as chief executive, including his successes as a trust-buster, labor mediator, and conservationist, Gould explains how fame both sustained and limited Roosevelt when he ran for president in 1912 and opposed Woodrow Wilson's policies during World War I.

Theodore Roosevelt delivers the most insightful look yet at a pioneer of political theater—a man whose vigorous idealism as a champion of democracy serves as a counterpoint to the cynicism of today's political landscape. The book will coincide with the 100th anniversary of Roosevelt's third party run for the Progressive or Bull Moose Party.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A sheer and informative profile, satisfying to any general reader wanting an introduction that imparts, as the author promises, a "reliable account of what made Theodore Roosevelt so important in American history."' - Booklist

"Gould gives readers cradle-to-grave coverage of the man who became our 26th president. He uses the theme of fame as the prism for viewing Roosevelt's life, and this works well, as TR spent his adult life drawing the public eye." -Kevin R. Kosar, The Weekly Standard

"This significant biography can be surmised that Roosevelt's life might be divided into three areas: his rise to the White House, the two terms in the White House, which were lively, and achievements in world diplomacy." -San Francisco Book Review

"How do you say anything meaningful in a 73-page comprehensive biography of one of the most complex figures in American history? Here's how... Gould's book is a quite worthy addition to the ever-expanding canon on Roosevelt."—Lawyers, Guns, and Money

Kirkus Reviews
A very brief resource on the life of Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919). Gould (American History Emeritus/Univ. of Texas; The Most Exclusive Club: A History of the Modern United States Senate, 2005, etc.) extracts significantly from his previous pertinent works on Roosevelt, Taft and the Progressive era. The character depicted here is one of decisive action, charisma and accidental fame (his accelerating celebrity status served his causes as naturalist and reformer). Underestimated early in his career by the Republican Party he tirelessly stumped for, he eventually secured GOP appointments in Benjamin Harrison's Civil Service Commission, then as President McKinley's assistant secretary of the Navy in 1897. Contrary to later mythmaking, Roosevelt "did not bring on the war" with Spain over the Philippines, but he embraced the hostilities enthusiastically. His Rough Riders' valiant efforts to take the San Juan Heights in Cuba gained him enormous acclaim at home, paving the way for two years as New York governor and making him the attractive vice-presidential choice for McKinley. Using the "bully pulpit" of the now-renamed White House, his Square Deal instituted sweeping reforms such as breaking up monopolies, mediating with striking miners, acquiring the Panama Canal Zone, ensuring government regulation in the Pure Food and Drug Act, including women in the democratic process and conserving the natural world from degradation. His years after the White House were largely spent planning how to get back in, and his Progressive Party platform of 1912 laid out an agenda "that was far more reformist than that of any Democratic or Republican presidential nominees until the New Deal." A bare-bones summary that is even shorter and somewhat less eloquent than Louis Auchincloss' Roosevelt bio (2002) in the Times/Holt presidential series.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199797011
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 1/9/2012
  • Pages: 104
  • Sales rank: 770,031
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 5.30 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Lewis L. Gould is Eugene C. Barker Centennial Professor Emeritus in American History at the University of Texas at Austin. His books include The Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt and The William Howard Taft Presidency.

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Table of Contents

Theodore Roosevelt

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    Posted December 26, 2012



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