Theodore Roosevelt: A Life

Theodore Roosevelt: A Life

by Nathan Miller

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) was the first president to make the federal goverment rectify harsh social and economic conditions. It was during his administration (1901-1909) that the U.S. was transformed from a provincial nation on the fringes of global affairs into a world power. Those are key contentions of this first-rate biography, in which Miller ( FDR: An Intimate History ) covers the political accomplishments and personal facets of this prismatic figure--politician, statesman, soldier, conservationist, historian, biographer, adventurer. What distinguishes this biography from others is its concentration on TR's relations with his close associates and his family, particularly his first and second wives (Miller is the first biographer to make extensive use of Roosevelt's courtship letters). Here is Teddy Roosevelt in three dimensions: ardent, inexhaustibly vital and astonishingly versatile. Photos. History Book Club and BOMC alternates. (Nov.)
From the press release: "The only complete, up-to-date, one-volume biography of Theodore Roosevelt in print...." Although publicists' claims are often inflated, this one is verifiable in Books in Print, which reports only a number of juvenile titles, some works on TR's career, and a 1956 biography. The author has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize four times and is an experienced biographer. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Brad Hooper
He went from puny boy to bully president. "He made his struggle against poor health into the equivalent of Lincoln's rise from poverty. The metamorphosis from sickly, scrawny boy into masterful man became a lifelong model and standard of measurement for men, social groups, and nations." The first of our two Roosevelt presidents had a joie de vivre exceptional not only for chief executives but for most people in general. This first one-volume biography of Teddy to appear in over three decades, by an esteemed biographer and scholar, captures with quiet effort, as if tracking the big game TR himself loved to bring down, the spirit of a man who had endless amounts of it. Son of a distinguished New Yorker who had immeasurable influence over the adult man the son was to become, Teddy almost couldn't help but be president, he was that energetic and accomplished. He was inspiring or aggravating, depending on one's personal reaction to his exuberance and self-centeredness, but the country was a different place after his tenure in the White House. First-rate scholarship and comfortable style make this equally at home in specialists' and generalists' hands.
Kirkus Reviews
Appropriately big and vigorous life of the 26th President, by Miller (Stealing from America, p. 772; F.D.R., 1982, etc.). Despite his modern-day reputation as an imperialist and worse, Roosevelt emerges from Miller's pages—the first major one-volume life of TR since William Henry Harbaugh's Power and Responsibility (1961)—as a tremendously energetic reformer and moral beacon on the issues of his age. He took on corrupt politicians and bureaucrats throughout his career, and he instituted federal regulation of food and drug purity and of rapacious big business. Miller details the Roosevelt myth—TR's willful growth from puny scion to Rough Rider to "big stick" President—and finds it to be largely accurate, but the author concentrates less on the public man and more on his relations with close associates. Described by Lord Morley as "a cross between St. Vitus and St. Paul," Roosevelt was perceived by his friend Henry Adams as having "that singular primitive quality that belongs to ultimate matter—the quality that medieval theology assigned to God—he was pure act." Roosevelt's career rose meteorically from his election to the New York State Senate, and by age 24 he was the most famous politician in the state. Yet his personal life was marred by tragedy: His beloved first wife, Alice, died at 22 of a kidney disease; and his brother Elliot (father of Eleanor) died of an alcoholic seizure. Miller masters not only Roosevelt but fascinating ancillary facts as well—e.g., how TR's secretary of state, John Hay, while a young reporter, traced the origin of the Great Chicago Fire to Mrs. O'Leary's infamous cow. A sympathetic, detailed, tremendously readableaccount of the eventful life of our most energetic, irrepressible President. (Sixteen pages of b&w photographs—not seen.)

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HarperCollins Publishers
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1st ed

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