Theodore Rex

Theodore Rex

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Overview

Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris, Harry Chase

The most eagerly awaited presidential biography in years, Theodore Rex is a sequel to Edmund Morris’s classic bestseller The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. It begins by following the new President (still the youngest in American history) as he comes down from Mount Marcy, New York, to take his emergency oath of office in Buffalo, one hundred years ago.

A detailed prologue describes TR’s assumption of power and journey to Washington, with the assassinated President McKinley riding behind him like a ghost of the nineteenth century. (Trains rumble throughout this irresistibly moving narrative, as TR crosses and recrosses the nation.) Traveling south through a succession of haunting landscapes, TR encounters harbingers of all the major issues of the new century-Imperialism, Industrialism, Conservation, Immigration, Labor, Race-plus the overall challenge that intimidated McKinley: how to harness America’s new power as the world’s richest nation.

Theodore Rex (the title is taken from a quip by Henry James) tells the story of the following seven and a half years-years in which TR entertains, infuriates, amuses, strong-arms, and seduces the body politic into a state of almost total subservience to his will. It is not always a pretty story: one of the revelations here is that TR was hated and feared by a substantial minority of his fellow citizens. Wall Street, the white South, Western lumber barons, even his own Republican leadership in Congress strive to harness his steadily increasing power.

Within weeks of arrival in Washington, TR causes a nationwide sensation by becoming the first President to invite a black manto dinner in the White House. Next, he launches his famous prosecution of the Northern Securities Company, and follows up with landmark antitrust legislation. He liberates Cuba, determines the route of the Panama Canal, mediates the great Anthracite Strike, and resolves the Venezuela Crisis of 1902-1903 with such masterful secrecy that the world at large is unaware how near the United States and Germany have come to war.

During an epic national tour in the spring of 1903, TR’s conservation philosophy (his single greatest gift to posterity) comes into full flower. He also bestows on countless Americans the richness of a personality without parallel-evangelical and passionate, yet lusty and funny; adroitly political, winningly natural, intellectually overwhelming. The most famous father of his time, he is adored by his six children (although beautiful, willful “Princess” Alice rebelled against him) and accepted as an honorary member of the White House Gang of seditious small boys.

Theodore Rex, full of cinematic detail, moves with the exhilarating pace of a novel, yet it rides on a granite base of scholarship. TR’s own voice is constantly heard, as the President was a gifted letter writer and raconteur. Also heard are the many witticisms, sometimes mocking, yet always affectionate, of such Roosevelt intimates as Henry Adams, John Hay, and Elihu Root. (“Theodore is never sober,” said Adams, “only he is drunk with himself and not with rum.”)

TR’s speed of thought and action, and his total command of all aspects of presidential leadership, from bureaucratic subterfuge to manipulation of the press, make him all but invincible in 1904, when he wins a second term by a historic landslide. Surprisingly, this victory transforms him from a patrician conservative to a progressive, responsible between 1905 and 1908 for a raft of enlightened legislation, including the Pure Food and Employer Liability acts. Even more surprising, to critics who have caricatured TR as a swinger of the Big Stick, is his emergence as a diplomat. He wins the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing about an end to the Russo-Japanese War in 1905.

Interspersed with many stories of Rooseveltian triumphs are some bitter episodes-notably a devastating lynching-that remind us of America’s deep prejudices and fears. Theodore Rex does not attempt to justify TR’s notorious action following the Brownsville Incident of 1906-his worst mistake as President-but neither does this resolutely honest biography indulge in the easy wisdom of hindsight. It is written throughout in real time, reflecting the world as TR saw it. By the final chapter, as the great “Teddy” prepares to quit the White House in 1909, it will be a hard-hearted reader who does not share the sentiment of Henry Adams: “The old house will seem dull and sad when my Theodore has gone.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780739300800
Publisher: Penguin Random House Audio Publishing Group
Publication date: 11/20/2001
Edition description: Abridged, 8 CDs, 9 hrs.
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 6.04(h) x 1.17(d)

About the Author

Edmund Morris was born in Kenya and educated at the Prince of Wales School, Nairobi, and Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. He worked as an advertising copywriter in London before emigrating to the United States in 1968. His biography The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1980. In 1985 he was appointed Ronald Reagan's authorized biographer. He has written extensively on travel and the arts for such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper's, and The Washington Post. The second volume of his Roosevelt biography, Theodore Rex, has recently been published, and will be followed by a third. Edmund Morris lives in New York and Washington, D.C., with his wife and fellow biographer, Sylvia Jukes Morris.

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Theodore Rex 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 93 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Morris' second book of the trilogy on Theodore Roosevelt (TR) is a most enjoyable read. This book covers TR's White House years and gives great insight into one of Americas greatest presidents and most influential men of the twentieth century. Morris gives you an in depth but not dry look at what TR accomplished in his two terms. He created the Dept. of Interior and protected more land for posterity than any other president. He created the Food and Drug Administration after reading a book written by Sinclair Lewis about the unsanitary conditions in the meat packing industry. He mediated the peace treaty between the Russians and the Japanese after the Russo-Japanese war for which he was the first president to be awarded the Nobel peace prize. He built our Navy from fourth to second place in the world and prepared us for super power status. He was instrumental in our building of the Panama Canal, which made us a two-ocean power. These are just some of the highlights of his busy administration. He wrote over 30 books in his life was fluent in six languages and was an astute politician and statesman. There is much to be learned from reading about this great American, the man who was always in the arena.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Theodore Roosevelt has fast become my hero. A champion for the common man, protector of our true heartland and wilderness, President Theodore Roosevelt's life story is told eloquently by the author. He makes me feel like I knew the former President and want to know more about him. Theodore Roosevelt is one of the truly 'real men' in our Country. The books is fascinating and very tough to put down. Page after page of TR's life jumps alive in the imagination and makes me wonder what life in those days was really like. As for both the author and the subject, I say 'BULLY!'
Guest More than 1 year ago
In his sequel to The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Edmund Morris masterfully helps his (American) readers better understand how and why they still bask in the legacy of President Roosevelt both here and abroad. Roosevelt, who leveraged President Monroe¿s doctrine, turned the United States of America into a superpower on the global scene. The other great powers of that time duly took note of Roosevelt¿s expeditions in the Americas and Asia and his key role in bringing the Russo-Japanese war to an end. On the domestic front, Roosevelt has left an enduring legacy as his contributions to the development of national parks, anti-trust legislation ¿ and the Teddy Bear have revealed. Roosevelt progressively liberated himself from the influence of the Republican Party by pursuing an increasingly progressive legislative agenda to the discontent of some fellow Republicans. To the chagrin of some readers, Morris does not spend too much time discussing Theodore¿s beloved Edith, their children and the rest of his family.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you did not like Mr. Morris¿s biography of President Reagan, give Mr. Morris another chance. Theodore Rex is the best book I have read on President Theodore Roosevelt¿s almost 8 years in office, after having started as our youngest president to that point in time. I found the recent David McCullough biography of John Adams as the closest comparable work. Both biographers rely a lot on the subject¿s own words and those of the people he interacted with. I found three qualities of Theodore Rex to be superior to the Adams biography. First, Mr. Morris has chosen to magnify issues that are of more interest to us today which are often virtually ignored in conventional histories. Some of these subjects involved Mr. Roosevelt¿s attitudes towards minority groups including African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and Jews. Other related subjects included what he chose to say and do about discrimination and lynchings, willingness to address a pogrom in Russia, and atrocities conduced by the Army in the Philippines. Second, Mr. Morris doesn¿t try to ¿pretty up¿ the ugly sides of his subject. In these first areas above, President Roosevelt did some good things . . . but he also did some pretty awful ones. His support for bad conduct dismissals of African-American troops after complaints in Brownsville, Texas, was particularly questionable, coming at a time when he had little at risk politically by doing the right thing and he was outspoken in other areas. Third, Mr. Morris has an eye for detail that makes the scenes come alive to extend beyond the mere words and events being presented. I particularly enjoyed the description of Roosevelt¿s first few days as president. The Adams biography is superior in that most of that material came in the form of letters from Abigail and John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, and the quality of what they had to say was usually a lot more interesting than what President Roosevelt and his cronies and family wrote or said. The perspective on Roosevelt is almost totally a near contemporary one. This material reads like something we might review now about President Reagan¿s presidency. For those who are not familiar with U.S. political, social, and economic history prior to and during this time, some of the sections will be hard to fathom. That is a major weakness of the book. The other major weakness is that the coverage of subjects is unbalanced in length. For example, there is a lengthy section on some gunboat diplomacy to help out two hostages in Morocco, one of whom is thought to be an American. Other than showing that Roosevelt liked to send in the Navy, this material didn¿t warrant the attention it receives here. If you are like me, you will enjoy the way that Mr. Morris displays how Roosevelt built a power base by espousing popular issues like trust-busting to wean himself away from political dependency on Senator Mark Hanna. President Roosevelt¿s ability to work the newspapers to his advantage was astonishingly adroit for an ¿accidental¿ president with limited prior experience in public office. On the personal side, the book is filled with examples of President Roosevelt¿s love of all forms of physical activity, including eating, and the way that he sought to preserve privacy for his personal life. Late in his presidency, he could not read very well with his left eye due to a boxing injury received in a match while president. Having become president due to the assassination of President McKinley, you will read with interest his own close calls with death and a potential assassin. The vignettes involving his very independent daughter, Alice, will amuse you in many cases. On the other hand, you may be annoyed (as I was) to learn that President Roosevelt¿s final decision about the Brownsville soldiers was withheld for a few days with the probable motive of helping his son-in-law, Alice¿s husband, be re-elected to Congress. The almost total silence on the drawb
Guest More than 1 year ago
I began this book interested in, and left it fascinated by, Theodore Roosevelt. It was amazing to learn how many aspects of America's evolution from frontier society to the 20th century were shaped by TR's presidency. For those with an interest in American history, this books links the eras between the conquest of the West and World War I in a comprehensive and compelling fashion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BrianIndianFan More than 1 year ago
Theodore Rex constitutes the second in Edmund Morris' biographical trilogy on Theodore Roosevelt. Unlike his previous effort, Theodore Rex only covers his eight years in the White House. As a result, the work is more focused and delves deeper into issues that arose during his term as America's 26th president. Seeking stability in an hour of crisis following McKinley's assassination, Roosevelt wisely kept the counsel of his predecessor's cabinet. This allowed the markets and the country to see that Roosevelt would indeed carry on McKinley's policies. However, he quickly committed his first perceived faux pas, inviting Booker T. Washington to the White House for dinner. This action inflamed passions throughout the segregated south and got him off to a bad start with that region. (In fact, he would win no states south of the Mason-Dixon line in his romp to re-election in 1904.) Domestically, he attempted to obtain better relations between companies and their workers while also attempting to deal with the rising tide of trusts that he believed where de facto monopolies. Overall, Roosevelt managed to achieve more than could have been expected, given his reputation. It is this reviewer's opinion that his progressive reforms led to the split which eventually came to the Republican party.  Internationally, he was successful in negotiating the end to the Russo-Japanese War which led to him being awarded the Nobel Peace prize. He also reinforced the tenets of the Monroe Doctrine, averting crises in Venezuela, Cuba, and Santo Domingo. His delicacy and discretion in these matters won him plaudits from foreign dignitaries. Morris once again weaves all of these events into a cohesive narrative that gives a history lesson in a manner that anyone who seeks to learn more about the most masculine of presidents. The negative to the book is the constant use of foreign phrases and $5 words which detract from the narrative. However, these are not enough to disqualify the book from your attention. It is also fitting that Morris includes the story of the origin of the Teddy bear as it occurred during his presidency. It is a humorous story that does provide a relief from the tension of the situation regarding his dealings with the post-Reconstruction south. BOTTOM LINE: A thorough work on the administration of Teddy Roosevelt.
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obeythekitty More than 1 year ago
great biographical trilogy, and will help you answer more questions on Jeopardy!
MRIL More than 1 year ago
Morris brings the reader into the story and you feel like you are living in the 1900's along with Roosevelt in his life. Also great sense of humor.
GregCoxGC More than 1 year ago
Wold you like to know how Teddy Roosevelt's mug ended up on the face of Mount Rushmore? Read this book and find out! A leader that was driven to do the right thing. A man that was bigger than life, but far from perfect. This book does a wonderful job in documenting his massive contributions as well as a few blunders (The Brownsville Incident). This books makes me want to sit down for a long dinner with T.R., and while I might not be able to get a word in edge wise, he would show me how truly inspired leadership rolls! Wouldn't it be great to see our country have a President that the majority of Americans loved?
Gibletmom More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much and the knowledge I gained into the life of Theodore Roosevelt. Mr. Morris is a great researcher and the entire trilogy has been a great read about a very accomplished man. Fascinating.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very well writen text. The book demonstrates that this was a very passionate president who held hard to his beliefs. The 2 part series is a needed read for anyone wanting to know about history, especially how history applies to what is happening today. The only problem I found with the book is that is does end rather abruptly. I would have liked it more if it had taken more time at the end to discuss his life after the presidency. I definitely recommend this book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you make a commitment to read Edmund Morris' 900+ page trilogy of the life of Theodore Roosevelt, you've signed on for 2,700 pages on wild, large, bold, adventurous, grand, loud, magnetic, boisterous and unapologetic history. "Theodore Rex", "Colonel Roosevelt", and "The Rise of" constitute a fair, open, and honest view of the impossibly full and frenetic life of TR as told by Edmund Morris. Any serious student of TR, American history, 19th-20th Turn of the Century, presidency, diplomacy, or world events NEEDS to include these 3 volumes. But TR goes beyond all this into geology, botany, plant, flora, fauna, geneology, science, sociology, natural history, and 19th century technology. And so any study of those disciplines would warrant reading. Morris tells the tale, WELL (no easy task), and allows a personal look at the great man from Oyster Bay, NY. I haven't read the biography of a life as full as this before. I developed an attachment to the man as I laughed and cried through this set. A most TEEEEEEEERific read!!!!!
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