Theodore Roosevelt and the Assassin: Madness, Vengeance, and the Campaign of 1912

Theodore Roosevelt and the Assassin: Madness, Vengeance, and the Campaign of 1912

by Gerard Helferich


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A New York Times Bestseller!John Flammang Schrank—a lonely Manhattan saloonkeeper—was obsessed with the 1912 presidential election and Theodore Roosevelt. The ex-president's extremism and third-term campaign were downright un-American. Convinced that TR would ignite civil war and leave the nation open to foreign invasion, Schrank answered what he believed to be a divine summons, buying a gun and stalking Roosevelt across seven Southern and Midwestern states, blending into throngs of supporters. In Chattanooga and Chicago, he failed to act. In Milwaukee, on October 14, Schrank crossed TR's path again—BANG!Theodore Roosevelt and the Assassin is the dynamic unfolding account of the audacious attempt on Roosevelt's life by a lone and fanatical assailant. Based on original sources including police interrogations, eyewitness testimony, and newspaper reports, the book is above all a fast-paced, suspenseful narrative. Drawing from Schrank's own statements and writings, it also provides a chilling glimpse into the mind of a political assassin. Rich with local color and period detail, it transports the reader to the American heartland during a pivotal moment in our history, when the forces of progressivism and conservatism were battling for the nation's soul—and the most revered man in America traveled across the country campaigning relentlessly against Howard Taft, Woodrow Wilson, and Socialist Eugene V. Debs in what historians agree was the first modern American presidential contest.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780762788415
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date: 09/02/2014
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.53(w) x 8.23(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Gerard Helferich is the author of Stone of Kings: In Search of the Lost Jade of the Maya (Lyons Press, December 2011), which was selected by the American Booksellers Association for its Indie Next List of recommended titles. He is also the author of the highly praised Humboldt's Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Latin American Journey That Changed the Way We See the World (Gotham Books, 2004), which was a Discover magazine Science Bestseller, and High Cotton: Four Seasons in the Mississippi Delta (Counterpoint, 2007), which was a Book Sense Notable Title and winner of the 2008 Authors Award for Nonfiction from the Mississippi Library Association. A member of the National Book Critics Circle, he publishes frequent book reviews in the Wall Street Journal (available at under "Other Recent Writings") and has contributed to the Fodor's travel guides to Mexico and Guatemala. For the last decade he has been on the faculty of the Columbia Publishing Course at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism in New York, and for the past half dozen years has presented nonfiction workshops at the San Miguel Writers Conference. Before turning to writing in 2002, he was an editor and publisher for 25 years at companies such as Doubleday, Simon & Schuster, and John Wiley & Sons. He lives in Yazoo City, Mississippi, and San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, with his wife, the writer Teresa Nicholas. Visit

Table of Contents

Map: The Travels of Theodore Roosevelt and John Schrank, September 21-October 14, 1912 viii

Prologue: "Avenge My Death!" ix

Part 1 1

1 "We Stand at Armageddon" 3

2 "God Has Called Me to Be His Instrument" 38

3 "We Want No King" 64

4 "A Perfect Stranger" 89

5 "I'm Not a Fancy Fencing Match" 112

6 "It Was a New Thing to Me" 118

Part 2 133

7 "A Decent, Respectable Reception" 135

8 "I Want to Be a Good Indian, O.K." 161

9 "He Pinked Me, Harry" 173

10 "The Wound Is a Trivial One" 183

11 "I Am Not a Lunatic" 211

Epilogue: "I Have Already Lived and Enjoyed as Much of My Life as Any Other Nine Men I Know" 232

Author's Note 243

Acknowledgments 245

Sources 247

Bibliography 272

Index 283

About the Author 288

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