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The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America

The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America

3.5 65
by Douglas Brinkley

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"Douglas Brinkley brings to this magnificent story of Theodore Roosevelt's crusade on behalf of America's national parks the same qualities that made TR so fascinating a figure—an astonishing range of knowledge, a superb narrative skill, a wonderfully vivid writing style and an inexhaustible energy."
—Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of


"Douglas Brinkley brings to this magnificent story of Theodore Roosevelt's crusade on behalf of America's national parks the same qualities that made TR so fascinating a figure—an astonishing range of knowledge, a superb narrative skill, a wonderfully vivid writing style and an inexhaustible energy."
—Doris Kearns Goodwin, author of Team of Rivals

A vast, inspiring, and enormously entertaining book.”
New York Times Book Review

From New York Times bestselling historian Douglas Brinkley comes a sweeping historical narrative and eye-opening look at the pioneering environmental policies of President Theodore Roosevelt, avid bird-watcher, naturalist, and the founding father of America’s conservation movement—now approaching its 100th anniversary.

Editorial Reviews

"The best of the new generation of American historians" is how Stephen Ambrose described Douglas Brinkley, the author of this breakthrough biography of Theodore Roosevelt. TR's love of the outdoors is, of course, well known, but Brinkley proposes a thesis far more grand and significant. He argues that it was Roosevelt's ambitious Wild America program that turned conservationism into a universal endeavor. By tracing lines of influence on the future president's thought, he explains how the insights of people like Audubon, Darwin, John Burroughs, and John Muir shaped Roosevelt's Gospel of Preservation environmental actions. A superb choice for anyone who loves history and/or the environment. Now in paperback. (Hand-selling tip: Sample the prose. No fewer than five of Brinkley's books have been selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year.)

Jonathan Rosen
How a city-born child of privilege became one of the greatest forces in American conservation is the subject of Douglas Brinkley's vast, inspiring and enormously entertaining book…this book has Rooseveltian energy. It is largehearted, full of the vitality of its subject and a palpable love for the landscapes it describes.
—The New York Times Book Review
Janet Maslin
…for the patient reader Mr. Brinkley's fervent enthusiasm for his material eventually prevails over the book's sprawling data and slow pace. He clearly shares Roosevelt's rapture for mesmerizing settings like the North Dakota Badlands… He conveys the great vigor with which Roosevelt approached his conservation mission. And he delves into the philosophical contradictions inherent in a man whose Darwinian thinking led him both to revere and kill the same creatures.
—The New York Times
Walter Isaacson
“To understand America, you need to appreciate Teddy Roosevelt. Doug Brinkley brilliantly uses the lens of Roosevelt’s love of nature to show why he is so influential, fascinating, and relevant to our own times. This wonderful book is as vibrant as he was.”
Ken Burns
“No president has been a greater champion of our natural world—especially its wildlife—than Theodore Roosevelt. Now that extraordinary force of nature has his own champion in Douglas Brinkley’s stirring account of the man who turned our attention to conservation and the many glories of our American landscape.”
Doris Kearns Goodwin
“What an absolutely perfect match between subject and writer. This is a major contribution to our understanding not only of Roosevelt but of the historic movement to save our wilderness.”
Michael Beschloss
“Douglas Brinkley has brought us an important, deeply researched, compellingly readable and inspiring story. Exactly a century after his Presidency, there could not be a better time to revisit and celebrate T.R.’s unfinished environmental legacy.”

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Meet the Author

Douglas Brinkley is a professor of history at Rice University, the CNN Presidential Historian, and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair and Audubon. The Chicago Tribune has dubbed him “America’s new past master.” His recent Cronkite won the Sperber Prize for Best Book in Journalism and was a Washington Post Notable Book of the Year. The Great Deluge won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He is a member of the Society of American Historians and the Council on Foreign Relations. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and three children.

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Wilderness Warrior 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 65 reviews.
CharlesMichael More than 1 year ago
I seldom will take the time to read a book of over 800 pages. Wilderness Warrior, for me, was an exception. The more I read about Teddy Roosevelt the more I admire this biophia nautralist President. A remarkable human being of great intellect, energy and vitality. I truly now understand for the first time why his likeness is on Mount Rushmore. However, in my opinion this does not do this man justice given his remarkable record of creating so many of our National Parks, Mounuments and Bird Santuaries. Much of this done against great odds of miners, logging companies,various commerical enterpises, congress and supporters. If you love history this book is a must read. It will, in my opinion, become a classic. Thank you Douglas Brinkley for taking the time to research and present this enlighting account of one of our best and most courageous Presidents.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is exactly what it is advertised to be---a detailed, specialized history of Theodore Roosevelt's involvement in the conservation movement. As such, it is lengthy and it does not discuss other aspects of Theodore Roosevelt's life. The two reviews that have given this book a negative grade simply want it to be another book. I am an outdoor enthusiast, but not fanatic. I can remember a childhood fascination with all living things and indulged some of the same hobbies as TR--wildlife observation, an attempt at a zoo, and an aspiration to be a "naturalist." In my ten year old mind, that vocation involved a lot of hiking and precious little work, so it was particularly appealing. Alas, I have instead settled down to a more mundance job and that is probably why I became so engrossed in this book. I highly recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
All I can say is, thank goodness "Teddy" was there to recognize the need and use his power and connections to establish the conservation areas we still enjoy today. Mr. Brinkley's memoir of this significant period and Mr. Roosevelt's contribution to it was extremely thorough as well as enlightening. He captured not only the expected adversaries but also revealed the public's ignorance or antipathy toward the importance of conservation in all it's forms. He was also balanced in describing Mr. Roosevelt's own growing awareness as well as the conflicts within his character between hunting and preservation. I did find some of the writing style rather dry but otherwise enjoyed the book immensely.
SustainabilityEnthusiast More than 1 year ago
I'm not much of a history book reader but as an avid environmentalist (and having read Brinkley's The Great Deluge among other books) I picked this book up and I'm so glad that I did. The writing is amazing - drawing me into the world of Teddy Roosevelt, a president I knew little about. It's incredibly inspiring to read about someone with so much courage and character! He makes me proud to be an American that one of our presidents was bold enough to do the right thing for the environment. I cherish America in the same way that he did - Our treasures and future lie in our wilderness. My favorite vacations and travels have always included National Parks and monuments... growing up near Mesa Verde.... camping in the RedWoods.... Enjoying water ceremonies at Mount Shasta. I had no idea how instrumental he was in saving my favorite things in America. What an incredible legacy to leave....saving the Grand Canyon forever? I hope Obama's smart enough to want a similar legacy for the world and will save ANWR and the Prairie Lands, more Redwoods - always more Redwoods, Big Sur... for America to enjoy forever. AND hopefully he'll reduce the amount of ridiculously cheap mining and logging permits/rights that have been given out in our National Parks to companies for decades!!! I look forward to the fresh perspective and learning that will come from reading Mr. Brinkley's next volumes on environmental history!
LosAngelesDan More than 1 year ago
I first became intrigued by TR after reading "The Big Burn" by Timothy Egan: part of that story is about the forces driving the creation of the US National Forest Service--Theodore Roosevelt was one of those men of vision who fought entrenched interests to save some of the wilderness for generations to come. This book expands and rounds off the TR that "The Big Burn" hints of in its story.
iluvvideo More than 1 year ago
An intense,encompassing and extremely enlightening book on Theodore Roosevelt a man of multiple talents and accomplishments. Weighing in at over 900 pages this dense volume keeps the reader intrigued through Roosevelt's boyhood fascination with ornithology and the Roosevelt Museum; his Harvard years and his relationship with his uncle Robert B. Roosevelt; his marriages and children's lives; his 'strenuous life' philosophy and western travels and explorations; his entry into politics and it's formation of his policies of conservationism and land management and sustainability. Through cabinet posts, Governorship of New York state and ultimately the White House. Theodore (don't call him Teddy!...) proved years ahead of his time in developing the system of National Parks, Forests, Monuments, Bird Reserves that has American citizenry forever in his debt. Saving almost 225 million acres of wilderness and natural treasures to be enjoyed by generations of people into eternity. A deft politician, he brought into federal service many types of experts on birds, fish, forestry, land use and conservation and other sciences of nature, giving them power to enact governmental policies and help guide America to a place at the forefront of the world's nations in wilderness preservation and governmental ecological planning for the future. One drawback of the book is it's sheer size. The material described is densely packed on the page and demands to be savored and not skimmed lightly through. This require an amount of commitment as a reader and believe me it's worth it. You'll come away with a new found sense of respect and admiration for our twenty -sixth president, a true wilderness warrior.
Windsong55 More than 1 year ago
This book by Dr. Douglas Brinkley brings to the forefront the bases and the impact that President Theodore Roosevelt had on our country's conservation and environment movement. Dr. Brinkley's insights highlights the role that one individual can have on policies that have and will play a role in our lives and our children lives. Roosevelt felt, during his time period, that it was extremely important to save nature for future generations. This vision of Roosevelt is still important in today's world....and that is the reason why it is important to read the book.
birdeee More than 1 year ago
I recently read this book on a road trip from Los Angeles to Denver and as a consequence, stopped in at a few national parks along the way that I hadn't visited for over 30 years. Of course they were awe-inspiring and beautiful but I had a much greater appreciation of the foresight needed to preserve and protect these areas. It was also a good reminder of the time when a president could be a real character and quirky! I found this author after reading The Great Deluge about the FEMA response to Hurricane Katrina
Marilyn-Bayside-NY More than 1 year ago
Although Teddy Roosevelt had an insatible blood lust for hunting in the USA and Africa, he was able to recognize the need for conservation in both the animal world and in nature. This book explores his role in the conservation of animal species and his establishment of National Parks here and in Puerto Rico. We owe him our gratitude for saving the American wilderness from developers and protecting America's most beautiful and valuable assets, which are still under threat from destruction in our modern age. This book discusses the founding of many of today's well known nature societies ie: Sierra Club, National Geograpic, just to name a sampling. His need to hunt, which is contrary to his conservation policy, brought him into direct contact with wildlife, and enabled him to understand the necessity and urgency to save and protect wildlife and wilderness. This is not a book on politics, it is a book about the preservation and protection of America. It can be a tedious read on some pages but well worth sticking out the slow parts. His place on Mount Rushmore is well deserved.
OliveOT More than 1 year ago
It is incredibly inspiring to read about the man who saved some of my favorite places in the US, and hopefully Obama will read it and get on track with ANWR and Big Sur to continue in the steps of this amazing man!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Teddy is far more interesting and intelligent than I ever would have guessed. I read this book because I am a John Muir fan. Now I'm a Teddy fan too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
well written great insight into a great man
Tangen More than 1 year ago
Bought it because of national parks and TR. Felt like an overlong Publish or Perish, over 40 hours, or nearly 1000 pages, and drily academic in tone. Not well done, I was extremely disappointed. The narrator was adequate.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AnnieBM More than 1 year ago
This biography focuses on Roosevelt's conservation/preservation side, including the development of his ideas, relationships, and policies. The book is detail packed which brings out Roosevelt's character, both positive and negative. Brinkley presents the history well giving a good sense of the development of the United States in the in-between-state -- between early European colonists and the final 50 states and Puerto Rico. I recommend the book for those interested in history: of Roosevelt, conservation, the United States, US politics, and Darwin's influence.
horseloverRL More than 1 year ago
This is a complete coverage of TR's life from child to death regarding environmental philosophy and policy as well as some of his immediate family's contributions. It is one of the most inspirational and motivating books AI have read - if one cares about the land, wild things and places and our natural resources.
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