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Frank's Book Log

Literature is a relative term.

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

1979 | Nonfiction
A cover of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris (1979)
A-: 5 stars (out of 5)
on May 07, 2022

An immersive epic that celebrates—but never sugar-coats—its subject.

The first volume of Morris’s trilogy tracks Roosevelt from birth to the presidency. He’s born a weak, asthmatic child who survives thanks in large to his parents’ affluence. But while his body is lacking, his mind proves voracious. In his formative years, he builds his body and develops an interest in science. As he enters adulthood, he believes his future lies in academics. But a series of tragedies and opportunities lead him to a destiny split between politics and the Badlands of the American west.

Morris pulls from many sources, including first-hand interviews and Roosevelt’s own diaries and correspondence to craft a definitive biography. Yet, such is Roosevelt’s life that the story packs the dramatic thrust of narrative fiction. Equal parts shrewd politician and cowboy, Roosevelt may be the closest thing America’s ever had to a superhero. He proved incorruptible, be it in the New York and Washington political machines, or the rough country of the Badlands. His preternatural integrity proved irresistible, even when I disagreed with his positions. His blindness to his own privilege and tendency toward preachiness proved his lone weakness, but these flaws only humanized him. An amazing man, and an inspired biography.

Reading History

    Sat May 07, 2022 via Audible (Read by Mark Deakins)
    Listened to over 50 Days
    1. 19 Mar, 2022
    2. 20 Mar, 2022
    3. 22 Mar, 2022
    4. 26 Mar, 2022
    5. 27 Mar, 2022
    6. 03 Apr, 2022
    7. 30 Apr, 2022
    8. 07 May, 2022