Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life

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9780679767336: Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life

He inherited a sense of entitlement (and obligation) from his family, yet eventually came to see his own class as suspect. He was famously militaristic, yet brokered peace between Russia and Japan. He started out an archconservative, yet came to champion progressive causes. These contradictions are not evidence of vacillating weakness: instead, they were the product of a restless mind bend on a continuous quest for self-improvement.

In Theodore Roosevelt, historian Kathleen Dalton reveals a man with a personal and intellectual depth rarely seen in our public figures. She shows how Roosevelt’s struggle to overcome his frailties as a child helped to build his character, and offers new insights into his family life, uncovering the important role that Roosevelt’s second wife, Edith Carow, played in the development of his political career. She also shows how TR flirted with progressive reform and then finally commited himself to deep reform in the Bull Moose campaign of 1912. Incorporating the latest scholarship into a vigorous narrative, Dalton reinterprets both the man and his times to create an illuminating portrait that will change the way we see this great man and the Progressive Era.

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Review:

Biographers have often treated Theodore Roosevelt as "a larger-than-life monument carved in stone, unchanging, far from being flesh and blood, and quite imperturbable." So writes Kathleen Dalton, who gives us a fully fleshed, quite down-to-earth TR in this vigorous, sometimes critical biography of the 26th president.

Roosevelt carefully crafted an image of himself as a self-made man. Fair enough, Dalton suggests, though he had a big head start in coming from one of New York's wealthiest and best-connected families. More than shaping his body to overcome weakness, his spirit to overcome fear, he had to overcome the prejudices of his time and class in order to be truly fit for leadership, and even as president he wrestled with a few contradictions (opposing, for instance, a woman's right to divorce, but endorsing public flogging of spousal abusers). He was not always successful, Dalton writes, but he emerged in the end as a great champion of civil rights and of the middle and working classes, very much ahead of his time.

There's a lot of interest in Theodore Roosevelt these days--and for good reason, given the recent international turmoil and financial tumble, which, some would argue, beg for TR's patented big-stick and trust-busting treatment. Dalton's Theodore Roosevelt offers a satisfying portrait of a constantly fascinating subject. --Gregory McNamee

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"Kathleen Dalton's Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life is a brave, bold, revisionist study of the most multidimensional of our American Presidents. Debunking academic notions that TR was a jingoistic nativist, Dalton establishes the Sage of Oyster Bay as an open-minded public servant crusading for social justice. She leaves the reader convinced that there was a bedrock sanity to TR's irascible manic behaviour. A truly remarkable biography."
--Douglas Brinkley

“Kathleen Dalton's engaging full-length biography of Theodore Roosevelt is distinguished throughout by her fresh findings about TR's family life and her keen interest in his progressively social and economic views in his last decade. She presents a convincing assessment of the positive influence of women's concerns on TR's beliefs and policies, and she writes compellingly of his essentially moral commitment to federal regulation of corporations. Imaginatively researched and unflaggingly interesting, THEODORE ROOSEVELT is intimate, insightful, and informing. Readers familiar with TR and readers just coming to him will enjoy and be enlightened by it.”
--William H. Harbaugh, author of POWER AND RESPONSIBILITY (bio of TR, 1961)

“Like its subject, this book is charming and intellectually sound. And at last, someone pays serious attention to TR's scientific interests and achievements.”
—Stephen Jay Gould

“At a time when we yearn for great moral leadership and conviction, Kathleen Dalton brings back to us a man who marvelously embraced these qualities, in a continually dramatic account told with skill and grace.”
---James MacGregor Burns

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. He inherited a sense of entitlement (and obligation) from his family, yet eventually came to see his own class as suspect. He was famously militaristic, yet brokered peace between Russia and Japan. He started out an archconservative, yet came to champion progressive causes. These contradictions are not evidence of vacillating weakness: instead, they were the product of a restless mind bend on a continuous quest for self-improvement. In Theodore Roosevelt, historian Kathleen Dalton reveals a man with a personal and intellectual depth rarely seen in our public figures. She shows how Roosevelt s struggle to overcome his frailties as a child helped to build his character, and offers new insights into his family life, uncovering the important role that Roosevelt s second wife, Edith Carow, played in the development of his political career. She also shows how TR flirted with progressive reform and then finally commited himself to deep reform in the Bull Moose campaign of 1912. Incorporating the latest scholarship into a vigorous narrative, Dalton reinterprets both the man and his times to create an illuminating portrait that will change the way we see this great man and the Progressive Era. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780679767336

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Book Description Random House USA Inc, United States, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. He inherited a sense of entitlement (and obligation) from his family, yet eventually came to see his own class as suspect. He was famously militaristic, yet brokered peace between Russia and Japan. He started out an archconservative, yet came to champion progressive causes. These contradictions are not evidence of vacillating weakness: instead, they were the product of a restless mind bend on a continuous quest for self-improvement. In Theodore Roosevelt, historian Kathleen Dalton reveals a man with a personal and intellectual depth rarely seen in our public figures. She shows how Roosevelt s struggle to overcome his frailties as a child helped to build his character, and offers new insights into his family life, uncovering the important role that Roosevelt s second wife, Edith Carow, played in the development of his political career. She also shows how TR flirted with progressive reform and then finally commited himself to deep reform in the Bull Moose campaign of 1912. Incorporating the latest scholarship into a vigorous narrative, Dalton reinterprets both the man and his times to create an illuminating portrait that will change the way we see this great man and the Progressive Era. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780679767336

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