By Edmund Morris
The main eagerly awaited presidential biography in years, Theodore Rex is a sequel to Edmund Morris’s vintage bestseller The upward thrust of Theodore Roosevelt. It starts off via following the recent President (still the youngest in American background) as he comes down from Mount Marcy, ny, to take his emergency oath of workplace in Buffalo, 100 years in the past.
A certain prologue describes TR’s assumption of strength and trip to Washington, with the assassinated President McKinley using at the back of him like a ghost of the 19th century. (Trains rumble all through this irresistibly relocating narrative, as TR crosses and recrosses the nation.) touring south via a succession of haunting landscapes, TR encounters harbingers of all of the significant problems with the recent century-Imperialism, Industrialism, Conservation, Immigration, exertions, Race-plus the general problem that intimidated McKinley: find out how to harness America’s new strength because the world’s richest kingdom.
Theodore Rex (the identify is taken from a quip by way of Henry James) tells the tale of the subsequent seven and a part years-years within which TR entertains, infuriates, amuses, strong-arms, and seduces the physique politic right into a kingdom of just about overall subservience to his will. it isn't consistently tale: one of many revelations here's that TR used to be hated and feared via a considerable minority of his fellow electorate. Wall highway, the white South, Western lumber barons, even his personal Republican management in Congress try to harness his gradually expanding power.
Within weeks of arrival in Washington, TR explanations a national sensation via changing into the 1st President to ask a black guy to dinner within the White apartment. subsequent, he launches his recognized prosecution of the Northern Securities corporation, and follows up with landmark antitrust laws. He liberates Cuba, determines the direction of the Panama Canal, mediates the good Anthracite Strike, and resolves the Venezuela challenge of 1902-1903 with such masterful secrecy that the realm at huge is unaware how close to the USA and Germany have come to war.
During an epic nationwide travel within the spring of 1903, TR’s conservation philosophy (his unmarried maximum reward to posterity) comes into complete flower. He additionally bestows on numerous americans the richness of a character with no parallel-evangelical and passionate, but lusty and humorous; adroitly political, winningly normal, intellectually overwhelming. the main well-known father of his time, he's cherished via his six young ones (although appealing, willful “Princess” Alice rebelled opposed to him) and permitted as an honorary member of the White condo Gang of seditious small boys.
Theodore Rex, filled with cinematic element, strikes with the exhilarating velocity of a singular, but it rides on a granite base of scholarship. TR’s personal voice is consistently heard, because the President was once a talented letter author and raconteur. additionally heard are the various witticisms, occasionally mocking, but consistently affectionate, of such Roosevelt intimates as Henry Adams, John Hay, and Elihu Root. (“Theodore isn't sober,” stated Adams, “only he's inebriated with himself and never with rum.”)
TR’s velocity of inspiration and motion, and his overall command of all features of presidential management, from bureaucratic subterfuge to manipulation of the click, make him all yet invincible in 1904, whilst he wins a moment time period through a ancient landslide. strangely, this victory transforms him from a patrician conservative to a innovative, accountable among 1905 and 1908 for a raft of enlightened laws, together with the natural meals and corporation legal responsibility acts. much more amazing, to critics who've caricatured TR as a swinger of the massive Stick, is his emergence as a diplomat. He wins the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing approximately an finish to the Russo-Japanese battle in 1905.
Interspersed with many tales of Rooseveltian triumphs are a few sour episodes-notably a devastating lynching-that remind us of America’s deep prejudices and fears. Theodore Rex does now not try to justify TR’s infamous motion following the Brownsville Incident of 1906-his worst mistake as President-but neither does this resolutely sincere biography delight in the straightforward knowledge of hindsight. it truly is written all through in genuine time, reflecting the area as TR observed it. through the ultimate bankruptcy, because the nice “Teddy” prepares to give up the White residence in 1909, it is going to be a hard-hearted reader who doesn't percentage the sentiment of Henry Adams: “The outdated condo will look uninteresting and unhappy whilst my Theodore has gone.”