Theodore Rex (Compact Disc)

Theodore Rex (Compact Disc)

Audiobook CD - 2001
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The most eagerly awaited presidential biography in years,Theodore Rexis a sequel to Edmund Morris's classic bestsellerThe Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. It begins by following the new President (still the youngest in American history) as he comes down from Mount Marcy, New York, to take his emergency oath of office in Buffalo, one hundred years ago. A detailed prologue describes TR's assumption of power and journey to Washington, with the assassinated President McKinley riding behind him like a ghost of the nineteenth century. (Trains rumble throughout this irresistibly moving narrative, as TR crosses and recrosses the nation.) Traveling south through a succession of haunting landscapes, TR encounters harbingers of all the major issues of the new century-Imperialism, Industrialism, Conservation, Immigration, Labor, Race-plus the overall challenge that intimidated McKinley: how to harness America's new power as the world's richest nation. Theodore Rex(the title is taken from a quip by Henry James) tells the story of the following seven and a half years-years in which TR entertains, infuriates, amuses, strong-arms, and seduces the body politic into a state of almost total subservience to his will. It is not always a pretty story: one of the revelations here is that TR was hated and feared by a substantial minority of his fellow citizens. Wall Street, the white South, Western lumber barons, even his own Republican leadership in Congress strive to harness his steadily increasing power. Within weeks of arrival in Washington, TR causes a nationwide sensation by becoming the first President to invite a black man to dinner in the White House. Next, he launches his famous prosecution of the Northern Securities Company, and follows up with landmark antitrust legislation. He liberates Cuba, determines the route of the Panama Canal, mediates the great Anthracite Strike, and resolves the Venezuela Crisis of 1902-1903 with such masterful secrecy that the world at large is unaware how near the United States and Germany have come to war. During an epic national tour in the spring of 1903, TR's conservation philosophy (his single greatest gift to posterity) comes into full flower. He also bestows on countless Americans the richness of a personality without parallel-evangelical and passionate, yet lusty and funny; adroitly political, winningly natural, intellectually overwhelming. The most famous father of his time, he is adored by his six children (although beautiful, willful "Princess" Alice rebelled against him) and accepted as an honorary member of the White House Gang of seditious small boys. Theodore Rex, full of cinematic detail, moves with the exhilarating pace of a novel, yet it rides on a granite base of scholarship. TR's own voice is constantly heard, as the President was a gifted letter writer and raconteur. Also heard are the many witticisms, sometimes mocking, yet always affectionate, of such Roosevelt intimates as Henry Adams, John Hay, and Elihu Root. ("Theodore is never sober," said Adams, "only he is drunk with himself and not with rum.") TR's speed of thought and action, and his total command of all aspects of presidential leadership, from bureaucratic subterfuge to manipulation of the press, make him all but invincible in 1904, when he wins a second term by a historic landslide. Surprisingly, this victory transforms him from a patrician conservative to a progressive, responsible between 1905 and 1908 for a raft of enlightened legislation, including the Pure Food and Employer Liability acts. Even more surprising, to critics who have caricatured TR as a swinger of the Big Stick, is his emergence as a diplomat. He wins the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing about an end to the Russo-Japanese War in 1905. Interspersed with many stor
Publisher: New York Random House 2001
ISBN: 9780739300800
0739300806
Characteristics: Compact Discs (8) - 9 hours

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j
jquick99
Nov 08, 2017

I thought the first book in this series was outstanding [the author moves the reader briskly through events], but I'd skip the 2nd and 3rd. I was hugely disappointed that this book made the presidency of, of all people, Teddy Roosevelt seem dull.

To me, the organization of this book works against it. Because the narrative proceeds as a straight chronology [as if the author is writing directly from TR's diary], subjects are dealt with piecemeal, which means a subject is started, then keeps coming back to the subject on a weekly or monthly basis which makes it repetitive and hard to follow, and then you have to wait til much later to find out the "outcome". The story about the Panama Canal just seems to go on and on until it becomes tiresome.

I'd prefer if the author told the whole story at one time.

I may be alone in this thinking, but I would prefer the telling of a story/event in a more concise way. I don't know what my "number" is, but think I would prefer to tell the Panama Canal [for example] story in 5 paragraphs, and NOT 30...spread out a few lines here and there throughout the book. The author includes too much detail of every conversation, meeting or document/letter that took place.

BOTTOM LINE: The book drags on, due to too much minutia to boring details.

If you want an alternative book, I highly recommend Colonel Theodore Roosevelt by David A. Adler which is a great primer of TR's entire life in 138 pages.

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