By Edmund Morris
The main eagerly awaited presidential biography in years, Theodore Rex is a sequel to Edmund Morris’s vintage bestseller The upward push of Theodore Roosevelt. It starts by way of following the hot President (still the youngest in American heritage) as he comes down from Mount Marcy, manhattan, to take his emergency oath of place of work in Buffalo, 100 years in the past.
A exact 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 the entire significant problems with the recent century-Imperialism, Industrialism, Conservation, Immigration, exertions, Race-plus the general problem that intimidated McKinley: tips to harness America’s new energy because the world’s richest country.
Theodore Rex (the identify is taken from a quip via 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 regularly an attractive tale: one of many revelations here's that TR was once hated and feared by way of a considerable minority of his fellow voters. Wall highway, the white South, Western lumber barons, even his personal Republican management in Congress attempt to harness his gradually expanding power.
Within weeks of arrival in Washington, TR factors a national sensation by way of changing into the 1st President to ask a black guy to dinner within the White residence. subsequent, he launches his well-known 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 nice Anthracite Strike, and resolves the Venezuela difficulty of 1902-1903 with such masterful secrecy that the area at huge is unaware how close to the us 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 out parallel-evangelical and passionate, but lusty and humorous; adroitly political, winningly traditional, intellectually overwhelming. the main well-known father of his time, he's cherished through his six young ones (although appealing, willful “Princess” Alice rebelled opposed to him) and permitted as an honorary member of the White condominium Gang of seditious small boys.
Theodore Rex, choked with cinematic element, strikes with the exhilarating speed of a unique, but it rides on a granite base of scholarship. TR’s personal voice is continually heard, because the President was once a proficient letter author and raconteur. additionally heard are the numerous witticisms, occasionally mocking, but continuously affectionate, of such Roosevelt intimates as Henry Adams, John Hay, and Elihu Root. (“Theodore is rarely sober,” stated Adams, “only he's inebriated with himself and never with rum.”)
TR’s pace of suggestion and motion, and his overall command of all elements of presidential management, from bureaucratic subterfuge to manipulation of the click, make him all yet invincible in 1904, while he wins a moment time period through a historical landslide. unusually, this victory transforms him from a patrician conservative to a revolutionary, dependable among 1905 and 1908 for a raft of enlightened laws, together with the natural nutrition and enterprise legal responsibility acts. much more astonishing, to critics who've caricatured TR as a swinger of the large Stick, is his emergence as a diplomat. He wins the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing approximately an finish to the Russo-Japanese warfare 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 no longer 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 realm as TR observed it. by way of the ultimate bankruptcy, because the nice “Teddy” prepares to hand over the White condominium in 1909, will probably be a hard-hearted reader who doesn't percentage the sentiment of Henry Adams: “The previous condo will look boring and unhappy while my Theodore has gone.”