>> Monday, May 14, 2007
Publication Date: 2001
This is the first of my books for the Non-Fiction Five Challenge, and my 5th book for The Chunkster Challenge. It was a good one, but I also knew what I was getting into. Morris has written two volumes of what is planned to be a 3 volume biography of Theodore Roosevelt. Since there was a 22 year gap between the first two books, I’m not exactly holding my breath waiting for the third one.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt which covers his life from birth to just before he became President when William McKinley died. This period of his life was an amazingly adventurous and colorful story. That book truly read like an adventure tale as much as it did a biography. I hadn’t known that much about the man before reading that book and was fascinated with how much he had done and experienced before he even became President at 42.
Theodore Rex is a different style of book than the first one because it is a story of an extremely different part of this man’s life. It strictly covers his years as President and sticks very closely to telling about his Presidency more than it tells about his personal or family life during that time period. Therefore, it’s a tale of politics and foreign relations. The first book was more about Theodore Roosevelt (the man) and this one is about Theodore Roosevelt (the President). I learned a lot about the Panama Canal, and the various world crises and near-crises, but I was left wanting to know more about other aspects of his life during this time period.
There were places where I had trouble keeping track of all the political players and frequently used the extensive notes section for further information. Some things bothered me about the book. There’s an extremely brief mention of a future attempted assassin that is never followed up that I found to be annoying. There are many too brief hints at the turbulent relationship with his oldest daughter, Alice that are left unexplored. His family life in the White House as the first resident of that building with a family of young children is nearly ignored. However, the book is still an interesting story of his Presidency. I would like to read more about Theodore Roosevelt’s wife, daughter and sister because they all seemed to be quite strong women in their own right and the book left me wanting to know more about them.
If you only read one book about Theodore Roosevelt I would recommend The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Morris, rather than this one. This one was excellent, but it was definitely about his Presidency more than anything. It’s interesting, but not as fascinating as the first one.
I just hope it doesn’t take Morris until 2023 to write the third part of Roosevelt’s biography.