Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Book #8

Colonel Roosevelt, by Edmund Morris. Unabridged audio.

This volume closes out Morris' 3-volume biography of Theodore Roosevelt. It has been a grand undertaking, each book adding depth to portrait the painted in the prior books. What results is a very thorough portrait of a truly American man. Roosevelt was expansive in his rhetoric, agile in his thinking, and firm in his belief in American exceptionalism.

The first book of the trilogy covered the Rough Rider era, leading up to Roosevelt's elevation to the US Presidency. The second covered the presidential years, and this one covers his active post-presidency. Roosevelt was the first "modern" President in many ways, including remaining involved in politics and policy debates after leaving his office.

Morris' detailed writing shows a tremendous amount of research, and a deep understanding of his subject. Yes, it is on balance a positive portrait, but there is enough negative aspects to avoid hagiogrpahy. Morris spent so many years inhabiting Roosevelt's world, that I worried that he would fall into either of the biographer's extreme. But this volume walks that fine line well, erring neither on the side of deomonizing or glossing over. It was a very strong read.

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