City Journal Autumn 2014

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Ryan L. Cole
The Last Word on Teddy « Back to Story

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Every time I despair of my country, I recall that it was the land that provided the world with Teddy Roosevelt. I look forward to reading the last part of this wonderful work.
I can't help but wonder how TR would defang Palin, Beck, and some of their left co-horts. Defang isn't the word---nonetheless, he's let them have it, sans cursing. Agree with Sayles....we've had noone like him since, nor will we ever, if we're to judge at our current crop of jackaknapes and tatterdemallions.
Loved your review; reading T. Rex now....yes, it is like verse....rich.
Martin Berman-Gorvine February 16, 2011 at 8:58 AM
TR was a wonderful man, but I am afraid his New Nationalism and trust busting wouldn't sit too well with you folks at City Journal. Thanks for the review, though.
It was interesting seeing how Morris' view of Roosevelt changed from one of admiration in his first volume to the final one where there is ambivalence about TR all over the place.
I have read the entire trilogy and I agree Edmond Morris' biographies of TR are the best I have ever read. We forget today that TR was as famous or more so than JFK or FDR.
I particularly liked the South American expedition and the characterization of his sons of whom I knew much less. I never knew my maternal grandfather (he was killed August 8, 1918 and my mother was an only child) but I do know he was an ardent admirer of TR and that my mother had a book of his that showed TR's expedition in Brazil. I also know my maternal grandfather became a naturalized US citizen due to his great admiration for TR and that he voted for him in 1912. The reviewer is quite right that this book is more than just a biography. It is a literary classic and one of the finest biographies of recent years. Thoroughly enjoyable, touching and also a warning that poor diet and overeating will kill anyone. TR ate at times like Babe Ruth, consuming a dozen eggs and rashers of bacon. I have been to TR jr's grave at Normandy; he is bured next to his brother Quentin the only WWI veteran buried there. One cannot admire the courage of the Roosevelts -both Republican and Democrat- and their great civic virtue. I had a chance to speak with James Roosevelt -a former Marine officer-and I had a long conversation some years ago with Earl Miller, FDR's bodyguard who at that time was a docent at the FDR library. They loved FDR, naturally, and had nothing bad to say about him but I think history will say the greatest Roosevelt was the first. He had to have been the most prolific author of any president. He was a cross between Lincoln, Jefferson and Churchill. He was absolutely amazing but also a kind person who was beloved by his wife and children. The personal TR had many fine and endearing characteristics not the least of which was his love of nature and his knowledge of natural science. He was bigger than Hemingway and John Wayne together. He was an American original.
Stop calling him "Teddy!"
At 85, I have more important ,more urgent things to do than to immerse in T.R., but his life did justify three volumes. None before or after equalled his exuberance for all aspects of life. He was a Cesar too large. The world was too small to fit comfortably.
Agree. Love Morris' muscular prose, and the City Journal's muscular politics.