Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Roosevelt in December?



Tentatively we have Colonel Roosevelt scheduled for December.  The book is due out November 23.  Would like to take a quick survey of those interested in Edmund Morris' final installment of his TR trilogy, or if there are other books persons would like to suggest.

Having just about finished an advance copy of the book, I can heartily recommend it, as Morris covers a lot of ground in the tumultuous last 10 years of Roosevelt's life (1909-1919) from his big game hunt in Africa, to the formation of the Progressive Party in 1912 to his Journey through the Brazilian Wilderness to his infamous battles with Wilson over American neutrality in WWI and the revolution taking place in Mexico.  Enough here to capture just about anyone's attention.  The book weighs in at a little under 600 pages.

But, this forum always remains open to suggestions, so please comment or post your opinions.

19 comments:

  1. I'd enjoy a discussion of this book if others are interested in reading it.

    I'm currently reading Obama's War, which I picked up after returning from Arizona. Not very well written -- almost like notes taken on the run -- but fascinating none the less.

    As some reviewers have noted, there's nothing particularly startling new about what I've read so far, but it does give you the sense that this is almost verbatim how things happened.

    It also, again, gives me some consideration for Obama trying to keep the "homeland" safe (how I hate that word), when there are thousands of people out there who are training to attack it.

    I still wish he would step back even farther and look at the work of people like Robert Pape, but this is the world that George built and I guess you can't expect a miracle when it comes to foreign policy.

    This might be a good interim book to read and discuss if anyone is interested.

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  2. While it appears to be a good read, I wonder if people can read a 600+ book in the short time frame from its release to our scheduled starting date.

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  3. We can always make it Dec. 15 or January 1 for that matter, as the holidays would probably impact the reading. I think you would enjoy, trip. It is a meaty book with a lot of subjects to chew over. It really is amazing what Roosevelt accomplished in this 10 years.

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  4. Plus, we can always read as we discuss it. A book that long probably should be discussed chapter by chapter in any event.

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  5. I'm reading The Devil in the White City and recommend it. Well researched and fascinating.

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  6. That's the one about the Chicago World's Fair as I remember. Have been tempted as I have read a lot about the 1893 World's Fair. Big fan of the "Chicago School," although as architecture goes it ended up being rather "old world," although brightly lit.

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  7. I'll be happy to have a discussion of TR at any time. Morris' masterpieces have taken some 30 years to complete. I eas a young man when when the first volume appeared in 1979.

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  8. Morris started and ends on a strong note. Theodore Rex seemed a bit weak, especially after the long wait, but he more than makes up for it in Colonel Roosevelt. He really captures a strong sense of Roosevelt in this book, making you feel for the Bull Moose every step of the way.

    I also think it will amply sustain a discussion, unlike some of the other books we have read recently, as Morris covers so much ground in this book.

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  9. How do we stand on Roosevelt? Any takers, or do we consider other books for December?

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  10. I'm in! We need to email Robert to remind him, because I'm sure he'll be interested.

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  11. If it arrives I'll try to keep up & hopefully add a few words to the discussion.

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  12. Trippler, I don't have the book yet either so I'll just be starting it at the end of the month too -- assuming it gets here by then.

    Considering that it apparently covers similar ground to the Cooper book and TR Abroad, it should be an interesting discussion on how historians view TR.

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  13. Happy Armistice Day everyone.

    To think it was to be the war to end all wars....

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  14. Morris approaches TR more as biography, although he spends a lot of time on his differences with Wilson and the battles they had between 1912-1920. I thought the more interesting chapters were those on Roosevelt's flirtation with the Progressive Party. Seems he was roped into this one by Gifford Pinchot and later came to regret it. I guess any platform would do at the time, given how upset he was about Taft.

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  15. Morris is very pro-Roosevelt, noting in his epilogue that one of his aims when he started this trilogy back in the 70s was to resurrect TR's image after it suffered so much abuse at the hands of liberal academics. I'm not sure what Morris' politics are but I assume he is not an ardent Republican, as he points out the many glaring differences between Roosevelt and the Regular Republicans of his day. But, he does tend to sidestep some of the more controversial issues in regard to Roosevelt.

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  16. Just what the world needs -- another massive hagiography of TR. But I enjoyed reading the other two, so look forward to this one if it is ever published!

    Interesting comment about Pinchot. I'm inclined to believe that a lot of the good TR did was at the hands of men like Pinchot who figured out how to use him to their advantage. That said, he did do a lot of good, so you can't simply dismiss that out of hand. Seems like there is room for a more balanced view of him overall (not all big stick but then not all environmentalism and good deeds either).

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  17. He doesn't gloat over TR's accomplishments like Brinkley did, but in Roosevelt's battles with Wilson it was pretty clear that Morris sided with Roosevelt. That said, it was very interesting reading. I thought the book was much better than Theodore Rex, which I felt soft pedaled the Panama Canal and the Brownsville Affair.

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  18. Good to see Robert back. Hopefully he'll also join us.

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  19. Review of Colonel Roosevelt:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/18/books/18book.html

    I also just received my copy of Washington. I have my hands full!

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