TR's speed of thought and action, and his total command of all aspects of presidential leadership, from bureaucratic subterfuge to manipulation of the press, make him all but invincible in 1904, when he wins a second term by a historic landslide. Surprisingly, this victory transforms him from a patrician conservative to a progressive, responsible between 1905 and 1908 for a raft of enlightened legislation.
Interspersed with many stories of Rooseveltian triumphs are some bitter episodes - notably a devastating lynching - that remind us of America's deep prejudices and fears. Theodore Rex does not attempt to justify TR's notorious action following the Brownsville Incident of 1906 - his worst mistake as president - but neither does this resolutely honest biography indulge in the easy wisdom of hindsight. It is written throughout in real time, reflecting the world as TR saw it. By the final chapter, as the great "Teddy" prepares to quit the White House, it will be a hard-hearted listener who does not share the sentiment of Henry Adams: "The old house will seem dull and sad when my Theodore has gone."
Listen to a conversation with Edmund Morris.
©2001 Edmund Morris; (P)2002 Books on Tape, Inc.
"Impeccably researched and beautifully composed, a dazzling portrait of the man....A book that is every bit as complex, engaging, and invigorating as the vibrant president it depicts." (Publishers Weekly)
The reader was difficult. He is a slow reader. Once I figured out how to do it I listened to the rest of the book, about two thirds of it, in 2x speed without any noticeable loss of substance. The reader must also be fluent in French. The French is great but everything seems a little French or neuter. The French emphasis brings out the author's failure to translate some phrases but that may be my fault since I am not familiar with common French and Latin phrases. Perhaps it is because the reader of the first and third volumes is so good but the voice of this reader does not distinguish text from quote or from one person from another, something at which the reader of the other two is excellent.
Being the second in a triology, the book is necessary.
The production quality is difficult. The first and third volumes are very well done. In the other two, each chapter has its own audio file. This second one does not. The worst part is that there are more than 15 occasions when the audio repeats 5 to 20 seconds of the book. Once or even up to three times would be passable but over 15 was excessive.
Having read "The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt", which is the first book in the series, I literally couldn't wait to get to this one. The first book ends on a cliffhanger: President McKinley has just been shot, and TR is about to be sworn in as President. His fascinating rise to power will be nothing compared to the presidency itself. A lot of unbelievable things happen: supporting a coup d'etat in Panama so that he can push through the Panama Canal Treaty, moderation of a financial crisis in Venezuela to avert war with Germany, and massive railroad reform, all the while courting/attacking the great robber-barons of the era. Great stuff, but I was left somehow wanting. I blame the reader 100% for this feeling. Jonathan Marosz reads in a slow, somewhat sarcastic monotone that makes fascinating events seem trivial. He also reads very slowly. There is no comparison between Marosz and Deakins, who narrates Volumes 1 and 3.
As before, the level of detail that Morris goes into regarding the side-players to TR himself, notably senators, ambassadors, kings, and wealthy tycoons is really the colorful backdrop for TR himself. As before, Morris paints TR as nearly perfect, and his missteps and outright manipulation of various senators and tycoons is spun positively. The way that TR destroys Mark Hanna and double-crosses the governor of New York, (which he helped elect) is fascinating, as well as his unbelievable destruction of Democratic opposition in the primary of 1904. If all this minutiae interests you, then this book is winner, no doubt about it.
Morris gives only minor mention to the major players in the "muck-racking" press, (just one chapter). If you specifically have interest in that topic, then you should listen/read a fascinating book called "The Bully Pulpit" by Doris Kearns Goodwin, which covers that period of the presidency in exhaustive detail.
I can't help but repeat that I really missed hearing Mark Deakins on the recording, and I was happy to see that he has been re-hired for volume 3. Obviously, you can't skip over this volume if you want to get the whole story, so this is a must listen, period.
As I mentioned in my review of volume one, I learned things from this book that I never learned in high school/college history classes, and this book will also teach you much about why the United States became "the police-man" of the world and how we, as modern citizens of the 21st century, have TR to thank (or denounce) for this. We don't even realize it, but his policies have direct, and immediate influence on our daily lives as Americans.
Morris does not make these connections at all. The book does not make commentary. It merely describes events, and leaves it up to us to evaluate how those events impact us.
As I was listening, I was also thinking and reflecting about how different this country would be if TR had not succeeded in doing the things he decided to do at the time.
if you have a long flight, a long drive, or a lengthy commute (I have all these), then this book is perfect.
Nice follow up.
The highly anticipated sequel to The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt.
I recommend this book, but suggest reading The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt first.
It definitely gives a detailed summary of TR's time as president.
I think I liked his previous book more.
There were way too many repeated sentences, suggesting two takes that were left in. Needs another listen from an editor.
I'd give this a 5 if the reader was the same one as in the other two books of this series. As a midwesterner I find the Haaavaard Yaard pronounciation aggravating but could probably put up with it if there was some feeling in the reading. It is very difficult at times to tell if you are listenng to conversation or description of setting. In addition, periodically there will be half a sentence, a pause, then the sentence is repeated and the narration will continue. Rather like the skips that you used to experience wih vinyl records.
I feel that an audio edition of this book suits me better as I tend to leave a book more often. It is easier for me to listen while I am doing other activities at the same time. It is hard for me to find the time to just read. This is one that is easy to listen to as it is written in a style that is conversational.
The Education of Henry Adams it was conversational also
He was very likable in his manner
His 1st year as an unexpected President. How he flexed his political muscle to accomplish his objectives
First, you will be repelled by the narrator's strange cadence. Then, you will note that phrases in German, French, and Latin are left untranslated. FInally, you will realize that Morris is more interested in writing prose than history.
student of truth
The guy reading sounds like a pirate. I'm not sure why they didn't keep the same reader for all three books (the other guy is phenomenal) but that is my only complaint with this one.
For the writing, I give this book a 4. I really enjoy Morris' style. This wasn't as utterly captivating as "Rise of TR", but perhaps that is because the subject matter (dull legislative and domestic policy) isn't that entertaining.
For the narration, this book gets a 2. I did not enjoy the narrator's style. I agree with other reviews - the long pauses were odd, and Marosz makes no effort to distinguish narration and dialog. I enjoyed Deakins much more, and I'm looking forward to the final book in the series in which Deakins returns to narrate.
Furthermore, there are glitches in the recording, manifested in random sentences being being repeated once. This happened probably about 50 times. It was slightly annoying.
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