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)
This is the second part of Morris' three book series on Theodore Roosevelt(the third book is not yet written). Taken with part one, this is one of the best biographies that I have ever read or heard. Roosevelt was not only one of the greatest presidents of our countries history, but was also one of the most interesting and entertaining personalities our country has ever produced. A great book that could only be better when the first book is released unabridged, and when the third book is published.
A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.
A brilliant biography. IT is hard to separate my love of Morris' second Roosevelt biography from my love of TR. The book captures the dynamo-President's force, eccentricities, and political skill while also accurately capturing the politics of the time and the rise of America's global power. Occasionally a person enters the global stage with such energy, power, competence and audacity that it seems the earth moves for them and water separates. I can only think of a couple other leaders that capture the Nietzsche' Übermensch ideal (Napoleon, Fredrick the Great, Alexander, Caesar, etc) as well. Even when Teddy wasn't super, he was still super lucky.
I've had this book sitting on a shelf for years intending to read it. Now that I have finally listened to it, I can say it more than lives up to the promise of Morris' first volume on Roosevelt, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. I give the book itself five stars. The recording, however, has a nasty audio glitch on Part 2 from 02:46:56 to 04:05:16, interference in the form of scratching and blurring that is terribly annoying. So I would give the audio no stars, which averages out to 2.5 stars overall. This is not the quality I have come to expect from audible.com. I will try to contact them about it, but in the meantime, caveat emptor.
...I really did want to like it. But having recently read Caro and Kearns Goodwin, I was expecting more insight as to who TR was as a person, not just a recap of his significant achievements and world events while he was in office. Theodore Rex comes across as more of a doctoral thesis than an biography: fact-filled and learned; but impersonal and lacking suspense. I learned a lot, no doubt, but I was sorely disappointed with the lack of detail on TR's thought processes, and what made him tic for the 7.5 years that he was the most powerful person on Earth.
Marosz has a voice for which many orators would kill. It is deep, smooth, and delicious like like a chocolate milk milkshake... And not the cheap ones you get from fast food joints - Marosz' voice is the Five Dollar Milkshake of voices. If I had a voice like his, my wife would force me to croon her to sleep every night... but only if I could change pitch every now and then, and that is a feat of which Marosz seems almost entirely incapable. There were times while driving down the road that I had to turn off the book because Marosz' monotonous tone nearly lulled me to sleep. Marosz sets up quotes with well-timed pauses, which is appreciated; but those are practically the only times the listener gets any break from the "Bueller, Bueller, Bueller"-esque droning. And, as with Morris' over-use of French throughout the book, I became just as annoyed with Marosz' "ejaculating" French phrases as though he were giving a tour at the Louvre. Please keep in mind, I am no anti-French-ite. I love escargot, Bordeaux, and French fries as much as the next guy. Foreign languages and culture make me smile. Marosz runs through French names and phrases without effort, to the point that I presume he speaks the language fluently. I am jealous. But where was that effort on the Spanish, German, Russian and Japanese names? I couldn't help but think he was showing off when he had the opportunity to use French, but made no effort whatsoever to learn how to pronounce the smattering of names from other languages. C'est une honte!
Morris is clearly an accomplished historian and I can only fathom the countless hours he put into this impressive compilation of historical facts and events. At times, however, I just couldn't help but feel like the book was over written. For example, I don't want to have to put down a book -- or in this case, pause the audio -- to stop and look up French words and phrases every 10 minutes. Okay: TR had some Frenchmen in and around his cabinet. Point taken. But I don't need a run down of every French dish he consumed over the course of 7 years. And, I especially do not need to references to anyone "ejaculating" words. Yes, I understand the word can be applied in different ways; but I would be "deee-lighted" if Morris would use a different word when he describes someone excreting a word.
All told, Theodore Rex is a phenomenal work of historical scholarship; but a rather boring story.
I would certainly buy another book from Morris, however I will avoid Marosz as a narrator. He has a horrible habit of drawing out random words much to long, speaks slowly and treats the text as if he is singing a song. Unfortunately, he seems to enjoy the sound of his voice more than the text he has been asked to read.
It helps me to better understand a period of American history that has been glossed over in all of my history classes, where we think of civil war, maybe a bit of the war of 1812, barely mention the Spanish American war, and then skip to WWI. This is very unfortunate since much of our current "Americanism" was originally developed during this period, as Morris shows.
No, he must be the worst narrator I have heard on audible.
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
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.
The book is a follow up to The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. I so enjoyed the first book, I opted for the unabridged version of the second. However, the narrator has a grating quality in his voice, as though he has a sore throat. I'm not certain I could listen to it for 24 hours.
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.
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.
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