Teddy Roosevelt became a war hero, reformed the NYPD, busted the largest railroad and oil trusts, passed the Pure Food and Drug Act, created national parks and forests, won the Nobel Peace Prize, and built the Panama Canal - to name just a few. Yet it was the cause he championed the hardest - America's entry into WWI - that would ultimately divide and destroy him. His youngest son, Quentin, his favorite, would die in an air fight.
One of the most dynamic eras in American history, the 1920s began with a watershed year that would set the tone for the century to follow. The Roaring Twenties is the only decade in American history with a widely applied nickname, and our collective fascination with this era continues. But how did this surge of innovation and cultural milestones emerge out of the ashes of World War I?
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Their ambitions, intrigues, and jealousies shaped the birth of our nation, but they overcame their foibles and imperfections to throw off the chains of tyranny and form a more perfect union. We think of them now as faces on money or statues on pedestals, and, as Burns shows here in luminous prose, thats exactly what they wanted to be. They all possessed astonishing brilliance, expansive egos, and more than just a little vanity.
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