Theodore Rex is a meticulously researched and beautifully written biography of Theodore Roosevelt and the second book of the trilogy by Pulitzer prizewinning author, Edmund Morris, of one of ourbeloved presidents The book opens with VicePresident Roosevelt being summoned to Buffalo, New York after the assassination attempt and imminent death of President McKinley in September 1901 The book is divided into two parts, each comprising the first and second presidential administrations of Theodore Roosevelt, respectively The many facts that are contained within these pages are riveting as the President, the youngest man to hold office, brings his progressive values to the White House, promising fairness for all Americans, the breaking of longheld trusts and conglomerates, regulation of railroads and the conservation of America's natural resources being of primary importance as he established national parks, monuments and forests, whether by executive order or through the coaxing and persuasion of Congress Roosevelt was also committed to the building of the Panama Canal as he dealt with tensions in Cuba and Central America As his second term is nearing completion, he grooms William Howard Taft as his successor in order to ensure his policies will prevail One of his signature achievements was the expansion of the United States Navy and sending the Great White Fleet around the world, to culminate their tour in February 1909 as the conclusion of his presidency At Hampton Roads on 22 February, Roosevelt stood for the last time as CommanderinChief on the bridge of the 'Mayflower.''Here they are,' he eventually shouted, feeling rather than seeing, as the sound of twentyeight ships' bands playing the 'The StarSpangled Banner' grew in volume, to the rhythmic crash of cannon The music, the gunpowder, the echelons of saluting blue jackets: all were for him, and for history.'That is the answer to my critics,' he said, his top hat glistening in the wet air 'Another chapter is complete, and I could not ask a finer concluding scene for my administrations.'Seven years and a hundred and sixtynine days before, on another lowering evening, he had come along this same track, eager to begin work as the President of the United States he had been happy then, as he was happy now; happy at the large things he had managed to achievea canal, a coalstrike settlement, a peace treaty, a national conservation conferencecontented with myriad smaller triumphs But for millions of contemporary Americans, he was already memorialized in the eighteen national monuments and five national parks he had created by executive order, or cajoled out of Congress The 'inventory,' as Gifford Pinchot would say, included protected pinnacles, a crater lake, a rain forest and a petrified forest, a wind cave and a jewel cave, cliff dwellings, a cinder cone and skyscraper of hardened magma, sequoia stands, glacier meadows, and the grandest of all canyons. Theodore Roosevelt and his twoterm presidencydeserve a kingsize, seizetheman biographyand Edmund Morris has provided one TR typifies the can do American; his famous maxim, of course, was Speak softly but carry a big stick Morris presents eyewitness history through the voices of the makers and shakers His exhilarating narrative will captivate readers, providing welcome confirmation that this nation can produce presidents who bring leadership to great issues, hold to their purpose, and shape the destinies of nations President McKinley's assassination brought the yearold TR a challenging presidency, one to which Morris is a clearsighted guide At home, TR had to persuade Congress to curb competitionstifling corporate trusts, monopolistic transcontinental railroads, and unhygienic food industries that saw consumers as sheep He also faced labor and racial strife Abroad, the American presence in Cuba and the Philippines brought criticism, the RussoJapanese conflict threatened major power shifts in the Far East and Europe, and a politically and financially fraught decision on the Central American canal routePanama or Nicaragua?had to be made TR rose to every challenge Despite the demands of family and social life, he read, wrote, and traveled extensively Not least, TR put national parks and conservation of natural resources on the legislative agendaAll TR's notable contemporariesincluding historian Henry Adams, naturalists John Burroughs and John Muir, robber barons E H Harriman and James J Hill, poet Oliver Wendell Holmes, financier J P Morgan, fellow politician William Howard Taft, civil rights leader Booker T Washington, and novelist Owen Wisterappear onstage, their clear voices projecting the excitement of the dayMorris is blessed with the imagination and skills to write gripping popular history He doesn't dilute but illuminates events in presenting an account that immediately sparks interest and captures the mind Readers will note that American interventionism abroad today's major issue was much debated during TR's presidency, when major interventional imperatives challenged the new superpower's tradition of relative restraint in foreign affairsTheodore Rex is the longawaited second volume of the TR saga Morris delivered the first volume, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt , inIt won a Pulitzer Prize; Theodore Rex is a solid bet for another Peter Skinner The second book in Morris' trilogy—looking forward to the final chapter!“To live, for him, has no meaning other than to drive oneself, to act with all one’s strength An existence without stress, without struggle, without growth has always struck him as mindless Those who remain on the sidelines he sees as cowards, and consequently his personal enemies.”“Sooner or later, unless there is a readjustment, there will come a riotous, wicked, murderous day of atonement.” The book is an excellent account of the presidency of Theodore Roosevelt Based on this book I can see why he is often rated a top rate president The book starts at the assassination of President McKinley where Theodore, as McKinley’s vice president, was unexpectedly thrust into the country’s most important job Theodore justifiably became concerned about being an assassin’s automatic target as the nation’s leader His father’s hero Abraham Lincoln as well as President James Garfield (who was assassinated in Theodore’s lifetime) and now his immediate boss were slain by an assassin’s bullet So he increased the president’s security team I must say that if there was ever a person who wasqualified to be president, besides Washington, I could not name him He was classically educated by his wealthy father at an Ivy Leagues school and he had been to many countries including the most remote regions in the world He was a war hero, as well as an avid reader and successful author He had been a police commissioner and under secretary of the U.S Navy He was unable to be intimidated and he could empathize with the less fortunate.These skills would come to be tested almost immediately upon his accession into the presidency In 1902 Anthracite coal miners of North eastern Pennsylvania decided to go on strike due to poor pay and working conditions The strike threatened to freeze thousands of people, when winter struck, who depended on coal for heat Theodore met with Coal mine owner George Baer to find a solution and became infuriated with Baer’s pompous attitude So he handpicked a commission with equal representation of labor and management to determine an agreement What the miners wanted was a 20% pay raise and an eight hour workday What they received was a 10% pay raise and a nine hour work day It was viewed, however, by the public as a significant win for the working class and helped increase the new president’s popularity Also, in 1902 an attempt was made to control the country’s railroad system Some of the country’s wealthiest business men included James Hill, John Rockefeller and JP Morgan consolidated rail road companies under the name of The Northern Securities Company Amidst a great public outcry Roosevelt sued the large company under the Sherman Anti Trust Act In 1904, in a close decision, the Supreme Court ruled against Northern Securities and in support of President Roosevelt The Northern Securities Company was therefore dissolved And Roosevelt’s popularity amongst the general public swelled.In 1903 he became frustrated with Columbia’s delaying tactics regarding the building of the Panama Canal At the time Panama was an isthmus owned by Columbia So he supported a Panamanian separatist movement by sending warships to block the only Columbian military entrance route into Panama ensuring the separatists success The U.S quickly recognized the independent Panama and construction of the canal began shortly afterwards In 1905 Roosevelt mediated the ending of the RussoJapanese War with such satisfaction for both sides that he was given a Nobel Peace prize In 1906 he commissioned an investigation of the meat packing industry somewhat in response to Upton Sinclair’s book “The Jungle.” He sent two men that he trusted to do surprise inspections of the Chicago meat packing industry They reported back to him that the conditions of the plants were as bad as Sinclair’s book had stated Out of this report came two important consumer acts The Meat Inspection Act and the Pure Food Act.He authorized the building of 11 Navy battleships When he left office America had gone from a small Navy to the second largest in the world just behind England.He signed into the law the establishment ofthan twenty national parks and monuments He also appointed three Supreme Court justices and welcomed Oklahoma as the 46th state of the Union in 1907 He also negotiated with the Japanese government to control Japanese immigration into the Golden State At the same time, he protected the Japanese American community by banning JapaneseAmerican segregation in California schools.In addition to his accomplishments he was an excellent campaigner and a manipulator of the press garnering much positive press He was quoted as saying that he loved being the president And by all accounts he seemed to really enjoy every aspect that goes with being a politician He gracefully left the office in 1909 being fully confident that his preferred successor William Howard Taft would continue his progressive policies He left office as one of the most popular presidents to ever serve But with tons of energy and ambition he retired to private life planning his next adventure a great African safari hunt. Theodore Rex is the second volume of Edmund Morris’ trilogy on the life of Theodore Roosevelt While some might ask why a threevolume biography of Teddy is needed, it seems clear that this outsized life demanded it Roosevelt has been remembered as one of the most colorful American personalities who ever lived Of course, Roosevelt's biographers have stressed his personality; but there is so muchRoosevelt had a lifelong interest in pursuing what he called the strenuous life He lived life to its full The second volume covers the time of Roosevelt’s two terms as President (the first starting with McKinley’s assassination) While this may be the least exciting period of his life from the reader’s point of view, it should be pointed out that historians have credited Roosevelt with being the architect of the modern presidency, permanently placing the presidency at center stage and reshaping the office to meet the needs of the new century As a world leader, he boldly redefined America's place in the world.His accomplishments during his sevenplus years as President include trust busting and regulation, ending the anthracite coal strike, prosecuting corruption, establishment of the Interstate Commerce Commission, working toward safe food and drugs, conservation, building the Panama Canal, and resolving the RussoJapanese War He singlehandedly put the environment on the national agenda Historians typically rank Roosevelt among the top five presidents.Edmund Morris was an exceptional historian His first book, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, won the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Biography and the 1980 National Book Award for biography While Theodore Rex is very detailed, the book is light on analysis Morris argued that Roosevelt was so selfexplanatory as to preclude any authorial intrusion into the narrative In the end, Morris produced a brilliant book that captures Roosevelt’s many sides. Theodore Roosevelt – what a guy!!! A whirlwind A remarkable individual way, way, way ahead of his time I recommend reading this book to those of you interested in all the details of his presidency AND to those of you who like reading about exceptional human beings I cannot think of any other person at all similar You must of course start with the first book of the trilogy: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt This is the second, and I am off to read the third: Colonel Roosevelt I know they are long, but they are worth it.Should I list some of the remarkable things Theodore achieved during his presidency? Is that what you want to know? The Panama Canal, the Pennsylvanian coal strike settlement, negotiations to end the RussoJapanese War and the Moroccan Crisis of 1906 for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize, the National Conservation Conference and antitrust legislation, to name but a few By reading the book you will understand the magnitude of each accomplishment You will understand how he pulled off these accomplishments and why he chose to do what he did Who is Theodore Roosevelt? How did his mind tick? Was he brave? Was he moral? Was he impetuous? Yes, yes, yes! Did he make mistakes? Of course! Perhaps Brownsville was one Read and judge for yourself.Please read this book You will be astounded by the exuberance of this man, by his intelligence and his morals More than just discovering what he did you will discover how this man was under the surface He is complicated How could he be both a hunter and a conservationist? How did he balance might versus right, wealth versus labor’s demands? I cannot adequately explain how he looks on AfricanAmericans I’d have to write a book to explain this accurately, but that is not necessary since you have this book You end up understanding not only what he did but who he was Now, in the final book Theodore is off on a safari to Eastern Africa I will be accompanying him and his son Kermit What a guy! I don’t want to leave him I think this book isn’t quite as good as the first I wanted to knowabout his familial relationships, about his wife and children There is a bit, but not enough Maybe that is not the author’s fault There is little information Edith was reserved Letters were destroyed Privacy was kept Or maybe I will get this in the next volume? I know that the narration by Nathan Marosz really made it difficult at times to pay attention to the words being read His voice has a terrible singsong lilt He drew out in length the final words of a sentence Then he pauses; it sounds terribly condescending! In any case the narration is completely inappropriate for Theodore who is known to have bitten off his words, spitting them out in a sharp staccato manner Marosz mispronounces not only French, but German and even English words too As you follow the amusing lines of the author, you can hardly appreciate the humor, the narration is so distracting OK, Marosz did have me laughing, not at the author’s lines, but at the bizarre mispronunciations Wait till you hear how he says the words liqueur, and Steiff (the stuffed teddy bears) and Slav There was one French name that I was totally incapable of deciphering Thankfully, both the first and the third books of the trilogy use the narrator Mark Deakins, and he does a magnificent job Many times lines were read twice, but this, of course, is not the narrator’s fault I kind of think it was the narration that made it so impossible for me to really enjoy this book as I should have, but at times I did feel just a little bit bored My advice? If you cannot get the second volume narrated by Mark Deakins, read the paper book instead! You simply cannot hop over any of the books They should be read together. Ol' Teddy Roosevelt One of two Republicans that it is okay for liberals to like (the other is Abraham Lincoln of course Who did you think I was talking about? Rutherford B Hayes?)I've always liked this guy because of the snippets of history you hear about him: Speak softly and carry a big stick Big game hunter Conservationist Great public speaker Teddy Bear.I feel like I've grown up listening to his Greatest Hits and this is the first time I've actually sat down to listen to all of his albums, in context (Yeah, I don't know where I'm going with this metaphor either.)An interesting read To be sure, his foreign achievements seem quite impressive He personally negotiated several volatile situations in Central America and Japan that no modern day President would ever DREAM of attempting He rolled the dice big several times and won big, most notably in securing the Panama Canal However, I believe it was these successes during his presidency that led to his overconfidence (hubris?) that ultimately tarnished his legacy later in life, but that'll be covered in the next book.His biggest domestic policy contribution was is environmental conservation It is so funny that he was the first President to ever promote conservation and that if he did that in the modern day Republican party he would be crucified as a commieliberalpinko He shoved several pieces of conservation legislation and executive orders that had long ranging effects on our country Clearly he had a big impact with this, I mean, his face is carved into a mountain for crying out loud.The Teddy Roosevelt in this book is the one we remember but he had many miles to go before he slept This is all covered in the next volume, Colonel Roosevelt which I plan on reading ASAP.A decent read but too short and not enough detail for my taste In that regard, it reminded me of Truman by David McCullough After this book you'll know all of the facts but not necessarily know the man. In Morris’ second volume we are introduced to President Roosevelt He is a farseasoned and mature person than the TR described in the first volume While still given to outbursts and instantaneous action, he displays political astuteness and an ability to balance his impulsiveness with pragmatism No longer is TR the NY City Police Commissioner who walked the streets making sure cops were on their beats and who alienated so many New Yorkers by zealously enforcing the unpopular and widely disregarded Sunday alcohol laws Nor is he the Civil Service Commissioner who personally investigated cases of the pervasive corruption of the patronage system without regard for the political consequences he would bear His hardheaded sense of duty gives way to a nuanced rationality.The changed TR is captured by newspaperman Henry Herzberg in 1903, “Mr Roosevelt is bold and fearless yet timid and wary; he is ambitious and striving, but circumspect and cautious He is imperious in mind, but thoughtful and considerate in action.” By 1906 TR is playing the political game with a style easily recognized today As Morris points out, “Roosevelt’s by now compulsive habit of following every statement with a counterstatement (positives neutralizing negatives and on the other hand used as a kind if conjunction) muted the overall effect of his speech.” In foreign policy TR demonstrates a new deftness, forestalling the German and British impending attack on Venezuela and skillfully avoiding conflict with patient diplomacy This new TR is in stark contrast to the one who a few years earlier was a jingoist Assistant Secretary of the Navy salivating in anticipation of the Spanish American war While he resorts to forceful intimidation of Columbia to support the Panamanian revolution and secure the Canal Zone in 1903, in stark contrast he grants Cuba its independence in 1902 and settles the Philippine war with amnesty for all combatants His adroit handling of the RussoJapanese peace negotiations in 1905 wins him a Noble Peace Prize His restraint and mediation ability shine in 1906 when he avoids direct involvement in the Tangier crisis and convinces France to hold a peace conference with Germany at Algeciras to resolve a conflict which threatens war in Europe.In domestic policy TR is similarly adept He champions breaking up the giant trusts such as Standard Oil and the Northern Securities Company which controls major railroads He initiates a role for the federal government in regulating railroad rates He takes on Wall Street carefully never going so far as to permanently alienate this powerful Republican constituency, presenting the argument that if nothing is done, the common people will revolt and put Progressive Democrats in control He applies the same mediation skill to labor disputes that was effective in foreign disputes, most notably the 1902 anthracite coal miner’s strike that threatens a nation facing a winter without fuel His political polish is recognized Writes the Washington Post in 1906, “…that he haspolitical acumen in one lobe of his brain than the whole militant tribe of American politicians have in their combined intelligence; that his political perception, so acute as to amount almost to divination, is superior to that of any American statesman of the present or immediate past era.” As his presidency enters its last yearsandhe embraces the growing Progressive movement He wins passage of the Meat Inspection Act, Pure Food and Drug Act and Railroad Rate Regulation act in 1906 Perhaps his greatest legacy lies in his conservation efforts His establishment of the many national parks, national monuments and national forest reserves is based on a reverence for nature unique among Washington politicians His deep love of the wild means he values its salvation so much that he does not flinch in taking on the money interests dominating Washington bent on its destruction for quarterly profits.His 1907 Message to Congress proposes graduated inheritance and income taxes His 1908 Special Message to Congress directly attacks corporate greed, “The vast individual and corporate fortunes, the vast combinations of capital which have marked the development of our industrial system, create new conditions, and necessitate a change from the old attitude of the State and the Nation toward the rules regulating the acquisition and untrammeled business use of property.” Even famous muckraking author Upton Sinclair and Democratic Progressive leader William Jennings Bryan approve In the Message he pushes for and eventually gets meaningful employer liability and workman’s compensation laws He calls for extending the Interstate Commerce Commission’s authority to financial supervision of railroads Later he invites Bryan, someone in the past he had ridiculed, to a dinner at the White House and after a long conversation calls him, “a wonderful man” If TR had wanted a third term he could have easily had it with widespread support despite the strong reservations of Wall Street and the Old Guard.The foregoing are just a few highlights Morris covers much, muchTR is constantly challenged as he crafts new policies to cope with the rapid social, economic and technological change that is quickly transitioning the United States from an insular rural society to an industrial age world power TR meets the challenge, he not only grows into the job, he continues to grow with the job While Morris is an excellent writer, all the details can get a bit dry at times But if one is to truly understand the man and the period, they are all probably necessary And to understand American history it is important to understand this gifted man and what his remarkable ability to lead meant to America and its future. This, the middle book of a three book trilogy, is focused solely on Theodore Roosevelt's presidency The book is exellent Richly detailed in all that happened during his presidency The book capturesthan a presidency but also the man himself, his energy, his faults and his strengths Paired with the first book, this makes a wonderful duology However, if you are just looking to read about his presidency, this is book can just be read on its own. This is the second book in Edmund Morris' threebook series on Roosevelt, and while the first one won the Pulitzer Prize and gets all the accolades, I found this one to beenjoyable and considerablyfascinating You get to charge through the first decade of the 20th century right next to the most exciting president we've ever had Morris illuminates big events (Panamanian independence, war between Russia and Japan) while painting you a picture of what American life and government then was like (his explanation of how State of the Union addresses worked was incredible).Looking forward to book three.