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The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
Cover of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time
Described by the Chicago Tribune as "a classic," The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt stands as one of the greatest biographies of our time. The publication of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt on September 14th, 2001 marks the 100th anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt becoming president.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time
Described by the Chicago Tribune as "a classic," The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt stands as one of the greatest biographies of our time. The publication of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt on September 14th, 2001 marks the 100th anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt becoming president.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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  • From the book

    Chapter 1
    The Very Small Person


    Then King Olaf entered,
    Beautiful as morning,
    Like the sun at Easter
    Shone his happy face.


    On the late afternoon of 27 October 1858, a flurry of activity disturbed the genteel quietness of East Twentieth Street, New York City. Liveried servants flew out of the basement of No. 28, the Roosevelt brownstone, and hurried off in search of doctors, midwives, and stray members of the family-a difficult task, for it was now the fashionable visiting hour. Meanwhile Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt lay tossing in her satinwood bed, awaiting the arrival of her second child and first son.

    Gaslight was flaring on the cobbles by the time a doctor arrived. The child was born at a quarter to eight, emerging so easily that neither chloroform nor instruments were needed. "Consequently," reported his grandmother, "the dear little thing has no cuts nor bruises about it." Theodore Roosevelt, Junior, was "as sweet and pretty a young baby as I have ever seen."

    Mittie Roosevelt, inspecting her son the following morning, disagreed. She said, with Southern frankness, that he looked like a terrapin.

    Apart from these two contradictory images, there are no further visual descriptions of the newborn baby. He weighed eight and a half pounds, and was more than usually noisy. When he reappears in the family chronicles ten months later, he has acquired a milk-crust and a nickname, "Teedie." At eighteen months the milk-crust has gone, but the nickname has not. He is now "almost a little beauty."

    Scattered references in other letters indicate a bright, hyperactive infant. Yet already the first of a succession of congenital ailments was beginning to weaken him. Asthma crowded his lungs, depriving him of sleep. "One of my memories," the ex-President wrote in his Autobiography, "is of my father walking up and down the room with me in his arms at night when I was a very small person, and of sitting up in bed gasping, with my father and mother trying to help me." Even more nightmarish was the recollection of those same strong arms holding him, as the Roosevelt rig sped through darkened city streets, forcing a rush of air into the tiny lungs.

    Theodore Roosevelt, Senior, was no stranger to childhood suffering. Gifted himself with magnificent health and strength-"I never seem to get tired"-he overflowed with sympathy for the small, the weak, the lame, and the poor. Even in that age when a certain amount of charitable work was expected of well-born citizens, he was remarkable for his passionate efforts on behalf of the waifs of New York. He had what he called "a troublesome conscience."

    Every seventh day of his life was dedicated to teaching in mission schools, distributing tracts, and interviewing wayward children. Long after dark he would come home after dinner at some such institution as the Newsboys' Lodging-House, or Mrs. Sattery's Night School for Little Italians. One of his prime concerns, as a founder of the Children's Aid Society, was to send street urchins to work on farms in the West. His charity extended as far as sick kittens, which could be seen peeking from his pockets as he drove down Broadway.

    At the time of Teedie's birth, Theodore Senior was twenty-seven years old, a partner in the old importing firm of Roosevelt and Son, and already one of the most influential men in New York. Handsome, wealthy, and gregarious, he was at ease with millionaires and paupers, never showing a trace of snobbery, real or inverse, in his relations with either class. "I can see him now," remembered a society matron years later, "in full evening dress, serving a most generous supper to his newsboys in the...

About the Author-
  • Edmund Morris was born in Kenya and educated at the Prince of Wales School, Nairobi, and Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa. He worked as an advertising copywriter in London before emigrating to the United States in 1968. His biography The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award in 1980. In 1985 he was appointed Ronald Reagan's authorized biographer. He has written extensively on travel and the arts for such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times, Harper's, and The Washington Post. The second volume of his Roosevelt biography, Theodore Rex, has recently been published, and will be followed by a third. Edmund Morris lives in New York and Washington, D.C., with his wife and fellow biographer, Sylvia Jukes Morris.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine This new unabridged recording of Edmund Morris's classic history of TR's early years is a listening joy. Mark Deakins's rich, warm voice is clear and measured. His foreign pronunciations (in German, French, and Spanish) are careful. Overall, his narration supports Morris's empathetic biography of this most straightforward yet enigmatic of men. When delivering quotes, like most TR readers, Deakins has some difficulty deciding whether to give the great man the voice he deserves--deep and authoritative--or the voice he actually had--abrupt and squeaky. Morris's empathy and research continue to stand out after more than 30 years. Apparently, a movie of the book will be released in 2011. F.C. (c) AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine
  • AudioFile Magazine Keeping the same narrator who was used for Morris's THEODORE REX (the book describing Roosevelt's years as president) helps fans maintain continuity. TR was a complex and contradictory genius of a man not easily understood in today's more politically correct atmosphere. Reader Harry Chase helps this process by bringing out the compassion and "enthusiastic rambunctiousness" that mere words or photos can never quite get across. Theodore Roosevelt was a bellicose man who won a Nobel Peace Prize, a great nature conservationist who loved to hunt, a bull moose of a man who liked nothing better than to get down on his hands and knees to play with his children. All of this is brought adroitly alive by Chase's marvelous reading. In many ways more interesting and informative as to the makeup of this amazing man than even THEODORE REX, this Pulitzer Prize winner is a brilliant gem of captured history. D.G. (c) AudioFile 2003, Portland, Maine
  • The New York Times Book Review

    Praise for The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

    "Magnificent . . . one of those rare works that is both definitive for the period it covers and fascinating to read for sheer entertainment."

  • Time
    "A towering biography . . . a brilliant chronicle."
  • Los Angeles Times Book Review
    "Theodore Roosevelt, in this meticulously researched and beautifully written biography, has a claim on being the most interesting man ever to be President of this country."
  • The Atlantic Monthly
    "Spectacles glittering, teeth and temper flashing, high-pitched voice rasping and crackling, Roosevelt surges out of these pages with the force of a physical presence."
  • The Miami Herald
    "[Morris's] prose is elegant and at the same time hard and lucid, and his sense of narrative flow is nearly flawless. . . . The author re-creates a sense of the scene and an immediacy of the situation that any skilled writer should envy and the most jaded reader should find a joy."
  • The Christian Science Monitor
    "A monumental work in every sense of the word . . . a book of pulsating and well-written narrative."
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