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on 6 June 2017
In 1912 Roosevelt told an audience which included members of the American Historical Association that without "very accurate, very real and vivid, presentation of the past" historical writing would degenerate into sterile jargon.
Mr Morris's biography of the Colonel meets Roosevelt's criteria. It reads like an exciting novel - but one where the reader knows the basic elements of the plot beforehand. And which of us does not re-read a great novel even though we know the story line?
I read the first two volumes years ago, but when I enquired about this third volume I was told it had not been published. How glad I was to find recently, after re-reading the other two that it was now available.
The whole series is surely one of the finest biographies ever written. Roosevelt was one of the most complex but inspiring of politicians, and Mr Morris lets us enjoy and wonder at his career.
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on 1 May 2017
very good condition
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"Colonel Roosevelt" is the conclusion of Edmund Morris' magnificent three volume biography of Theodore Roosevelt. Covering the post presidential years, it tells the story of the Man in the Arena "whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again...who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." For TR it was a time of great enthusiasm, great devotions, worthy causes, high achievement and failure while daring greatly.

Having retired from the pinnacle of power and popularity when he could have had a third and we will never know how many terms, TR was relegated to the role of a critic, not that of an actor, certainly a frustrating circumstance for him.

After leaving the White House in 1909, Roosevelt and his son, Kermit, launched the largest safari known to Equatorial Africa, a scientific expedition to gather specimens for Smithsonian Institution and for the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Upon returning to civilization he was met by disgruntled Progressives calling for his return to the political arena to restore the promise of the past. His return home through Europe was a triumphant tour reminiscent of that of General Grant almost forty years before.

He returned to an America that had, in the view of himself and his supporters, deviated from the course that he had set for it. Gradually becoming more vocal, he enunciated the Progressive Platform at Osawatomie, Kansas in August 1910. Heeding the pleas of his supporters, the Colonel entered the 1912 presidential race because "We stand at Armageddon, and we battle for the Lord." After being denied the Republican nomination by party bosses, Roosevelt took on the leadership of the Bull Moose Party, guiding it to a respectable, though disappointing, second place finish.

After this defeat, the Colonel joined Kermit in a recklessly dangerous exploration of the Brazilian River of Doubt, later renamed the Rio Roosevelt. During this "last chance to be a boy" TR almost died from disease and, but for the forbearance of Indians who followed the expedition, could have ended up being a meal for cannibals.

Upon his return to New York, Colonel Roosevelt again entered the arena, this time as a critic of the Wilson administration, particularly its foreign policy concerning the war that was then consuming Europe. Despite his increasing disgust with Wilson, he declined to consider a run in 1916. Sickened from malaria, blind in one eye from a boxing accident while in the White House, the Colonel begged to be allowed to rejoin the army for World War I, only to be rejected by President Wilson. TR was only able to participate in this war vicariously through his sons who all served and were wounded, Quentin fatally. From then on health and frustration led to a declining life until, while still planning a return to the White House in 1920, the Old Lion died in his sleep in 1919.

The story is bigger than life, a real world tragedy of a great heart who strove mightily but was not allowed to fulfill his destiny, a twentieth Century Leer who voluntarily gave up power only to see his world crumble while he is helpless to stop it.

The writing is a fair fit for the story. Edmund Morris' ability to tell a tale is a match for any author. I have now completed the trilogy and have enjoyed every moment, every word of it. TR would not have missed such an adventure and neither should you.
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on 12 February 2011
Theodore Roosevelt was the 26th American President and the youngest person to assume that office (JFK is the youngest to be voted into the position). Edmund Morris has written a three part biography of his life. The first book examines the 42 years till he assumed the Presidency. The second book looks at the 7.5 years he was in office. This book looks at the 10 years after he left the White House.

The series is an interesting group of books. You'll learn a lot about one of the four occupants of Mount Rushmore, and discover why he induced love (amongst his supporters) and loathing (amongst his opponents -and members of his own party) in this book in particular.

As I said, this book looks at the 10 years after he left the Presidency. Anyone who knows something about Teddy Roosevelt will probably know that he went on a safari, and then made an abortive run for the presidency 4years after he left office. Both those areas are covered in detail here.

What people probably won't realise is that he tried to live a positively heroic (and packed) life after leaving the Oval Office. When he wasn't discovering the origins of rivers in Brazil or shooting animals for the Smithsonian, he was an iconoclastic politician, journalist and author who was predicting the start of WWI (and the consequential need to re-arm) long before most other American politicians realised there was a problem. His iconoclasm split his party and might have cost it the Presidential Elections in 1912 and 1916.

Morris thoroughly covers all these aspects of a "man called Roosevelt" in the series. This book is as interesting as either of its' predecessors because you'll see what sort of man (and character) it takes to split a party and return to it later. You'll learn what he did, how he thought, why he behaved as he did in the later stages of this book, and understand the sort of man who was prepared to send all his sons to war.

In short read this book if you want to understand one of the great American leaders of the the 20th Century, and comprehend how a man can be both war hawk and social liberal at the same time.
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VINE VOICEon 18 February 2014
I reviewed very favourable the first two volumes - 'The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt' and 'Theodore Rex' - of Edmund Morris's biographical trilogy on the life and times of the 26th President of the United States. I reviewed them favourable because I thought that they were great works. I have been looking forward to reading the third and final volume, 'Colonel Roosevelt,' and it's just as the others are - great.

The paperback book itself contains 766 pages of which about 150 are devoted to source notes. This is proof in itself that Mr Morris has done a massive amount of research, much of it original and hitherto unpublished. Research is vital to success in biographies, no matter how well-known the subject of the biography. Hundreds of books have been written about the first President Roosevelt (a distant cousin of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the second one) and this trilogy must be the definitive study and it is, in my opinion, by far the best that I have read.

'Colonel Roosevelt' takes the reader through the subject's extraordinary adventures (some of them not for the squeamish) in Africa, his 'state visits' to many European nations and his failed attempt to regain the presidency as a Progressive in 1912. The campaign included a serious assassination attempt which 'Bull Moose' Roosevelt brushed off: he just carried on speaking. He succeeded then in humiliating his own Republican protégé, the fat and lazy William Howard Taft, and letting in another political enemy, the then less progressive Democrat, Woodrow Wilson.

Smarting from the 1912 election, the Colonel took off for a tour of South America which came close to killing him - again. He campaigned unsuccessfully for the Republicans in the 1916 election and against the over-intellectual and over-idealistic President Wilson subsequent to the election.

Despite illnesses stemming in part from his jungle trips, Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt was still considered a likely winner for the GOP in 1920. This was not to be for the Colonel died - of a broken heart (?) - at his home, Sagamore Hill, Cove Neck, New York, on the 6th of January, 1919, at the age of only 60.

I'm not an enthusiast for the Republican Party but Colonel Roosevelt, the progressive, was its most remarkable leader. He was truly progressive, well ahead of the thinking of his times. He was almost European in his outlook and his sophistication and, though an enthusiast for the Allies' cause in the so-called 'Great War,' he was also a lover of peace. There has not been a Republican like him since his sad passing. Subsequent GOP and Democrat leaders (including cousin FDR himself) appear as pygmies when measured in historical terms.

Edmund Morris's extraordinary and extraordinarily researched and well-written trilogy is an essential for any serious student of American politics and world affairs in the 20th century.

A footnote: I was probably mistaken in my suspicions regarding the relationship of Colonel Roosevelt and Major Archibald Willingham de Graffenreid Clarendon (Archie) Butt. The latter, quite possibly a 'gay,' left his former boss and close friend to become just as close to the fat and lazy Taft. Butt went down with the Titanic in 1912 and Taft was truly bereft - as was Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt.
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Coming to this end of the book I felt like I was bidding farewell to a cherished friend. Not just in reading of the death of Teddy Roosevelt (although that was bad enough and, I confess, I cried), but in parting ways with this man whose life I had spent two weeks and 2,500 pages exploring. And also coming to the end of possibly the best biography I have ever read.

This last volume covers TR's years after the Presidency - his literary exploits, his near-fatal adventures in South America, his somewhat-accidental creation of the Progressive Party and his unsuccessful campaign for a third term, his Cassandra-like battle to urge preparedness on the United States with the eruption of WW1, his desire to serve his country one last time and his pride in his four sons, all of whom served during the war.

Morris really succeeds in capturing the weariness of TR in his final years, the flagging of his legendary energy and vitality, the frustration of a man who had always had enough verve and life to force his body to do whatever he desired, a man confronted with old age and political impotence, who felt his usefulness had passed him by. I felt for Teddy in the book.
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on 26 January 2013
Deals with TDR's last years after his presidency - poignant to see the Colonel's decline in health and influence yet an essential read - it is not all doom and gloom the fire never quite went out and he certainly was a big personality to the end!
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on 17 May 2016
great read if you are interested in American/world history
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