Sunday, March 1, 2009

Just finished...

...reading Edmund Morris' 780 page biography, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. This is actually the second time I've read it. It's Volume 1 of a planned trilogy. I'm just beginning Volume 2, which I started and never finished years ago.

If any of you like biography, and especially biographies of great historical figures, you must read this book. Theodore Roosevelt is the most interesting man I have ever read about, hands down. Other than, possibly, Brigham Young and Joseph Smith.

A few facts about Theodore...
  • He was a fast and voracious reader with a keen memory: he read well over 20,000 books by the age of 42 and possibly doubled that over the next 18 years.
  • He founded the Boone & Crockett club - the oldest (and now one of the largest) hunting and conservation clubs in America.
  • He authored over 15 books.
  • Even though he was born into wealth and privilege in New York City, he entered politics young (becoming a New York state assemblyman at age 23), and against the will of his distinguished family, spent the next 30 years fighting for the rights of the working class citizens and making America a world power.
  • He was one of the first Americans to climb the Matterhorn (and did it on a whim while on his honeymoon).
  • Without any military training, he volunteered for the Spanish-American war in Cuba, became a Colonel in 3 months' time, and led the decisive charge up San Juan Hill with men dying all around him. He came home a hero and within 3 years was President of the United States.
  • He owned a cattle ranch in North Dakota and lost more than half of his inherited fortune in a devastating winter that killed thousands of head of cattle.
  • He spoke German, French, and some Spanish and Italian.
  • At age 42, he was the youngest U.S. President up to that time in history.
  • He once jumped off his horse into a pack of hounds, pushed them aside, and knifed a cougar to death.
  • He shot a charging grizzly bear just feet away.
  • He spent a week on the river tracking 3 bandits who had stolen his wooden boat from his Dakota ranchhouse. When he caught them. He walked them over 40 miles overland to the nearest town over two days time without sleep.
The stories go on and on. He was a larger than life figure whose life is well-documented; he almost seems unreal.

3 comments:

Bryan & Bobbie said...

I wish I had more time to read. I want to read more books. This is one of them.

Eric James and Kacie Jane said...

The last three items were actually done by Tchaikowski...

-Eric

Melody said...

This book sounds great. I am going to buy it for a late Father's Day present. I'm sure Paul will love it too.
Thanks for the recommendation.

I'm glad to know about your blog. :)