I read The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt last year (which won the Pulitzer in 1980), and Rex is part two in Morris’s biographical trilogy — Roosevelt’s presidential years. I’ve been increasingly interested in the role of the presidency, and finished Leadership in Turbulent Times earlier this year, which encompasses Lincoln, TR, FDR, and LBJ. Thus, I longed to return to TR’s years in office to see what else I could learn. Roosevelt was often accused of being erratic, but he was a complete flurry of both professional and personal activity, not to mention an avid conservationist. He battled corporations in the Second Industrial era of consolidation & “trusts”, and I see many similarities to the growing power of today’s corporate titans. Last century’s industrialists — Rockefeller, Carnegie & Morgan — aren’t all that different from today’s technologists — Bezos, Zuckerberg, etc. It takes me quite a bit of time to get through Morris’s books, so I’ll probably shelve part three for 2021. -- Jonathan
Theodore Rex is the story--never fully told before--of Theodore Roosevelt's two world-changing terms as President of the United States. A hundred years before the catastrophe of September 11, 2001, "TR" succeeded to power in the aftermath of an act of terrorism. Youngest of all our chief executives, he rallied a stricken nation with his superhuman energy, charm, and political skills. He proceeded to combat the problems of race and labor relations and trust control while making the Panama Canal possible and winning the Nobel Peace Prize. But his most historic achievement remains his creation of a national conservation policy, and his monument millions of acres of protected parks and forest. Theodore Rex ends with TR leaving office, still only fifty years old, his future reputation secure as one of our greatest presidents.
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