Read When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt After the White House by Patricia O'Toole Free Online
Book Title: When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt After the White House|
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Reader ratings: 4.2
The author of the book: Patricia O'Toole
Edition: Simon Schuster
Date of issue: March 10th 2006
ISBN 13: 9780684864785
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 6.50 MB
City - Country: No data
Read full description of the books:
This is a really wonderful book: O'Toole captures the essence of Theodore Roosevelt in his final decade of life. This reads like fiction as there are so many different phases to the years that the book covers. Of course it helps that Roosevelt was such a larger-than-life figure, with no shortage of drama or controversy. O'Toole engages in some scene-setting at the beginning, just as Roosevelt is leaving the presidency, but otherwise follows a chronological trajectory straight through to the end. She is scrupulously fair to Roosevelt: neither fawning nor overly critical.
Most of the first quarter of the book revolves around Roosevelt's African safari. He then returns to the U.S., and cannot help himself from getting right back into the political fray - attacking his hand-picked successor and (former) friend, William Howard Taft. The pivotal election of 1912 and everything leading up to it consumes about one-third of the book, and for me this is the most interesting portion. Roosevelt and Taft drift further and further away from each other, but as O'Toole carefully points out, both are equally to blame. Roosevelt was unable to reconcile himself to being out of power, and Taft did not know (or want to know) how to use power. The dissolution of their friendship is sad to see, but at least they did meet in 1918 and patch things up.
The final quarter of the book is as much about Roosevelt's four sons and his son-in-law serving in WWI. Roosevelt was - with the exception of being a peacemaker for the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 - a warmonger and strong militarist. The potential for blood, combat, and death excited him. It was absolutely expected that his sons would serve in WWI and see combat. Unfortunately, his youngest son Quentin was killed in July 1918, and Roosevelt could not quite come to accept that he was not somewhat to blame by pushing his sons so strongly into this military mindset.
Roosevelt seemed to have a difficult time accepting reality. This was evident in the 1912 election when the Republican Party clearly did not want him as their nominee. He had no problem using the Progressive Party to launch a third-party bid for the presidency, only to want to quickly disassociate himself from it after his defeat. Even while he was in steady physical decline for the final two months of his life, he was planning to run for President in 1920, having somewhat reconciled with the Republican Party. I many respects, there is a sadness to the book, with his decline at the end, Quentin's death, and his failure to ever regain the presidency. A line from page 245 aptly sums up his final decade: "At bottom, Roosevelt had loathed Taft and now loathed Wilson because they were presidents and he was not." He willingly gave up that office, but then spent the rest of his life trying to get it back.
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