Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,
It's time for The Cephalopod Coffeehouse, hosted by The Armchair Squid.
The idea is simple: on the last Friday of each month, post about the best book you've finished over the past month while visiting other bloggers doing the same. In this way, we'll all have the opportunity to share our thoughts with other enthusiastic readers.
To join the blog hop or to see the list of other participants, please visit The Armchair Squid.
My choice for this month is the first of three volumes about Teddy Roosevelt by Edmund Morris: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt.
When the book was published in 1980, it won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. The Modern Library thence named it one of the top one hundred non-fiction books.
The work deserves these accolades. It is exquisitely written and, no doubt, the definitive Rooseveltian biography. I shall recognize Teddy Roosevelt the very second I see him in Heaven:
His ample mustache does not entirely conceal a large, pouting underlip, on the rare occasion when that lip is still. Mostly, however, the mustache gyrates about Roosevelt's most celebrated feature––his dazzling teeth. Virtually every published description of the President, including those of provincial reporters who can catch only a quick glimpse of him through the window of a campaign train, celebrates his dental display. Cartoonists across the land have sketched them into American folk-consciousness, so much so that envelopes ornamented only with teeth and spectacles are routinely delivered to the White House.
Although the book begins with a description of Roosevelt during his presidency, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt is appropriately titled. We learn about his poor health as a child; his worshipful love for his father; his Southern mother's loyalty to the Confederacy; his early love for hunting and taxidermy; his marriage to Alice Lee, whose death devastated him; his escape from grief as a cowboy in the wilds of the Dakotas; his writing career; and his early forays into political life.
Theodore Roosevelt was a man who––most of the time––felt absolutely certain of his decisions, yet he struggled with himself. He did not believe that a man should remarry. No matter that Alice Lee Roosevelt was deceased. She was his wife forever. He argues with himself, castigates himself, before he gives in to his desire to marry his second wife, Edith. T. R. held himself to a higher moral standard than most men.
The book is meticulously researched and presents the necessary bibliography and a plethora of notes.
I enjoyed learning the minute details of the President's early life. He was quite an unusual figure. During his presidency, he would wade naked into the stream in Rock Creek Park, followed by his cabinet, no matter how cold the weather. Now that I would like to see.
Favorite Young Man read this book before I did. He feels quite enthusiastic about The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, which earns The Janie Junebug Seal of Highest Approval.
Thank you, Mr. Squid, for hosting this bloghop. I enjoy learning about the books other bloggers are reading, and I look forward to reading Morris's next two books about Roosevelt: Theodore Rex and Colonel Roosevelt.
Infinities of love,
Janie Junebug, who will not leave the house on Black Friday