The Magazine

TR in Brief

A quick introduction to the indomitable Roosevelt.

Mar 12, 2012, Vol. 17, No. 25 • By KEVIN R. KOSAR
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Gould’s thumbnail portrait well serves the casual reader, but his brevity can be befuddling. Roosevelt the man comes off as one-dimensional, a vainglorious dilettante, which he was not. We read about Roosevelt’s peacemaking in the Russo-Japanese War, which earned him a Nobel Peace Prize; but why those two nations fought goes unmentioned. We learn about the application of a new foreign policy doctrine to the Dominican Republic, but what that means is not explicated.

For a more substantial biography the reader might usefully turn to Gould’s 350-page The Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt, or, more usefully, to Edmund Morris’s 2,500-page trilogy, which comprises The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Rex, and Colonel Roosevelt. And which, in fact, I have read.

Kevin R. Kosar is the author, most recently, of Ronald Reagan and Education Policy.