Colonel Roosevelt: Theodore Roosevelt Goes to War, 1897-1898

H. Paul Jeffers, Author
H. Paul Jeffers, Author John Wiley & Sons $27.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-471-12678-2
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 03/01/1996
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The man who likened himself to a ""bull moose,"" says Jeffers in this sturdy second installment (after Commissioner Roosevelt, 1994) of his multivolume popular biography of the 26th president, intended to be elected chief executive in 1904. As it happened, the assassination of William McKinley carried Roosevelt into the White House in 1901. But if Roosevelt's schedule was off, Jeffers convincingly explains, his aim wasn't. Roosevelt emerged from the Spanish-American War with the White House right in his sights. Jeffers is most effective in describing Roosevelt's role in organizing and leading the Rough Riders, but he exaggerates his subject's role in the origin of the war that made this cavalry division famous. Relying heavily on Roosevelt's own accounts, he misses the fact that, as Secretary of the Navy, Roosevelt was widely regarded in the McKinley administration as a loose cannon, respected for his energy but not for his ideas. Still, this is a handsome narrative of a crucial period in the career of one of our country's most colorful politicians. (Apr.)
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