Theodore Roosevelt: Naturalist in the Arena

Edited by Char Miller and Clay Jenkinson. Univ. of Nebraska, $24.95 trade paper (258p) ISBN 978-1-4962-1314-3
In this revealing and sometimes critical view of the 26th president and his passion for the natural world, scholars Miller and Jenkinson assemble a thought-provoking work of environmental scholarship. Through essays by naturalists and historians and excerpted writings from Theodore Roosevelt’s contemporaries, including John Muir, and Roosevelt himself, the book explores the many facets of his conservationism. These include cofounding, with naturalist George Bird Grinnell, the Boone and Crockett Club for conservation-minded hunters, and, most prominently, designating the most amount of land out of any American president as national forest—150 million acres. The contributors also praise Roosevelt’s skill as an observer, displayed in writings such as A Book-Lover’s Holidays in the Open, which sought to transmit his enthusiasm for the wilderness to readers. Importantly, Miller and Jenkinson’s selections also acknowledge Roosevelt’s racial biases, which led him to enact conservation programs to the detriment of indigenous peoples, whom Roosevelt believed were “backward with no inherent right to land they had not yet learned to use properly.” This is a fine look at a complex man which brings attention to both his tragic demerits and valuable legacy. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/09/2020
Release date: 01/01/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
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