“Theodore Roosevelt: A Biography” is Henry Pringle’s Pulitzer Prize winning biography of the twenty-sixth president. Published in 1931, just twelve years after Roosevelt’s death, it was considered the definitive biography of Roosevelt for many years. Pringle was a journalist and biographer, and also authored a two-volume biography of William Howard Taft in 1939.
One thing is immediately obvious when reading this biography: the author is not one of Teddy Roosevelt’s most adoring fans. Rather than providing a fawning or worshipful review of Roosevelt’s life, this book sets an early tone that ranges between skeptical and critical.
Far from embracing Roosevelt’s large reputation, Pringle knocks TR off his pedestal, reminding the reader that every silver lining belongs to a cloud. Where his contemporaries remember a decisive leader, Pringle sees snap decisions; where history savors the Panama Canal, historic wilderness conservation and an early move against monopolies, Pringle focuses on his concomitant…
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