Review of “Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life” by Kathleen Dalton

My Journey Through the Best Presidential Biographies

One of the most recent comprehensive, single-volume biographies of TR is Kathleen Dalton’s 2002 “Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life.” Dalton is a history instructor at Phillips Academy at Andover and focuses on the Gilded Age and Progressive Era. She is currently working on “The White Lilies and the Iron Boot” about Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt.

Unlike most TR biographies, Dalton’s book neither embraces the notion of Roosevelt as a larger-than-life hero nor endlessly castigates him for his many faults. And in the book’s Introduction Dalton makes it clear she intends to avoid placing her subject on the pedestal built up by earlier historians (with the assistance of Roosevelt’s autobiographical exaggerations) in an effort to find the “real TR.”

But in the process of eschewing the trend toward hero-worship, Dalton leaves nearly every dramatic, colorful story of Roosevelt on the cutting room floor. TR’s life, of course, was one of extremes. And…

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About caseywheeler

My interests include: Model trains, Reading, Genealogy, New York Yankees and helping organizations be successful.
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