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Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life.

DALTON, Kathleen. Theodore Roosevelt; a strenuous life. Random House, Vintage. 708p. illus, notes, bibliog, index, c2002.0-679-76733-9. $17.00. SA

Turn to page 241 in your American Heritage Dictionary and find the illustration for the word "caricature." There you will find Teddy Roosevelt, president, police commissioner, muscular Christian, reformer, trust-buster, Nobel Prize winner, political blunderer, big game hunter, conservationist, founder of the Progressive Party, foolhardy adventurer, a man who never really grew up. Or more correctly, a man who maintained for his entire life a youthful enthusiasm, a questioning intellect, a love of roughhousing with children, and a talent for blunt speech. Kathleen Dalton's balanced and exhaustively researched biography deserves the critical praise it received when first published. Reading this life story is just like living it with TR again. Dalton included the usual political facts, but fleshes out the story with many personal stories and excerpts from letters from family and friends. We are there when his first wife dies, when he faces money problems, when his beloved father passes away, when he wrestles with racism and women's suffrage, when he and his loved ones surfer various life-threatening illnesses. He was an imposing figure on the world scene. True, the record he left of his own life was sometimes selective. Dalton has balanced the record. The text is accompanied by photos, 148 pages of notes, a 27-page bibliography, and a thorough index. Janet Julian, Grafton, MA
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Author:Julian, Janet
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jul 1, 2004
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