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Sportsman. Naturalist. Warrior. President. There are so many sides to Theodore Roosevelt that it is easy to overlook one of his most enduring contributions to American public life: the use of fame to fuel his political career. In this concisely written, enlightening book, presidential historian Lewis L. Gould goes beyond the "bully pulpit" stereotypes to reveal how Roosevelt used his celebrity to change American politics. Based on research gleaned from the personal papers of Roosevelt and his contemporaries,TheodoreRooseveltrecaptures its subject's bold activism and irrepressible, larger-than-life personality. Beginning with his privileged childhood in New York City, the narrative traces his election to the New York Assembly, where he quickly rose through the ranks of the Republican Party. It is here that he first applied his shrewd ability to keep himself in the spotlight--a skill that served him well as commander of a volunteer regiment (dubbed "Roosevelt's Rough Riders") in the Spanish-American War. Gould shows how Roosevelt rode a wave of popular acclaim at the war's end, assuming the governorship of New York and serving as president from 1901 to 1909. While covering his major accomplishments as chief executive, including his successes as a trust-buster, labor mediator, and conservationist, Gould explains how fame both sustained and limited Roosevelt when he ran for president in 1912 and opposed Woodrow Wilson's policies during World War I. Theodore Rooseveltdelivers the most insightful look yet at a pioneer of political theater--a man whose vigorous idealism as a champion of democracy serves as a counterpoint to the cynicism of today's political landscape. The book will coincide with the 100th anniversary of Roosevelt's third party run for the Progressive or Bull Moose Party.
Lewis L. Gould is Eugene C. Barker Centennial Professor Emeritus in American History at the University of Texas at Austin. His books include The Presidency of Theodore Roosevelt and The William Howard Taft Presidency.
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