Edmund Morris’s Theodore Roosevelt Trilogy

President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt remains one of the most popular and influential politicians to ever hold the country’s highest office. While his life and political career are chronicled in countless books, Edmund Morris’s Theodore Roosevelt Trilogy, which includes “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt,” “Theodore Rex,” and “Colonel Roosevelt,” is the best.

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt
Random House Trade Paperbacks

Theodore Rex
Random House Trade Paperbacks

Colonel Theodore
Random House Trade Paperbacks

Serving from 1901 to 1909, Roosevelt is widely considered the first modern President and is credited with significantly expanding the power of the executive office. His accomplishments include prosecuting railroad monopolies under the Sherman Antitrust Act and enacting progressive reforms that protected the health and safety of workers and consumers. Most recently, his historic efforts to protect the country’s natural resources have received attention. Signed into law by Roosevelt in 1906, the Antiquities Act was the first federal regulation to protect the cultural and natural resources of the United States.

Through his trilogy, Morris captures the many facets of Roosevelt, who was not only a dynamic politician but also a writer, naturalist and soldier. The most famous (and comprehensive) of the three books is “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt.” It won the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography and the 1980 National Book Award in Biography. In its review, the New York Times wrote that it is “[o]ne of those rare works that is both definitive for the period it covers and fascinating to read for sheer entertainment.” The first in the trilogy, it was published in 2001 to mark the 100th anniversary of Theodore Roosevelt becoming president.

While they might not have received the same acclaim, the two other books are also “must reads” and essential to fully understanding President Roosevelt. “Theodore Rex” focuses exclusively on Roosevelts two terms in the Oval Office. “Youngest of all our chief executives, he rallied a stricken nation with his superhuman energy, charm, and political skills,” the inside flap states. “He proceeded to combat the problems of race and labor relations and trust control while making the Panama Canal possible and winning the Nobel Peace Prize. But his most historic achievement remains his creation of a national conservation policy, and his monument millions of acres of protected parks and forest.”

The last book, “Colonel Roosevelt,” chronicles the President’s life after he left office. Just 50 years old, Roosevelt did not fade quietly into the background, but continued to have adventures, both political and otherwise. As the publisher writes: “What other president has written forty books, hunted lions, founded a third political party, survived an assassin’s bullet, and explored an unknown river longer than the Rhine?”

Hardcover and Kindle versions of the trilogy are available via Amazon. The books may also be purchased separately.

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