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Extended Audio Sample The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt Audiobook, by Edmund Morris Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (9,685 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Edmund Morris Narrator: Mark Deakins Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2010 ISBN: 9780307750501
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Thirty years ago, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt won both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. A collector’s item in its original edition, it has never been out of print as a paperback. This classic book is now reissued in hardcover, along with Theodore Rex, to coincide with the publication of Colonel Roosevelt, the third and concluding volume of Edmund Morris’s definitive trilogy on the life of the twenty-sixth President.

Although Theodore Rex fully recounts TR’s years in the White House (1901–1909), The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt begins with a brilliant Prologue describing the President at the apex of his international prestige. That was on New Year’s Day, 1907, when TR, who had just won the Nobel Peace Prize, threw open the doors of the White House to the American people and shook 8,150 hands, more than any man before him. Morris re-creates the reception with such authentic detail that the reader gets almost as vivid an impression of TR as those who attended. One visitor remarked afterward, “You go to the White House, you shake hands with Roosevelt and hear him talk—and then you go home to wring the personality out of your clothes.”

The rest of this book tells the story of TR’s irresistible rise to power. (He himself compared his trajectory to that of a rocket.) It is, in effect, the biography of seven men—a naturalist, a writer, a lover, a hunter, a ranchman, a soldier, and a politician—who merged at age forty-two to become the youngest President in our history. Rarely has any public figure exercised such a charismatic hold on the popular imagination. Edith Wharton likened TR’s vitality to radium. H. G. Wells said that he was  “a very symbol of the creative will in man.” Walter Lippmann characterized him simply as our only “lovable” chief executive.

During the years 1858–1901, Theodore Roosevelt, the son of a wealthy Yankee father and a plantation-bred southern belle, transformed himself from a frail, asthmatic boy into a full-blooded man. Fresh out of Harvard, he simultaneously published a distinguished work of naval history and became the first-swinging leader of a Republican insurgency in the New York State Assembly. He had a youthful romance as lyrical—and tragic—as any in Victorian fiction. He chased thieves across the Badlands of North Dakota with a copy of Anna Karenina in one hand and a Winchester rifle in the other. Married to his childhood sweetheart in 1886, he became the country squire of Sagamore Hill on Long Island, a flamboyant civil service reformer in Washington, D.C., and a night-stalking police commissioner in New York City. As assistant secretary of the navy under President McKinley, he almost single-handedly brought about the Spanish-American War. After leading “Roosevelt’s Rough Riders” in the famous charge up San Juan Hill, Cuba, he returned home a military hero, and was rewarded with the governorship of New York. In what he called his “spare hours” he fathered six children and wrote fourteen books. By 1901, the man Senator Mark Hanna called “that damned cowboy” was vice president of the United States. Seven months later, an assassin’s bullet gave TR the national leadership he had always craved.

His is a story so prodigal in its variety, so surprising in its turns of fate, that previous biographers have treated it as a series of haphazard episodes. This book, the only full study of TR’s pre-presidential years, shows that he was an inevitable chief executive, and recognized as such in his early teens. His apparently random adventures were precipitated and linked by various aspects of his character, not least an overwhelming will. “It was as if he were subconsciously aware that he was a man of many selves,” the author writes, “and set about developing each one in turn, knowing that one day he would be President of all the people.”

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Quotes & Awards

  • Winner of the 1980 Pulitzer Prize for Biography/Autobiography
  • Winner of the 1980 National Book Award for Biography

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Fowie | 2/17/2014

    " I always had an inkling that Teddy was an amazing man, but after reading the biography I've realized he sets a great example in how to live your life in many aspects. I'm not saying he's perfect, but if you want an example of the benefits of hard work and persistence from childhood through adulthood, this is a great example. I loved the adventures he went on, and reading about his life. The political side was a little dry, and assumed that I knew more than I do about late 1800's politics. (If you don't know what Tammany Hall is, look it up, because you get no explanation from the book). All in all, an enjoyable read. This book only covers Theodore's rise to the Presidency, so I'm interested to read about the rest of his life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dan Trudeau | 2/14/2014

    " A book of this length, only covering TR's life up until the presidency, has potential to get lost in its details. That doesn't happen here, as Morris never lets the story lose its momentum. It doesn't hurt that TR is probably the most interesting, personality wise, of all our presidents. By the time he was President he'd already been a congressman, cowboy, colonel/war hero, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, and governor. My only gripe about this book is it kept me thinking about what I'd done with my life so far in comparison. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Randall Marsh | 2/9/2014

    " No better bio triology. Few better men. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Meghan | 2/5/2014

    " Really enjoying it - but put it down with 200 pages to go and haven't been able to pick it back up. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marvin Boswell | 2/4/2014

    " Very good book. The right amount of detail of his life and provided insight without adding too much of the author's interpretation. Just remember that this biography is time boxed to the years between when Teddy became an adult up to but not including the Presidency. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Garrett | 2/1/2014

    " To understand the Theodore Roosevelt as President, it is necessary to understand his life beforehand. From his early battles with illness to his frontier adventures, so much of TR's first 40 years shaped the man who became president in 1901. Morris excels at writing a biography that is detailed, yet thrilling. I look forward to reading Morris' other biographies of Roosevelt in the future. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Bonnie | 1/27/2014

    " This was a very interesting book and I enjoyed the history. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Zack | 1/16/2014

    " This is a great biography of Theodore Roosevelt. It's very well written and is easy to read. It covers his life from birth to the time that McKinley is assassinated. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patty | 1/14/2014

    " the man was force of nature, hyper, brilliant, sickly and devourer (is that a word) of life "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daryl Thompson | 12/2/2013

    " A very well written history of TR's youth. Enjoyed reading "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rich Hoffman | 11/10/2013

    " This is the defining book to understand this very complex president. This edition is part one of a three part series that took three decades to complete. It is a gift to humanity. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Maeve | 9/16/2013

    " I listened to this on audiobook and the narrator was amazing. Every time he read a quote from TR he did it in TR's voice which was great. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nadia | 1/14/2013

    " This is by far the best book I've read about Theodore R. VERY well written. I could not put it down...enjoyed all 900 pages! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jim Golden | 7/5/2012

    " Fantastic Book about our one and only President Theodore Roosevelt! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael Smith | 7/2/2012

    " great things can come from spunk. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steve | 5/25/2012

    " The first of the three biography series of Theodore Roosevelt. This tells of Theodore Roosevelt's childhood all throughout being commander of the Rough Riders who fought at the Battle of San Juan Hill during the Spanish American War. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Terry Earley | 4/1/2012

    " Roosevelt is always an interesting, larger than life character. Morris is a pro in covering his early life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ron | 10/13/2011

    " He is the most interesting man in the world. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrew | 9/3/2011

    " Morris is my second favorite biographer to Caro... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Candy | 8/19/2011

    " Very interesting history of Teddy before and up to the presidency. I plan to listen to Theodore Rex next. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andrew Klein | 6/12/2011

    " As good as the follow-up. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Robert | 6/6/2011

    " This book was so informative and yet so very entertaining. To say the least there are no men in politics like him today sadly. so many wonderful things to say about this book and the the wonderful way it was written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bruce | 5/3/2011

    " A fitting end to an excellent trilogy of our most intriguing president. Author of 40 books and innumerable articles and editorials. In his post presidential period he goes big game hunting in Africa and exploring in the Amazon. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lisa | 5/2/2011

    " I loved the first book on TR he wrote, fell asleep and gave up on book 2, so I'm starting this one HOPING it doesn't put me to sleep. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Brian | 4/27/2011

    " Like the "World's Most Interesting Man" ads, but real. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Merrill | 3/16/2011

    " Well written and what a guy! However, a little bloodthirsty in terms of hunting and warfare. He was a peacemaker, until there was a war. He well defines a renaissance man of his zestful knowledge of just about everything. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kaworu | 3/2/2011

    " Excellent conclusion to an excellent series about a very interesting figure. "

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About the Author
Author Edmund Morris

Edmund Morris grew up in Kenya where he developed a fascination with America in general and Theodore Roosevelt in particular. His life-long interest in the man led him to this full-scale study, four years in the making. Much of the manuscript was written in the library of the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site. Formerly a contributing editor of the New York Times, he lives inNew York.

About the Narrator

Mark Deakins is an actor whose television appearances include Head Case, Star Trek: Voyager, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. His film credits include Intervention, Star Trek: Insurrection, and The Devil’s Advocate. He recently wrote, directed, and produced the short film The Smith Interviews.