The Life of General Ted Roosevelt, Jr.
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Biography of Theodore Roosevelt’s first son, Ted Jr. (1887-1944), who made a greater soldier than politician.

Next to that of his father, the story of Ted Jr. makes fairly lackluster reading, although the eldest son was similarly athletic, enthusiastic, and brave. According to Brady (A Death in San Pietro: The Untold Story of Ernie Pyle, John Huston, and the Fight for Purple Heart Valley, 2013, etc.), the dean of the School of Aviation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Ted proved himself courageously on the battlefield in both world wars. However, he lost his hour in the political arena as a Republican (like his father) with the rises of his older cousin Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Democratic juggernaut. The author does not supply much of his own psychological dissection of Ted’s character, but he notes how the undersized youth with a “wayward” right eye and an early pugnacious behavior was clearly trying very hard to make his Rough Rider father proud. Roosevelt Sr. gently but firmly squelched his son’s desire to attend West Point—such was the president’s legendary ability to persuade and inspire awe—yet Brady hardly questions the young Harvard graduate’s decision to take a menial position in a carpet factory. Perhaps there was a stronger influence by his starchy, no-nonsense mother Edith than is indicated here. The breakout of war (both times) seemed to have saved Ted from obscurity, and his heroic actions in both wars gained him awards of valor. Moreover, Ted was instrumental in establishing the American Legion to honor all veterans (not just veterans of foreign wars) after WWI. Ultimately, as the author underscores, the rivalry between the Oyster Bay Roosevelts and the Hyde Park Roosevelts determined the political fate of Ted Jr.

A workmanlike biography of a relatively minor character in the vast Roosevelt saga.

Pub Date: Jan. 3rd, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-101-98815-2
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: New American Library
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1st, 2016


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