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Teddy Roosevelt: American Rough Rider Review by Andrea Jones

John Garraty
Flying Point Press
The Pilot House
Lewis Wharf
Boston, MA 02110

"I never knew anyone who got greater joy out of living, or anyone who more whole-heartedly performed every duty," claimed Theodore Roosevelt of his father. However, his observation of his father's life would also characterize his own. Targeting ages 10 to 15, Teddy Roosevelt: American Rough Rider explores the kind of real-life character that Flying Point Press attempts to introduce--bold and heroic characters such as Daniel Boone, Geronimo, Abraham Lincoln, Admiral Richard Byrd, and General George Patton.

After reading this informative biography through twice, I understand and appreciate so much more the hero Teddy Roosevelt. With chapter titles such as "Dakota Cowboy," "Reformer," "Rough Rider," and "Bull Moose," Garraty paints a picture of the varied life experiences that made such a colorful character. His extensive research provides many quotes from Roosevelt himself as well as from those who knew him best, giving credibility to the conclusions and opinions expressed.

While Roosevelt may have been small in stature, he was a giant when it came to integrity and ambition. One incident in particular stands out as an example of his unflinching character. In 1912, Roosevelt formed a third political party and ran for president. On his way to give a speech, a man shot him in the chest. Doctors tried to take him to a hospital but he refused, saying, "I will make this speech or die." He explained to the crowd listening to his speech, while holding a bloody handkerchief to his chest, "I have just been shot, but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose. . . . Don't waste any sympathy on me. I have had an A-1 time in life and I am having it now." Incredibly, he continued to speak for an hour before receiving treatment for his wound.

Roosevelt led an adventurous life as an explorer, warrior, politician, and diplomat. His story is inspiring, and Garraty tells it well. The double spaced pages made this biography very readable. A couple of helpful maps decorate the beginning pages, highlighting key places in Roosevelt's life. To round out the book, a few photographs are included followed by an index for easy reference.

I would recommend this biography for ages thirteen and up due to the complexity of some political topics. The depth and scope of the author's research make this a great biography--a fascinating book about a fascinating man.

Product review by Andrea Jones, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, January 2009