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Re: [tr-m] When Trumpets Call

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  • JW
    This will be the same time period in TR s life to be covered by Edmund Morris in his third and final volume of his trilogy. I wonder what the reception will be
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 5, 2005
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      This will be the same time period in TR's life to be covered by Edmund
      Morris in his third and final volume of his trilogy.

      I wonder what the reception will be to Morris' work aftere this one, which
      has garnered good reviews?


      J Weinstein
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "Linda Shookster" <mrmoose@...>
      To: <tr-m@...>
      Sent: Saturday, March 05, 2005 5:18 PM
      Subject: [Fwd: [tr-m] When Trumpets Call


      >
      > Has anyone read this book yet? Patricia O'Toole is taking on a most
      > fascinating period in our history: the 1912 election. Does her book do
      > justice to TR and this period?
      >
      > John Gable's review would be very much appreciated here! Ed, any
      > comments?
      >
      > Thanks, Linda
      >
      >
      >
      > -------- Original Message --------
      > Subject: [tr-m] A washingtonpost.com article from: erenehan@...
      > From: erenehan@...
      > Date: Sat, March 5, 2005 11:21 am
      > To: tr-m@yahoogroups.com
      >
      >
      > You have been sent this message from erenehan@... as a courtesy of
      > washingtonpost.com
      >
      > A Last, Rough Ride
      >
      > By Jonathan Yardley,
      >
      > WHEN TRUMPETS CALL
      >
      > Theodore Roosevelt After the White House
      >
      > By Patricia O'Toole
      >
      > Simon & Schuster. 494 pp. $30
      >
      > Theodore Roosevelt left the White House in 1909, eight years after
      > entering it following the assassination of President William McKinley.
      > In 1904 he promised that he would not seek two full terms, and as the
      > election of 1908 approached he found himself bound by that promise. So
      > he anointed William Howard Taft as his successor, engineered Taft's
      > nomination by the Republican Party and helped persuade the American
      > people to elect him.
      >
      > He got what he wanted, or what he said he wanted, but it didn't take
      > long before he realized that it wasn't what he wanted at all. Roosevelt
      > was a mere 50 years old, full of plans and vigor, restless and
      > ambitious, accustomed to holding and wielding power. He was, Patricia
      > O'Toole writes, "an artist of power." It was central to his existence:
      >
      > "The unabashed joy that TR took in power -- acquiring it, exercising
      > it, and contending against the powerful -- was as complex as any large
      > outcropping of the human psyche, but three layers of the bedrock
      > beneath the joy are particularly suggestive: he had enormous
      > self-confidence, a deep longing to be a hero, and an indomitable will.
      > The self-confidence was a gift from his cherishing parents. The
      > intense, almost sacred aspiration to heroism also started at home, with
      > the idolization of his father."
      >
      > As to the "indomitable will," O'Toole suggests -- and is scarcely the
      > first to do so -- that its roots lay in a "childhood humiliation" by
      > two bullies that inspired him to build himself up physically and
      > psychologically. In 1909, though, after years of meeting and overcoming
      > the challenges that elbowed their way into the Oval Office, he had to
      > go out looking for challenges on his own. So in company with his son
      > Kermit, he went to Africa on a year's safari, in the course of which he
      > killed an appalling number of wild animals, 512 in all, which Roosevelt
      > justified in the name of science -- the specimens were presented to the
      > Smithsonian, the American Museum of Natural History and the Bronx Zoo
      > -- but which O'Toole correctly says "has the unmistakable look of
      > slaughter."
      >
      > When he got back to the States, Roosevelt kept himself happy -- and in
      > the public eye -- with a speaking tour of his beloved West, in the
      > course of which he dropped not especially subtle hints that he might be
      > a candidate for the Republican nomination in 1912. Not only did he miss
      > the power he so loved to wield -- power that, he believed in all
      > sincerity, he exercised in the best interests of the American people --
      > but he quickly found himself disillusioned with Taft. The new president
      > was "indolent, irresolute, dependent, and undone by opposition and
      > criticism -- a dooming combination." Beyond that, Taft turned out to be
      > something less than a Roosevelt (i.e., progressive) Republican.
      >
      > As 1912 approached, the allure of the White House grew ever stronger.
      > In 1911 Hiram Johnson, the governor of California, received "one of
      > Roosevelt's last stout professions that he did not wish to run and one
      > of the first definite hints that he might." Citing to Johnson "the
      > progressive cause we have at heart," TR left little doubt that he alone
      > was capable of assuming its leadership, which is precisely what he
      > subsequently attempted to do. "For the passionate," O'Toole writes,
      > "believing is seeing, and once Roosevelt believed that the nomination
      > could be his, he could see no other acceptable course, no other
      > sensible candidate."
      >
      > The passion with which he pursued the nomination was so overheated that
      > rumors circulated about his drinking (he was in fact a very light
      > drinker) and his sanity. Indeed, as "the public wondered why Roosevelt
      > would humiliate his old friend [Taft], break his 1904 pledge not to run
      > again, . . . squander his prestige and risk his high standing in
      > history, 'crazy' and 'drunk' seemed plausible hypotheses." They were
      > hypotheses to which Roosevelt was utterly oblivious:
      >
      > "In 1912 Roosevelt believed, or thought he believed, that the United
      > States faced its gravest crisis since the Civil War. . . . No doubt
      > Roosevelt magnified the crisis to justify his involvement, but it is
      > also true that the election of 1912 was no ordinary election. It was a
      > moment of transfiguration in American politics, with the Democrats
      > fashioning themselves into the party of liberal ideals and the
      > Republicans pointing their craft toward the far shores of
      > conservatism."
      >
      > Roosevelt arrived at the Republican Convention in Chicago full of his
      > usual confidence and bluster, at least for public consumption. The
      > truth was, he "had no chance to win and had concluded as much before
      > the convention." Though TR had received large popular votes in a
      > handful of primaries, the conventions were still controlled by party
      > bosses, and Taft was the bosses' man. By the time Taft was awarded the
      > nomination, Roosevelt "had divorced himself from the Republican Party
      > and moved on," calling for a new party "that would appeal to
      > progressive-minded citizens, Democrats and Republicans alike, in every
      > section of the country."
      >
      > It was called just that: the Progressive Party, though it was commonly
      > known as the Bull Moose Party, in honor of the animal whose strength
      > and sinew Roosevelt liked to say he shared. He persuaded Hiram Johnson
      > to join the ticket and ran a vigorous campaign, but he was a "fading
      > star who would always draw an affectionate crowd but seemed just
      > outside the orbit of the times," whereas the Democratic nominee,
      > Woodrow Wilson, was the ingenue, the blank screen onto which the
      > public could project whatever it wished to see.
      >
      > In a four-man race -- Eugene Debs ran as the Socialist candidate --
      > Wilson won easily: 435 electoral votes to Roosevelt's 88 and Taft's
      > "paltry" eight. Those 88 votes were impressive for a third-party
      > candidate. The party itself limped along: "Progressives won fourteen
      > seats in the House of Representatives but failed to capture a single
      > seat in the Senate and took only one governorship." Though by now it is
      > no more than a vague, distant memory, its influence on the country was
      > large:
      >
      > "The people did not want a new party or Theodore Roosevelt, but they
      > did want the social and economic reforms he espoused in 1912, and their
      > demand for it had forced Woodrow Wilson into a quickmarch toward
      > liberalism. Between 1913 and 1916, he and the Democrats in Congress
      > instituted workmen's compensation, banned most child labor, and
      > expanded farmers' access to credit. They also created the Federal
      > Reserve Board, gave the United States a tariff commission, and replaced
      > the Sherman Act with a new antitrust law and the Federal Trade
      > Commission."
      >
      > For Roosevelt, the "rewards were defeat, blame, and a painful case of
      > envy, but the Progressive Party died triumphant." Roosevelt remained
      > on the public stage but in a greatly diminished role. He spoke out
      > boldly, and before almost anyone else, about the need for America to
      > arm itself as World War I threatened European stability and the safety
      > of American ships; he tried, with absolutely no success, for both the
      > Progressive and the Republican nominations in 1916. He died in 1919,
      > just 60 years old, loving as ever toward his family but saddened and
      > perhaps embittered by his post-presidential years.
      >
      > Patricia O'Toole tells the story of his last decade competently and
      > sometimes perceptively, but her prose is mostly lifeless and her
      > narrative gifts are limited. "When Trumpets Call" suffers greatly by
      > comparison with other recent work on Roosevelt: David McCullough's
      > "Mornings on Horseback" and the first two volumes of Edmund Morris's
      > biography. It is a useful examination of a neglected period in
      > Roosevelt's colorful life, but there's all too little color in it.
      >
      >
      >
      > Would you like to send this article to a friend? Go to
      > http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/admin/emailfriend?contentId=A2729-2005Mar2&sent=no&referrer=emailarticle
      >
      >
      >
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    • Edward J. Renehan Jr.
      Actually, O Toole s book has garnered mixed reviews. Publishers Weekly hated it and Jonathan Yardley at the Washington Post was unimpressed. Janet Maslin gave
      Message 2 of 3 , Mar 6, 2005
      • 0 Attachment
        Actually, O'Toole's book has garnered mixed reviews.
        Publishers Weekly hated it and Jonathan Yardley at the
        Washington Post was unimpressed. Janet Maslin gave it
        a good review in the Times and Jon Meacham in
        Newsweek. So the critical response in not unanimous
        one way or the other. So far as Edmund Morris's
        fortunes being tied to how O'Toole's book is received,
        that just is not the case. Keep in mind that Edmund's
        THE RISE OF THEODORE ROOSEVELT published nearly
        simultaneously with McCullough's MORNINGS ON
        HORSEBACK. Both books covered much the same ground and
        both books were bestsellers. Edmund's third TR-volume
        is still several years away. When it publishes, it
        will have the momentum of his two previous TR
        bestsellers. It will also have the advantage of
        Edmund's large reputation: a battleship compared to
        O'Toole's gunboat status. - EJR


        --- JW <jfw39@...> wrote:

        > This will be the same time period in TR's life to be
        > covered by Edmund
        > Morris in his third and final volume of his trilogy.
        >
        > I wonder what the reception will be to Morris' work
        > aftere this one, which
        > has garnered good reviews?
        >
        >
        > J Weinstein
        > ----- Original Message -----
        > From: "Linda Shookster" <mrmoose@...>
        > To: <tr-m@...>
        > Sent: Saturday, March 05, 2005 5:18 PM
        > Subject: [Fwd: [tr-m] When Trumpets Call
        >
        >
        > >
        > > Has anyone read this book yet? Patricia O'Toole
        > is taking on a most
        > > fascinating period in our history: the 1912
        > election. Does her book do
        > > justice to TR and this period?
        > >
        > > John Gable's review would be very much appreciated
        > here! Ed, any
        > > comments?
        > >
        > > Thanks, Linda
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > -------- Original Message --------
        > > Subject: [tr-m] A washingtonpost.com article from:
        > erenehan@...
        > > From: erenehan@...
        > > Date: Sat, March 5, 2005 11:21 am
        > > To: tr-m@yahoogroups.com
        > >
        > >
        > > You have been sent this message from
        > erenehan@... as a courtesy of
        > > washingtonpost.com
        > >
        > > A Last, Rough Ride
        > >
        > > By Jonathan Yardley,
        > >
        > > WHEN TRUMPETS CALL
        > >
        > > Theodore Roosevelt After the White House
        > >
        > > By Patricia O'Toole
        > >
        > > Simon & Schuster. 494 pp. $30
        > >
        > > Theodore Roosevelt left the White House in 1909,
        > eight years after
        > > entering it following the assassination of
        > President William McKinley.
        > > In 1904 he promised that he would not seek two
        > full terms, and as the
        > > election of 1908 approached he found himself bound
        > by that promise. So
        > > he anointed William Howard Taft as his successor,
        > engineered Taft's
        > > nomination by the Republican Party and helped
        > persuade the American
        > > people to elect him.
        > >
        > > He got what he wanted, or what he said he wanted,
        > but it didn't take
        > > long before he realized that it wasn't what he
        > wanted at all. Roosevelt
        > > was a mere 50 years old, full of plans and vigor,
        > restless and
        > > ambitious, accustomed to holding and wielding
        > power. He was, Patricia
        > > O'Toole writes, "an artist of power." It was
        > central to his existence:
        > >
        > > "The unabashed joy that TR took in power --
        > acquiring it, exercising
        > > it, and contending against the powerful -- was as
        > complex as any large
        > > outcropping of the human psyche, but three layers
        > of the bedrock
        > > beneath the joy are particularly suggestive: he
        > had enormous
        > > self-confidence, a deep longing to be a hero, and
        > an indomitable will.
        > > The self-confidence was a gift from his cherishing
        > parents. The
        > > intense, almost sacred aspiration to heroism also
        > started at home, with
        > > the idolization of his father."
        > >
        > > As to the "indomitable will," O'Toole suggests --
        > and is scarcely the
        > > first to do so -- that its roots lay in a
        > "childhood humiliation" by
        > > two bullies that inspired him to build himself up
        > physically and
        > > psychologically. In 1909, though, after years of
        > meeting and overcoming
        > > the challenges that elbowed their way into the
        > Oval Office, he had to
        > > go out looking for challenges on his own. So in
        > company with his son
        > > Kermit, he went to Africa on a year's safari, in
        > the course of which he
        > > killed an appalling number of wild animals, 512 in
        > all, which Roosevelt
        > > justified in the name of science -- the specimens
        > were presented to the
        > > Smithsonian, the American Museum of Natural
        > History and the Bronx Zoo
        > > -- but which O'Toole correctly says "has the
        > unmistakable look of
        > > slaughter."
        > >
        > > When he got back to the States, Roosevelt kept
        > himself happy -- and in
        > > the public eye -- with a speaking tour of his
        > beloved West, in the
        > > course of which he dropped not especially subtle
        > hints that he might be
        > > a candidate for the Republican nomination in 1912.
        > Not only did he miss
        > > the power he so loved to wield -- power that, he
        > believed in all
        > > sincerity, he exercised in the best interests of
        > the American people --
        > > but he quickly found himself disillusioned with
        > Taft. The new president
        > > was "indolent, irresolute, dependent, and undone
        > by opposition and
        > > criticism -- a dooming combination." Beyond that,
        > Taft turned out to be
        > > something less than a Roosevelt (i.e.,
        > progressive) Republican.
        > >
        > > As 1912 approached, the allure of the White House
        > grew ever stronger.
        > > In 1911 Hiram Johnson, the governor of California,
        > received "one of
        > > Roosevelt's last stout professions that he did not
        > wish to run and one
        > > of the first definite hints that he might." Citing
        > to Johnson "the
        > > progressive cause we have at heart," TR left
        > little doubt that he alone
        > > was capable of assuming its leadership, which is
        > precisely what he
        > > subsequently attempted to do. "For the
        > passionate," O'Toole writes,
        > > "believing is seeing, and once Roosevelt believed
        > that the nomination
        > > could be his, he could see no other acceptable
        > course, no other
        > > sensible candidate."
        > >
        > > The passion with which he pursued the nomination
        > was so overheated that
        > > rumors circulated about his drinking (he was in
        > fact a very light
        > > drinker) and his sanity. Indeed, as "the public
        > wondered why Roosevelt
        > > would humiliate his old friend [Taft], break his
        > 1904 pledge not to run
        > > again, . . . squander his prestige and risk his
        > high standing in
        > > history, 'crazy' and 'drunk' seemed plausible
        > hypotheses." They were
        > > hypotheses to which Roosevelt was utterly
        > oblivious:
        > >
        > > "In 1912 Roosevelt believed, or thought he
        > believed, that the United
        > > States faced its gravest crisis since the Civil
        > War. . . . No doubt
        > > Roosevelt magnified the crisis to justify his
        > involvement, but it is
        > > also true that the election of 1912 was no
        > ordinary election. It was a
        > > moment of transfiguration in American politics,
        > with the Democrats
        > > fashioning themselves into the party of liberal
        > ideals and the
        > > Republicans pointing their craft toward the far
        > shores of
        > > conservatism."
        > >
        > > Roosevelt arrived at the Republican Convention in
        > Chicago full of his
        > > usual confidence and bluster, at least for public
        > consumption. The
        > > truth was, he "had no chance to win and had
        > concluded as much before
        > > the convention." Though TR had received large
        > popular votes in a
        > > handful of primaries, the conventions were still
        > controlled by party
        > > bosses, and Taft was the bosses' man. By the time
        > Taft was awarded the
        > > nomination, Roosevelt "had divorced himself from
        > the Republican Party
        > > and moved on," calling for a new party "that would
        > appeal to
        > > progressive-minded citizens, Democrats and
        > Republicans alike, in every
        > > section of the country."
        > >
        > > It was called just that: the Progressive Party,
        > though it was commonly
        > > known as the Bull Moose Party, in honor of the
        > animal whose strength
        > > and sinew Roosevelt liked to say he shared. He
        > persuaded Hiram Johnson
        > > to join the ticket and ran a vigorous campaign,
        > but he was a "fading
        > > star who would always draw an affectionate crowd
        > but seemed just
        > > outside the orbit of the times," whereas the
        > Democratic nominee,
        > > Woodrow Wilson, was the ingenue, the blank screen
        > onto which the
        > > public could project whatever it wished to see.
        > >
        > > In a four-man race -- Eugene Debs ran as the
        > Socialist candidate --
        > > Wilson won easily: 435 electoral votes to
        > Roosevelt's 88 and Taft's
        > > "paltry" eight. Those 88 votes were impressive for
        > a third-party
        > > candidate. The party itself limped along:
        > "Progressives won fourteen
        > > seats in the House of Representatives but failed
        > to capture a single
        > > seat in the Senate and took only one
        > governorship." Though by now it is
        > > no more than a vague, distant memory, its
        > influence on the country was
        > > large:
        > >
        > > "The people did not want a new party or Theodore
        > Roosevelt, but they
        > > did want the social and economic reforms he
        > espoused in 1912, and their
        > > demand for it had forced Woodrow Wilson into a
        > quickmarch toward
        > > liberalism. Between 1913 and 1916, he and the
        > Democrats in Congress
        > > instituted workmen's compensation, banned most
        > child labor, and
        > > expanded farmers' access to credit. They also
        > created the Federal
        > > Reserve Board, gave the United States a tariff
        > commission, and replaced
        > > the Sherman Act with a new antitrust law and the
        > Federal Trade
        > > Commission."
        > >
        > > For Roosevelt, the "rewards were defeat, blame,
        > and a painful case of
        > > envy, but the Progressive Party died triumphant."
        > Roosevelt remained
        > > on the public stage but in a greatly diminished
        > role. He spoke out
        > > boldly, and before almost anyone else, about the
        > need for America to
        > > arm itself as World War I threatened European
        > stability and the safety
        > > of American ships; he tried, with absolutely no
        > success, for both the
        > > Progressive and the Republican nominations in
        > 1916. He died in 1919,
        > > just 60 years old, loving as ever toward his
        > family but saddened and
        > > perhaps embittered by his post-presidential years.
        > >
        > > Patricia O'Toole tells the story of his last
        > decade competently and
        > > sometimes perceptively, but her prose is mostly
        > lifeless and her
        > > narrative gifts are limited. "When Trumpets Call"
        > suffers greatly by
        > > comparison with other recent work on Roosevelt:
        > David McCullough's
        > > "Mornings on Horseback" and the first two volumes
        > of Edmund Morris's
        > > biography. It is a useful examination of a
        > neglected period in
        > > Roosevelt's colorful life, but there's all too
        > little color in it.
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > Would you like to send this article to a friend?
        > Go to
        > >
        >
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/admin/emailfriend?contentId=A2729-2005Mar2&sent=no&referrer=emailarticle
        > >
        > >
        > >
        > > Visit washingtonpost.com today for the latest in:
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        > > e-mail newsletters:
        > >
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        http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?node=admin/email&referrer=emailarticle
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        EDWARD J. RENEHAN JR.
        erenehan[at]yahoo.com

        The Theodore Roosevelt Association
        http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org

        USS Theodore Roosevelt
        http://www.spear.navy.mil/tr/




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      • JW
        I too was surprised by Meacham s views of the book, as other opinion that I respect, including yours, was not affirmative. By the way, I was les impressed with
        Message 3 of 3 , Mar 6, 2005
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          I too was surprised by Meacham's views of the book, as other opinion that I
          respect, including yours, was not affirmative.

          By the way, I was les impressed with Vol. II of Morris than I was with the
          first one, but the last four pages of so at the very end of Vol II was
          beyond lyrical and is as memorable as any historical writing seen in many,
          many years and places. Beautful conclusion!

          I am fairly certain that Morris will take a much broader, more dispassionate
          look at TR's post-presidential years.
          I see TR's post-Presidential years as largely making the template for so
          many later periods in his predecessors' lives -- - Nixon, Carter and Clinton
          come to mind, albeit each with individual variances of importance.


          J Weinstein
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "Edward J. Renehan Jr." <erenehan@...>
          To: <tr-m@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Sunday, March 06, 2005 11:51 AM
          Subject: Re: [tr-m] When Trumpets Call


          >
          > Actually, O'Toole's book has garnered mixed reviews.
          > Publishers Weekly hated it and Jonathan Yardley at the
          > Washington Post was unimpressed. Janet Maslin gave it
          > a good review in the Times and Jon Meacham in
          > Newsweek. So the critical response in not unanimous
          > one way or the other. So far as Edmund Morris's
          > fortunes being tied to how O'Toole's book is received,
          > that just is not the case. Keep in mind that Edmund's
          > THE RISE OF THEODORE ROOSEVELT published nearly
          > simultaneously with McCullough's MORNINGS ON
          > HORSEBACK. Both books covered much the same ground and
          > both books were bestsellers. Edmund's third TR-volume
          > is still several years away. When it publishes, it
          > will have the momentum of his two previous TR
          > bestsellers. It will also have the advantage of
          > Edmund's large reputation: a battleship compared to
          > O'Toole's gunboat status. - EJR
          >
          >
          > --- JW <jfw39@...> wrote:
          >
          >> This will be the same time period in TR's life to be
          >> covered by Edmund
          >> Morris in his third and final volume of his trilogy.
          >>
          >> I wonder what the reception will be to Morris' work
          >> aftere this one, which
          >> has garnered good reviews?
          >>
          >>
          >> J Weinstein
          >> ----- Original Message -----
          >> From: "Linda Shookster" <mrmoose@...>
          >> To: <tr-m@...>
          >> Sent: Saturday, March 05, 2005 5:18 PM
          >> Subject: [Fwd: [tr-m] When Trumpets Call
          >>
          >>
          >> >
          >> > Has anyone read this book yet? Patricia O'Toole
          >> is taking on a most
          >> > fascinating period in our history: the 1912
          >> election. Does her book do
          >> > justice to TR and this period?
          >> >
          >> > John Gable's review would be very much appreciated
          >> here! Ed, any
          >> > comments?
          >> >
          >> > Thanks, Linda
          >> >
          >> >
          >> >
          >> > -------- Original Message --------
          >> > Subject: [tr-m] A washingtonpost.com article from:
          >> erenehan@...
          >> > From: erenehan@...
          >> > Date: Sat, March 5, 2005 11:21 am
          >> > To: tr-m@yahoogroups.com
          >> >
          >> >
          >> > You have been sent this message from
          >> erenehan@... as a courtesy of
          >> > washingtonpost.com
          >> >
          >> > A Last, Rough Ride
          >> >
          >> > By Jonathan Yardley,
          >> >
          >> > WHEN TRUMPETS CALL
          >> >
          >> > Theodore Roosevelt After the White House
          >> >
          >> > By Patricia O'Toole
          >> >
          >> > Simon & Schuster. 494 pp. $30
          >> >
          >> > Theodore Roosevelt left the White House in 1909,
          >> eight years after
          >> > entering it following the assassination of
          >> President William McKinley.
          >> > In 1904 he promised that he would not seek two
          >> full terms, and as the
          >> > election of 1908 approached he found himself bound
          >> by that promise. So
          >> > he anointed William Howard Taft as his successor,
          >> engineered Taft's
          >> > nomination by the Republican Party and helped
          >> persuade the American
          >> > people to elect him.
          >> >
          >> > He got what he wanted, or what he said he wanted,
          >> but it didn't take
          >> > long before he realized that it wasn't what he
          >> wanted at all. Roosevelt
          >> > was a mere 50 years old, full of plans and vigor,
          >> restless and
          >> > ambitious, accustomed to holding and wielding
          >> power. He was, Patricia
          >> > O'Toole writes, "an artist of power." It was
          >> central to his existence:
          >> >
          >> > "The unabashed joy that TR took in power --
          >> acquiring it, exercising
          >> > it, and contending against the powerful -- was as
          >> complex as any large
          >> > outcropping of the human psyche, but three layers
          >> of the bedrock
          >> > beneath the joy are particularly suggestive: he
          >> had enormous
          >> > self-confidence, a deep longing to be a hero, and
          >> an indomitable will.
          >> > The self-confidence was a gift from his cherishing
          >> parents. The
          >> > intense, almost sacred aspiration to heroism also
          >> started at home, with
          >> > the idolization of his father."
          >> >
          >> > As to the "indomitable will," O'Toole suggests --
          >> and is scarcely the
          >> > first to do so -- that its roots lay in a
          >> "childhood humiliation" by
          >> > two bullies that inspired him to build himself up
          >> physically and
          >> > psychologically. In 1909, though, after years of
          >> meeting and overcoming
          >> > the challenges that elbowed their way into the
          >> Oval Office, he had to
          >> > go out looking for challenges on his own. So in
          >> company with his son
          >> > Kermit, he went to Africa on a year's safari, in
          >> the course of which he
          >> > killed an appalling number of wild animals, 512 in
          >> all, which Roosevelt
          >> > justified in the name of science -- the specimens
          >> were presented to the
          >> > Smithsonian, the American Museum of Natural
          >> History and the Bronx Zoo
          >> > -- but which O'Toole correctly says "has the
          >> unmistakable look of
          >> > slaughter."
          >> >
          >> > When he got back to the States, Roosevelt kept
          >> himself happy -- and in
          >> > the public eye -- with a speaking tour of his
          >> beloved West, in the
          >> > course of which he dropped not especially subtle
          >> hints that he might be
          >> > a candidate for the Republican nomination in 1912.
          >> Not only did he miss
          >> > the power he so loved to wield -- power that, he
          >> believed in all
          >> > sincerity, he exercised in the best interests of
          >> the American people --
          >> > but he quickly found himself disillusioned with
          >> Taft. The new president
          >> > was "indolent, irresolute, dependent, and undone
          >> by opposition and
          >> > criticism -- a dooming combination." Beyond that,
          >> Taft turned out to be
          >> > something less than a Roosevelt (i.e.,
          >> progressive) Republican.
          >> >
          >> > As 1912 approached, the allure of the White House
          >> grew ever stronger.
          >> > In 1911 Hiram Johnson, the governor of California,
          >> received "one of
          >> > Roosevelt's last stout professions that he did not
          >> wish to run and one
          >> > of the first definite hints that he might." Citing
          >> to Johnson "the
          >> > progressive cause we have at heart," TR left
          >> little doubt that he alone
          >> > was capable of assuming its leadership, which is
          >> precisely what he
          >> > subsequently attempted to do. "For the
          >> passionate," O'Toole writes,
          >> > "believing is seeing, and once Roosevelt believed
          >> that the nomination
          >> > could be his, he could see no other acceptable
          >> course, no other
          >> > sensible candidate."
          >> >
          >> > The passion with which he pursued the nomination
          >> was so overheated that
          >> > rumors circulated about his drinking (he was in
          >> fact a very light
          >> > drinker) and his sanity. Indeed, as "the public
          >> wondered why Roosevelt
          >> > would humiliate his old friend [Taft], break his
          >> 1904 pledge not to run
          >> > again, . . . squander his prestige and risk his
          >> high standing in
          >> > history, 'crazy' and 'drunk' seemed plausible
          >> hypotheses." They were
          >> > hypotheses to which Roosevelt was utterly
          >> oblivious:
          >> >
          >> > "In 1912 Roosevelt believed, or thought he
          >> believed, that the United
          >> > States faced its gravest crisis since the Civil
          >> War. . . . No doubt
          >> > Roosevelt magnified the crisis to justify his
          >> involvement, but it is
          >> > also true that the election of 1912 was no
          >> ordinary election. It was a
          >> > moment of transfiguration in American politics,
          >> with the Democrats
          >> > fashioning themselves into the party of liberal
          >> ideals and the
          >> > Republicans pointing their craft toward the far
          >> shores of
          >> > conservatism."
          >> >
          >> > Roosevelt arrived at the Republican Convention in
          >> Chicago full of his
          >> > usual confidence and bluster, at least for public
          >> consumption. The
          >> > truth was, he "had no chance to win and had
          >> concluded as much before
          >> > the convention." Though TR had received large
          >> popular votes in a
          >> > handful of primaries, the conventions were still
          >> controlled by party
          >> > bosses, and Taft was the bosses' man. By the time
          >> Taft was awarded the
          >> > nomination, Roosevelt "had divorced himself from
          >> the Republican Party
          >> > and moved on," calling for a new party "that would
          >> appeal to
          >> > progressive-minded citizens, Democrats and
          >> Republicans alike, in every
          >> > section of the country."
          >> >
          >> > It was called just that: the Progressive Party,
          >> though it was commonly
          >> > known as the Bull Moose Party, in honor of the
          >> animal whose strength
          >> > and sinew Roosevelt liked to say he shared. He
          >> persuaded Hiram Johnson
          >> > to join the ticket and ran a vigorous campaign,
          >> but he was a "fading
          >> > star who would always draw an affectionate crowd
          >> but seemed just
          >> > outside the orbit of the times," whereas the
          >> Democratic nominee,
          >> > Woodrow Wilson, was the ingenue, the blank screen
          >> onto which the
          >> > public could project whatever it wished to see.
          >> >
          >> > In a four-man race -- Eugene Debs ran as the
          >> Socialist candidate --
          >> > Wilson won easily: 435 electoral votes to
          >> Roosevelt's 88 and Taft's
          >> > "paltry" eight. Those 88 votes were impressive for
          >> a third-party
          >> > candidate. The party itself limped along:
          >> "Progressives won fourteen
          >> > seats in the House of Representatives but failed
          >> to capture a single
          >> > seat in the Senate and took only one
          >> governorship." Though by now it is
          >> > no more than a vague, distant memory, its
          >> influence on the country was
          >> > large:
          >> >
          >> > "The people did not want a new party or Theodore
          >> Roosevelt, but they
          >> > did want the social and economic reforms he
          >> espoused in 1912, and their
          >> > demand for it had forced Woodrow Wilson into a
          >> quickmarch toward
          >> > liberalism. Between 1913 and 1916, he and the
          >> Democrats in Congress
          >> > instituted workmen's compensation, banned most
          >> child labor, and
          >> > expanded farmers' access to credit. They also
          >> created the Federal
          >> > Reserve Board, gave the United States a tariff
          >> commission, and replaced
          >> > the Sherman Act with a new antitrust law and the
          >> Federal Trade
          >> > Commission."
          >> >
          >> > For Roosevelt, the "rewards were defeat, blame,
          >> and a painful case of
          >> > envy, but the Progressive Party died triumphant."
          >> Roosevelt remained
          >> > on the public stage but in a greatly diminished
          >> role. He spoke out
          >> > boldly, and before almost anyone else, about the
          >> need for America to
          >> > arm itself as World War I threatened European
          >> stability and the safety
          >> > of American ships; he tried, with absolutely no
          >> success, for both the
          >> > Progressive and the Republican nominations in
          >> 1916. He died in 1919,
          >> > just 60 years old, loving as ever toward his
          >> family but saddened and
          >> > perhaps embittered by his post-presidential years.
          >> >
          >> > Patricia O'Toole tells the story of his last
          >> decade competently and
          >> > sometimes perceptively, but her prose is mostly
          >> lifeless and her
          >> > narrative gifts are limited. "When Trumpets Call"
          >> suffers greatly by
          >> > comparison with other recent work on Roosevelt:
          >> David McCullough's
          >> > "Mornings on Horseback" and the first two volumes
          >> of Edmund Morris's
          >> > biography. It is a useful examination of a
          >> neglected period in
          >> > Roosevelt's colorful life, but there's all too
          >> little color in it.
          >> >
          >> >
          >> >
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          >
          > EDWARD J. RENEHAN JR.
          > erenehan[at]yahoo.com
          >
          > The Theodore Roosevelt Association
          > http://www.theodoreroosevelt.org
          >
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