Thursday, April 1, 2010

22. Mornings on Horseback

The Story of an Extraordinary Family, and the Unique Child who Became Theodore Roosevelt

By:David McCullough
Rated 4.5


I didn't know much about Theodore Roosevelt but was inclined to admire him because of his love of natural history and his foresight in establishing the National Parks system and thereby saving a lot of beautiful places from developers.  Now after listening to this bio I think he was an upright, moral person, very much a product of his upbringing by an upper class NY family. The Civil war was a defining event during his childhood. His Father was an attorney who worked with the family firm, an abolitionist and social reformer. His Mother, a daughter of slave owning Georgia plantation owners and a Southern sympathizer. In spite of that his family a loving one. Oh, and Theodore suffered from asthma as a child and became something of a physical fitness nut in an effort to overcome this. I admire him and found the bio very interesting.

Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 1982 National Book Award for Biography, Mornings on Horseback is the brilliant biography of the young Theodore Roosevelt. Hailed as a masterpiece, it is the story of a remarkable little boy, seriously handicapped by recurrent and nearly fatal attacks of asthma, and his struggle to manhood.His father, the first Theodore Roosevelt, "Greatheart", is a figure of unbounded energy, enormously attractive and selfless, a god in the eyes of his small, frail namesake. His mother, Mittie Bulloch Roosevelt, is a Southerner and celebrated beauty. Mornings on Horseback spans 17 years, from 1869 when little "Teedie" is 10, to 1886 when he returns from the West a "real life cowboy" to pick up the pieces of a shattered life and begin anew, a grown man, whole in body and spirit. This is a tale about family love and family loyalty; about courtship, childbirth and death, fathers and sons; about gutter politics and the tumultuous Republican Convention of 1884; about grizzly bears, grief and courage, and "blessed" mornings on horseback at Oyster Bay or beneath the limitless skies of the Badlands.