The Last Charge of the Rough Rider: Theodore Roosevelt’s Final Days

Lyons Pr. Jun. 2023. 348p. ISBN 9781493070909. $32. BIOG
Hazelgrove (Forging a President: How the West Created Teddy Roosevelt) captures the feelings of the aging Teddy Roosevelt in his final two years. Two months after his presidency ended in 1909, Roosevelt spent nearly a year on safari in East Africa, where he and one of his sons killed 512 animals. By 1912, Roosevelt was back in the U.S., where he competed for the presidency against William Howard Taft and Woodrow Wilson; Wilson won. When the United States entered World War I, Roosevelt petitioned Wilson to form a Rough Riders unit to ship to Europe. Afflicted by rheumatism, gout, septic infection, high blood pressure, obesity, pleurisy, an embolism, blood pathogens, a bad leg from an accident, and a bullet in his chest from an assassination attempt, Roosevelt was no longer the invincible warrior of 20 years before. But that was his body, not his heart, Hazelgrove tells readers. Congress authorized Wilson to grant Roosevelt his commission, but Wilson, who neither forgave nor forgot, never did. Later, as Roosevelt was dying in 1919, allies tried to enlist him for another run at the presidency. It’s hard to imagine two presidents with less in common than Roosevelt and Wilson. This time, Wilson had the upper hand.
VERDICT History buffs will find this book fascinating.
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