This engaging book is an example why political autobiographies rarely succeed. e.g. Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography stops where he begins to discuss politics, policies and persons. There is always slippage, the author confusing his own ego, ideas and proposals with the will of the people. It is seen every day on TV – politician XY or XX bellows that this, that or the next thing is what Americans want.
TR (Theodore Roosevelt) succeeds mostly because he writes well, he states his reasons and logic and he hits issues face on. During his Presidency, opponents labelled him a Socialist. He goes after this issue whilst complaining about persons like Debs, Haywood and others, on one hand, and also disclaiming persons like Harriman – not a good citizen. Whether the reader agrees with TR, he advances his ideas and his deeds. He takes on the Columbia-Panama-Canal issue vigorously. He somewhat solved the Anthracite Coal Strike by changing titles of members of a Presidential Commission.
The first half of this life is filled with intimate tidbits. Who knew TR admired Jane Austen, unlike his contemporary Mark Twain: “…it is too bad they let her die a natural death.” Which readers have seen eld used, hoary eld in the book; the right stuff apparently is a term of the nineteenth century. Before the big policy issues of the Presidency, TR writes intelligently and efficiently about a number of issues, including, New York City; ineffective men in politics; party patronage; newspaper editors; women’s rights; slum labor; pardoning the wealthy; reading by statemen (or people with power); unequal justice; sociological justice; etc.
There are reasons why Theodore Roosevelt is on Mt. Rushmore; some are found in this volume which I recommend. He looked to the future, not the past, as the salvation of the country, and he discussed issues clearly and intelligently. Any person committed to be a progressive or an activist would do well to read and use thoughts and ideas in this Autobiography: Why? Because everyone knew that Theodore Roosevelt was a plain, simple, outright Commie!