Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris

81%

16 Critic Reviews

Roosevelt never fails to fascinate, and Morris provides a highly readable, strong finish to his decades-long marathon.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

This biography by Edmund Morris, the Pulitzer Prize– and National Book Award–winning author of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and Theodore Rex, marks the completion of a trilogy sure to stand as definitive. Of all our great presidents, Theodore Roosevelt is the only one whose greatness increased out of office. What other president has written forty books, hunted lions, founded a third political party, survived an assassin’s bullet, and explored an unknown river longer than the Rhine? Packed with more adventure, variety, drama, humor, and tragedy than a big novel, yet documented down to the smallest fact, this masterwork recounts the last decade of perhaps the most amazing life in American history.

 

About Edmund Morris

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Edmund Morris was born and educated in Kenya and went to college in South Africa. He worked as an advertising copywriter in London before immigrating to the United States in 1968. His first book, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, won the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award in 1980. Its sequel, Theodore Rex, won the Los Angeles Times Award for Biography in 2002. In between these two books, Morris became President Reagan's authorized biographer, and published the national bestseller Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan. More recently he has written Beethoven: The Universal Composer. Edmund Morris lives in New York City and Kent, Connecticut, with his wife and fellow biographer, Sylvia Jukes Morris.
 
Published November 23, 2010 by Random House. 785 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Colonel Roosevelt
All: 16 | Positive: 16 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Excellent
on Sep 22 2010

Roosevelt never fails to fascinate, and Morris provides a highly readable, strong finish to his decades-long marathon.

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NY Times

Good
Reviewed by Geoffrey C. Ward on Nov 26 2010

Morris has lost none of his narrative skill over the last 31 years. His new book is filled with vivid set pieces, from the train ride across the sunburned plains of East Africa with which it opens to the snowy graveside ceremony at Oyster Bay with which his story ends.

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NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Janet Maslin on Nov 17 2010

Now with “Colonel Roosevelt,” the magnum opus is complete. And it deserves to stand as the definitive study of its restless, mutable, ever-boyish, erudite and tirelessly energetic subject.

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AV Club

Good
Reviewed by Todd VanDerWerff on Jan 13 2011

There are other flaws in Colonel—Morris can never figure out how to best portray the fact that Roosevelt was fairly racist, even if he was less so than other men of his time—but the overall effect is a book that fills in all the telling private detail around one of America’s most outsized public lives.

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LA Times

Good
Reviewed by Nicholas Basbanes on Nov 21 2010

His extraordinary life, finally complete, is now fully accessible in these three seamless volumes. Morris' hand, it must be noted, has been sure and steady throughout...

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The Washington Post

Good
Reviewed by Fred Kaplan on Dec 30 2010

A moving, beautifully rendered account of Roosevelt's near death by assassination during the campaign of 1912 resonated for this reader with all the emotion of the assassinations of our recent history.

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Dallas News

Good
Reviewed by Philip Seib on Dec 12 2010

One of his contemporary biographers had called Roosevelt "the most interesting American." Morris' volumes bear that out, but Morris also makes clear that "interesting" does not equate with flawless.

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San Francisco Chronicle

Good
Reviewed by Bruce Watson on Dec 05 2010

But these are minor flaws in an otherwise sprawling and splendid account. While not recommended for the casual reader unfamiliar with Morris' previous volumes, "Colonel Roosevelt" is a worthy close to a trilogy sure to be regarded as one of the best studies not just of any president, but of any American.

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Open Letters Monthly

Above average
Reviewed by Jeffrey Eaton on Mar 07 2016

The matrix of factors that led to Roosevelt’s decision to run for a third term in 1912 was complex and it requires that Morris get deeply wonky...It is amazing that Morris can make this political wrangling as engaging as he does...

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The Seattle Times

Good
Reviewed by Kevin J. Hamilton on Dec 25 2010

Morris won the Pulitzer Prize for the first volume and critical acclaim for the second. Sequels are rarely the equal of their predecessors, but this hefty 570-page volume is the exception to prove the rule: It is a superbly written tribute...

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Oregon Live

Good
Reviewed by John Strawn on Dec 04 2010

Although inevitably uneven, given the jumbled quality of TR's last years, when he occupied no office and searched for an elusive all-consuming purpose that might compare, somehow, to the helmsman's role in Washington, "Colonel Roosevelt" is a book that nonetheless celebrates its subject even as it honors him by refusing to indulge in hero worship.

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Review (Barnes & Noble)

Above average
Reviewed by Richard Pious on Nov 23 2010

To brilliant effect Morrisuses each trip as a device to structure meaning in TR’s life...Colonel Roosevelt settles some scores with academic historians whopummeled Morris for his unorthodox narrative approach to his Reagan biography...

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Denver Post

Good
Reviewed by Julia Keller on Jan 09 2011

My favorite of the three remains "Theodore Rex," perhaps because its subject matter — Roosevelt in the White House — is so vigorous, featuring a man so obviously in his element: at the center of the action. "Colonel Roosevelt" is a record of a denouement.

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The Daily Beast

Above average
Reviewed by Michael Kazin on Nov 23 2010

Kathleen Dalton, in her one-volume biography, published in 2002, writes more cogently about TR as racial ideologist, progressive standard-bearer, and diplomat. But no one besides Morris has enrobed Roosevelt’s personality in such discerning prose, marrying a passion for his many gifts with enough of the distance required to understand...

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The New Yorker

Above average
Reviewed by AMY DAVIDSON on Dec 20 2010

This third volume of Morris’s biography covers only Roosevelt’s last ten, non-Presidential years, but it is full of what T.R. called “crowded hours,”...The last hundred and thirty pages are particularly riveting...

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The Truth About Guns

Good
Reviewed by William C. Montgomery on Dec 14 2010

The tome is 784 pages include about 150 pages of notes. If you, as I do, read the end notes, this is a very long, but satisfying, read. Colonel Roosevelt is a worthy conclusion to Morris’ epic history of “the most interesting American who ever lived.”

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Reader Rating for Colonel Roosevelt
91%

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