, Edmund Morris
Of all our great Presidents, Theodore Roosevelt is the only one whose greatness increased out of office. When he toured Europe in 1910 as plain "Colonel Roosevelt," he was hailed as the most famous man in the world. Crowned heads vied to put him up in their palaces. "If I see another King," he joked, "I think I shall bite him."
Had TR won his historic "Bull Moose" campaign in 1912 (when he out-polled the sitting president, William Howard Taft), he might have averted World War I, so great was his international influence. Had he not died in 1919, at the early age of sixty, he would unquestionably have been elected to a third term in the White House and completed the work he began in 1901 of establishing the United States as a model democracy, militarily strong and socially just.
begins with a prologue recounting what TR called his "journey into the Pleistocene," a year long safari through East Africa, collecting specimens for the Smithsonian. Some readers will be repulsed by TR's blood-lust, which this book does not prettify. Yet there can be no denying that the Colonel passionately loved and understood every living thing that came his way. The text is rich in quotations from his marvelous nature writing.
Although TR intended to remain out of politics when he returned home in 1910, a fateful decision that spring drew him back into public life. By the end of the summer in his famous "New Nationalism" speech, he was the guiding spirit in the Progressive movement which inspired much of the social agenda of the future New Deal. (TR's fifth cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt acknowledged that debt, adding that the Colonel, "was the greatest man I ever knew.")
Then follows a detailed account of TR's reluctant yet almost successful campaign for the White House in 1912. But unlike other biographers, Edmund Morris does not treat TR mainly as a politician.
This volume gives as much consideration to TR's literary achievements and epic expedition to Brazil in 1913-1914 as to his fatherhood of six astonishingly different children, his spiritual and aesthetics beliefs, and his eager embrace of other cultures, from Arab and Magyar to German and American Indian. I was awed by the man's universality. The Colonel himself remarked, "I have enjoyed life as much as any nine men I knew."
There is so much more to tell of TR, I'm running out of space here. This book is a large one, 570 pages, plus notes (some of which the reader will want to refer to from time-to-time) bringing to 732 in all. I'm so glad I read this book to the last page. It's a fascinating one about a fascinating man, warts and all!
The Pioneer Woman
, Black Heels and Tractor Wheels, A Love Story, Ree Drummond
"I'll never forget that night. It was like a romance novel, an old Broadway musical and a John Wayne western rolled into one. Out for a quick drink with friends, I wasn't looking to meet anyone, let alone a tall rugged cowboy who lived on a cattle ranch miles away from my cultured, corporate hometown. But before I knew it, I'd been struck with a lightening bolt, and I was completely powerless to stop it.
Read along as I recount the rip-roaring details of my unlikely romance with a chaps-wearing cowboy. From the early days of our courtship (complete with cows, horses, prairie fire and passion) all the way through the first year of our marriage, which would be filled with more challenge and strife, and manure, than I ever could have expected.
"This isn't just my love story, it's a universal tale of passion, romance, and all encompassing love that swept us off our feet.
It's the story of a cowboy.
And the girl who fell in love with them."
Ree Drummond is the author of The Pioneer Woman Cooks, and has appeared on TV and featured in many current magazines. She lives on a working cattle ranch near Pawhuska, Oklahoma with her husband, Ladd, and their four children.
An easy read and highly entertaining!
, a novel, Robert Flynn
Wanderer Springs is a dying town of Northwest Texas, one of that string of dusty towns left to wither away when the highway from Fort Worth to Amarillo bypassed them. For travelers on that highway, the harsh and unforgiving countryside passes as no more than a blur. For Will Callaghan, that country and town of Wanderer Springs are carved into memory, indelible in their clarity.
Called home from San Antonio by a funeral, will begins a journey, both physical and imaginative, that crosses not only geographic and cultural boundaries but darts back and forth in time, mixing stories of the town's frontier past with episodes of Will's high school days. In sometimes hilarious and sometimes painful detail, Will relives the football game when he dropped the pass and lost the championship for Wanderer Springs forever, the time he got his gum stuck in his girlfriend's hair, the strangely distant but close relationship of a motherless boy and his taciturn father. Equally clear are the tales from the past, the Turrill Family's desperate wagon ride to find a doctor for their daughter, dying of appendicitis, or Lulu Byars who danced and danced in town, and caught pneumonia riding back to her dugout in a norther. Wanders Springs said she died of frivolity.
Through it all, the clear voice of Will Callaghan, a good old boy grown into an intellectual, gives meaning to the chaos, seeks sense out of the past, recognizes our inextricable link to the past.
Thanks Janis Bull, your telling me of this one --
From the Texas Bookshelves
See you at Rylander!