Saturday, October 5, 2013

Theodore Rex

Bio writer Edmund Morris has a top-notch trilogy on Theodore Roosevelt: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Rex and Colonel Roosevelt. I've read all three on audiobook format and wanted to say that the centerpiece, Theodore Rex, which comprises Teddy's years in the White House is ironically the driest of the trio and wanted to give a warning. Unlike the other two, in which the charm of Roosevelt shines, this one emphasizes the political agenda to a higher degree which swamps the anecdotal. Up to a point, that's fine if that's the reader's interest or has to know the finer points of the policies followed during TR's tenure. But to me these felt like too much. Also, in the case of the unabridged audiobook version, the reader is a different person. The reader for the first and third books, Mark Deakins, is so good that you feel as if Teddy himself was speaking, specially when he imitates his quirks. In conclusion, T-Rex feels so different as to appear written by another author and that's no good. Go for the abridged edition.

Update 4/18/15: I'll backpedal a bit here. I'm rereading Theodore Rex and, if taken by itself, it is an enjoyable experience after all. The first sections in which Mr Morris, sets President Roosevelt's agenda is well-woven with the final trip of William McKinley and that the newly sworn-in to Washington covering the personal, political, international, domestic, economic and that of conservation in an attractive way. This echoes the profile of the big T at the start of the first book. The rest of the book is first-rate on the day-to-day proceedings and events and once it gets rolling has its own charm if taken on its own. Once more, the interweaving is to be noted for its seemingly effortlessness and the periodic appearances of the Roosevelt children always brings a smile. Even if its breaks the continuity, if you are planning of tackling the trio, start with this one first   Had to be fair.


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