Kathleen Dalton's Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life incorporates the latest scholarship into a vigorous narrative. It stands as the only full-length biography to use manuscripts recently discovered in Roosevelt attics. Dalton sheds new light on young Theodore's life during the Civil War and his fascination with the new natural history, his shame over his father's failure to enlist in the Union army, his struggle to achieve manhood, and his desperate pursuit of and sometimes less than idyllic marriage to Alice Hathaway Lee, the daughter of a banking magnate, when she was seventeen. Her death four years later left Roosevelt a grieving widower and father at twenty-six, and he went west to make himself a cowboy and western writer before he could recommit himself to a new life and a new love in the East.
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"Dalton's biography of TR begins with the premise that his actions were all a response to his sickly childhood and that proving himself a man was his life's goal. To that end, the book is a great success. Roosevelt's commitment to political reform and conservation was ahead of its time and set a course for U.S. policy for the rest of the century. Narrator Suzanne Toren does an excellent job keeping this mammoth story moving. Her voice, easy to follow, has a straightforward, authoritative tone. She pauses effectively for quotes and allows us to digest points before moving on. The result is a satisfying story and, better yet, good history. R.I.G. (c) AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine"
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