In his fourteen-hour PBS special, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, Ken Burns highlights the extraordinary journey of the Roosevelt family’s American legacy in the White House. Beginning with Theodore’s birth in 1858 and ending with Eleanor’s death in 1962, the seven part film documents the influential family’s enormous part in shaping the country throughout the “years during which much of the modern world and the modern state was created.”
The narrator describes the fascinating dichotomy between the two Roosevelt presidents:
They belonged to different parties. They overcame different obstacles. They had different temperaments and styles of leadership. But it was the similarities and not the differences between the two that meant the most to history.
One of the major obstacles that FDR and First Lady Eleanor faced was the threat and eventual reality of World War II in 1939. In her Pulitzer Prize-Winning book No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: The Home Front in World War II, historian Doris Kearns Goodwin offers a fascinating look into Franklin and Eleanor’s personal lives, as well as their impacts on the nation and the world, both separately and as a unit.
Published by Simon and Schuster in 1994, this first edition work strings together the story lines of FDR and Eleanor’s powerful marriage, Eleanor’s experience as First Lady, and the details of FDR’s White House as it impacted the nation and the world.
Both who were children of privilege came to see themselves as champions of the working man and earned the undying enmity of many of those with among they’d grown to manhood. They shared a sense of stewardship of the American land, an untamed love for people and politics, and a firm belief that the United States has a firm role to play in the wider world. Both were hugely ambitious, impatient with the drab notion that the mere making of money should be enough to satisfy any man or nation, and each took unabashed delight in the great power of his office to do good. Each displayed unbounded optimism and self-confidence. Each refused to surrender to physical limitations that might’ve destroyed them. And each had an uncanny ability to rally men and women to his cause.
Arguably the most popular president to this day, Theodore Roosevelt cast a large shadow for FDR to live up to. It’s fitting that it took acclaimed American writer Edmund Morris an entire biographical trilogy to capture the legacy of the 26th president of the United States.
Published in 1979 by Coward, McCann & Geoghegan, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt won a Pulitzer Prize and the 1980 National Book Award in Biography. Our first edition covers Theodore’s life beginning with his birth and tapering off at the exciting time when he first rose to presidency.
Theodore Rex continues with the fascinating details of Teddy Roosevelt’s time in office, during which time he built the Panama Canal, became the first president to speak out on conservation, and won the 1906 Nobel Peace Prize for his negotiations that ended the Russo-Japanese War. In the book, which we have a first edition of, intimate details come out about Teddy’s story, including his opinions about the constitution’s role in government at the turn of the century, such as those so beautifully outlined in the PBS special:
He believed that the government of the United States had to be much more central, energetic and assertive than the constitution had envisioned it, or we could not go on as a nation.
In an artful storytelling of history, Morris completes the trilogy with Colonel Roosevelt, which tells the journey of Theodore’s life as his health staggered and led to his eventual death in 1919.