REVIEW: "The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America" by Douglas Brinkley

  • Posted on: 17 December 2011
  • By: TedG

Five of us met at The Ideal Market last night to discuss the physically largest book our group has read - The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America by Douglas Brinkley (Harper Perennial Press, 2010). It was an interesting and whole-hearted discussion given that only two of the five had finished the book. (The other three, myself included, vow to finish the book.)

Our ranking process for Interest and Readability yielded an average of 4.6 and 4.1 (out of 5), respectively. Despite not earning full 5s, we all agreed that the book is excellent and well worth reading. In fact, all five of us said we would read another of Brinkley's books with the qualifier that we would first look to see how long it is. The only other criticism was that there was not an epilogue. The book ends at the same time as Roosevelt's presidency. It would be nice to know what happened after that time, given that Roosevelt lived for nine years after leaving the White House.

One interesting point that came out of the discussion is that Adrian wrote to Brinkley to question Roosevelt's account of hunting "wolves" in Oklahoma. Based on details of size and other revelations, Adrian was convinced that Roosevelt was hunting coyotes and not wolves, invoking the latter to simply increase the grandiosity of the hunt. Roosevelt's personal disdain for "nature fakers," wrote Adrian, runs contrary to his own fakery in this regard. Brinkley replied, agreeing with him that Roosevelt had inflated the story and asked if Adrian would let Brinkley contact him as a "wolf expert" for a book he is currently writing.

Our group will meet on Friday, 13 January, to discuss Blue Blood by Edward Conlon.