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The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America (Hardcover)

Product DescriptionIn this groundbreaking epic biography, Douglas Brinkley draws on never-before-published materials to examine the life and achievements of our "naturalist president." By setting aside more than 230 million acres of wild America for posterity between 1901 and 1909, Theodore Roosevelt made conservation a universal endeavor. This crusade for the American wilderness was perhaps the greatest U.S. presidential initiative between the Civil War and World War I. Roosevelt's most important legacies led to the creation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and passage of the Antiquities Act in 1906. His executive orders saved such treasures as Devils Tower, the Grand Canyon, and the Petrified Forest.

Tracing the role that nature played in Roosevelt's storied career, Brinkley brilliantly analyzes the influence that the works of John James Audubon and Charles Darwin had on the young man who would become our twenty-sixth president. With descriptive flair, the author illuminates Roosevelt's bird watching in the Adirondacks, wildlife obsession in Yellowstone, hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains, ranching in the Dakota Territory, hunting in the Big Horn Mountains, and outdoor romps through Idaho and Wyoming. He also profiles Roosevelt's incredible circle of naturalist friends, including the Catskills poet John Burroughs, Boone and Crockett Club cofounder George Bird Grinnell, forestry zealot Gifford Pinchot, buffalo breeder William Hornaday, Sierra Club founder John Muir, U.S. Biological Survey wizard C. Hart Merriam, Oregon Audubon Society founder William L. Finley, and pelican protector Paul Kroegel, among many others. He brings to life hilarious anecdotes of wild-pig hunting in Texas and badger saving in Kansas, wolf catching in Oklahoma and grouse flushing in Iowa. Even the story of the teddy bear gets its definitive treatment.

Destined to become a classic, this extraordinary and timeless biography offers a penetrating and colorful look at Roosevelt's naturalist achievements, a legacy now more important than ever. Raising a Paul Revere–like alarm about American wildlife in peril—including buffalo, manatees, antelope, egrets, and elk—Roosevelt saved entire species from probable extinction. As we face the problems of global warming, overpopulation, and sustainable land management, this imposing leader's stout resolution to protect our environment is an inspiration and a contemporary call to arms for us all.

About the AuthorDouglas Brinkley is a professor of history at Rice University and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. The Chicago Tribune has dubbed him "America's new past master." Six of his books have been selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year. His most recent book, The Great Deluge, won the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award. He lives in Texas with his wife and three children.

Warrior for the American Wilderness! Theodor Roosevelt., July 29, 2009
By Sandra Lancaster "my real name" (Las Vegas, NM)

I have never cared much for biographies, I typically read Journals for work, and fiction to relax. But my husband, who works in the Publishing industry said I had to read this book (he had acquired a pre-publication copy of the book). It sat by my night-stand for a couple weeks until I finally gave it a go. Well, all my free time for the next few days was lost to this fascinating book about President Theodor Roosevelt (The Naturalist President).

Before I started the book I knew Roosevelt was a supporter of the National Parks, and that he was a great outdoors man. What I did not realize was how original an idea the parks were at this time. How things could have turned out very differently and much of what has been preserved today could have been lost forever, and Roosevelt was a central character in this crusade for the American Wilderness. He was the right man at the right time!

The author takes on a tour of Roosevelt's adventures life illustrating the role the great outdoors had on the formation of the man's qualities. How the great naturalists of the time From Audubon, to Charles Darwin and John Muir influenced Roosevelt. The most engaging part of this book for me were the stories of Roosevelt's adventures in the natural world, He was at times a Rancher, hunter, fisherman, and above all conservationist. Roosevelt was probably responsible for saving many species from extinction (Buffalo, Antelope, elk, even Manatees). This makes for fascinating reading and gives great insight into the man and who he was.

The book is so well written, it is easy to read and flows smoothly. This is not a dry look into the past but a well written, colorful look at our Naturalist President. My husband is two for two now. He also got me to read the excellent "Across the High Lonesome," another book I thought I'd never like. He is going to get way to full of himself!