To provide a brief biography of Theodore Roosevelt, it is necessary to encompass all major areas of his life: early childhood, young adulthood, early political career, presidency, and later years. Many historians have attempted to write a biography of Teddy Roosevelt that would fairly summarize his life, while staying true to his accomplishments. There are hundreds of Teddy Roosevelt biographies; some focus on a specific timeframe in his life, while others examine specific accomplishments, such as those during his political career.
Although it is nearly impossible to choose the ‘best’ Theodore Roosevelt biography, one very authoritative biography of Roosevelt is Theodore Roosevelt, A Life. Written by Nathan Miller and published in 1992, it was the first biography of the former president after 35 years of silence. At first somewhat ridiculed for attempting to, in one volume, do what many other biographies had failed to do (accurately summarize the life of a great president) Miller proved himself to be a talented scholar and writer. The book is just under 600 pages, but serves as a comprehensive examination of a complex, well-loved, greatly-admired man who forever shaped the landscape of America – figuratively and literally. The writing in this biography is engaging, humorous, fascinating, and very accurate. Somehow, Miller captured the essence of Teddy as a private family man, while still paying homage to his stellar political career.
Theodore Roosevelt, best known for his unwavering determination and optimism, began his life as a sickly child. Asthma and allergies forced him to remain indoors for many years, until he developed a regimented exercise program for himself and basically forced his body to become healthy. He spent his college days studying, reading, and writing. From his 20s to his 50s, he was renowned for political and governmental reform, dissolving unfair corporate trusts, and changing the way the world viewed America. But to Theodore Roosevelt, career should never eclipse family. Throughout his years of success in his careers (all of them), he never shirked his duty as husband and father. Decades after his death, there are numerous books about his dedication as a family man, including hundreds of letters he wrote to his children when they were separated from each other.
If someone were to ask the question ‘what is Theodore Roosevelt known for?’ the Theodore Roosevelt autobiography might be a good start to coming up with an answer. In his own words, Teddy regales the reader with stories of his youth, days as a young man, rise in politics, cowboy events, and extremely productive years in the White House. Published by MacMillan (New York) in 1913, this book of more than 600 pages is the perfect of example of no-holds-barred Teddy at his best. In his typical ‘no bull’ style, he tells it like it really is (from his point of view) and pulls no punches. He addresses his groundbreaking theories on conservation and natural resources, Progressivism, Big Stick Policy, the ‘strenuous life’ and the Square Deal. And he shares personal experiences and motivations, which effectively illustrate his determination to practice exactly what he preached (and to not preach much, at that). In many ways, the autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt is his ‘final say’ to the American people, leaving a positive lasting impression of a positively great man.