This is a book about politics and politicians; about elections, lawmaking, governing, and how they work. It is also about power, its increasing concentration in American society, and its implications at home and abroad especially for those who exercise it. It is a book about the Republican Party during the period in which it developed the forces and frictions which still characterize it today. Finally, it is a book about a remarkably successful and vibrant man who contained within himself much of the best and the worst of his environment, who contributed generously to American life, who knew in his time disappointment, temptation, and pain, but also glory; a man remembered most by his intimates for the “fun of him.”
The author is in an enviable position to assess these matters. During five years as Associate Editor of The Letters of Theodore Roosevelt, he read and studied all TR’s letters as well as all his published works, and delved deeply into the relevant literature of the period, including the vast material in the Congressional Record. From this rich store, John Morton Blum has drawn a new interpretation of Roosevelt the conservative, Roosevelt the professional Republican politician and Roosevelt the leader of men. He presents new material on Roosevelt’s work as the manager of the Republican Party and as manager of Congress. He relates Roosevelt’s roles in these situations to his conduct of foreign policy—a foreign policy so anticipatory of that of contemporary America—and to his Progressiveness—a doctrine of government with strong affinities to both the New Deal and the New Crusade.