Sunday, June 27, 2010

Peggy Recommends: Becoming Teddy Roosevelt:How a Maine Guide Inspired America's 26th President

I've been a huge admirer of Theodore Roosevelt since reading Edmund Morris's Pulitzer prize-winning biography The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt. Andrew Vietze's new book Becoming Teddy Roosevelt is a gift to all TR fans as well as lovers of the state of Maine. In 1878, Teddy Roosevelt met William Sewall in Island Falls, Maine. Roosevelt's father had recently died and the 19 year-old TR was recovering from the death of the "best man I ever knew." William Sewall was a rugged, 33 year-old Mainer who would show TR the majestic beauty of Aroostook County, Maine's largest and most northern county. Sewall's outdoor tutelage helped turn TR from a thin, asthmatic undergraduate to a robust man of the woods and the ranch. The mutual affection, respect, and devotion between the two grew over the years and continued until Roosevelt's death in 1919. Roosevelt's passionate defense of the America's natural heritage produced 150 national forests, 5 national parks, 4 national games preserves, 18 national monuments (including the Grand Canyon). The unique and long-lasting relationship with William Sewall and the Maine woods in no small part contributed to TR's environmental passion. PM

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