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The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for Americaby Douglas Brinkley
Synopses & Reviews
In 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.
One of the Best Books of the Year
The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Kansas City Star, The Chicago Tribune, and The St. Louis Post-Dispatch
In this monumental biography, acclaimed historian Douglas Brinkley examines the life and achievements of Theodore Roosevelt, our "naturalist president," and his tireless crusade for the American wilderness—a legacy now more important than ever.
Evaluates Theodore Roosevelt's role in launching modern conservationsim, identifying the contributions of such influences as James Audubon and John Muir while describing how Roosevelt's exposure to natural wonders in his early life shaped his environmental values.
Table of Contents
The education of a Darwinian naturalist — Animal rights and evolution — Of science, fish, and Robert B. Roosevelt — Harvard and the north woods of Maine — Midwest tramping and the conquering of the Matterhorn — Chasing buffalo in the Badlands and grizzlies in the Bighorns — Cradle of conservation: the Elkhorn Ranch of North Dakota — Wildlife protection business: Boone and Crockett Club meets the U.S. Biological Survey — Laying the groundwork with John Burroughs and Benjamin Harrison — The wilderness hunter in the electric age — The Bronx Zoo founder — The rough rider — Higher political perches — The advocate of the strenuous life — The conservationist president and the bully pulpit for forestry — The great Mississippi bear hunt and saving the Puerto Rican parrot — Crater Lake and Wind Cave National Parks — Paul Kroegel and the Feather Wars of Florida — Passports to the parks: Yellowstone, The Grand Canyon, and Yosemite — Beauty unmarred: winning the White House in 1904 — The Oklahoma Hills (or, where the buffalo president roams) — The national monuments of 1906 — The prehistoric sites of 1907 — Mighty birds: federal reservations of 1907-1908 — The preservationist revolution of 1908 — Dangerous antagonist: the last bold steps of 1909.
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