Synopses & Reviews
Theodore Roosevelt is best remembered as Americas prototypical cowboy” presidenta Rough Rider who derived his political wisdom from a youth spent in the untamed American West. But while the great outdoors certainly shaped Roosevelts identity, historian Edward P. Kohn argues that it was his hometown of New York that made him the progressive president we celebrate today. During his early political career, Roosevelt took on local Republican factions and Tammany Hall Democrats alike, proving his commitment to reform at all costs. He combated the citys rampant corruption, and helped to guide New York through the perils of rabid urbanization and the challenges of accommodating an influx of immigrantsexperiences that would serve him well as president of the United States.
A riveting account of a man and a city on the brink of greatness, Heir to the Empire City reveals that Roosevelts true education took place not in the West but on the mean streets of nineteenth-century New York.
Kohn places Theodore Roosevelt's Rough Rider and cowboy image in theback seat as he delineates the making of the urbanite, progressive, city born and bred man who became our 26th President and a NobelPeace Prize winner. He locates the genesis of TR's love of nature in the backyards of New York, where he collected mice and frogs andpracticed taxidermy as a child. His early political career also began in New York, not the West, as he served as a New York StateAssembly representative for his uptown district, fought Tammany Hall, and honed his progressive agenda. The author cites the West asthe place where he recouped from loss and rejection, and built his cowboy image. In 11 chapters, Kohn elucidates the influence New Yorkhad on Teddy, as well as the influence Teddy had on New York. There is a bibliography.Annotation ©2014 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
"Theodore Roosevelt is often remembered as a cowboy and a man of the West who began his path to the White House while herding cattle on his Dakota ranch. The problem with this assessment, according to historian Kohn (Hot Time in the Old Town), is that it was created by Roosevelt himself and obscures the central facts of his life. Kohn argues that Roosevelt really learned the ropes of politics and leadership back East: 'New York City shaped Theodore Roosevelt, and Theodore Roosevelt helped to shape the city.' During his early years in local New York politics, he learned to balance the roles of loyal party man and progressive reformer, traits that would eventually put him on a path toward the White House. Kohn especially emphasizes Roosevelt's attempts to understand the plight of New York's poor: as police commissioner of New York, he ordered the free distribution of ice to the poor during a heat wave, a first, and walked the streets to see firsthand how the ice was used. Kohn provides a concise account of Roosevelt's early career and presents a convincing case that he should be remembered as a gentleman of the East, not a cowboy of the West. Agent: Michelle Tessler, Tessler Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Edward P. Kohn is Assistant Professor of American History and Chair of the American Culture and Literature Department at Bilkent University in Turkey. He earned his Ph.D. from McGill University. The author of Hot Time in the Old Town and This Kindred People, Kohn has been named a top young historian by History News Network.