100 books like Theodore Roosevelt

By Kathleen Dalton,

Here are 100 books that Theodore Roosevelt fans have personally recommended if you like Theodore Roosevelt. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey

Benjamin Hruska Author Of Valor and Courage: The Story of the USS Block Island Escort Carriers in World War II

From my list on the human superpower of teamwork overcoming challenges.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been drawn to narratives where a group of individuals needs to collectively overcome a seemingly insurmountable challenge. And, as someone who loves reasonable outdoor challenges such as whitewater rafting trips, I love stories that combine the two. I have been lucky enough to partake in two private float trips of the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. With no internet, or electricity for 16 days at a time, a carefully crafted book list is key for any river descend. All these books at their core are narratives of individuals digging in deep, and cultivating that collective human superpower known as teamwork, to overcome challenges many thought could not be overcome.

Benjamin's book list on the human superpower of teamwork overcoming challenges

Benjamin Hruska Why did Benjamin love this book?

Even though shot at while participating in the Spanish-American War, and even shot in the chest by a would-be assassin while running for President decades later, the most dangerous adventure of Theodore Roosevelt took place in the jungles of Brazil after he was President.

Millard in this fantastic work seamlessly marries two complex topics. First being the personality of our 26th President whose varied accomplishments included writing over 30 books and being the first American to win the Nobel Peace Prize. The second is the ecosystems of the Amazon, which damn near killed Roosevelt on his descent down an uncharted tributary of the river. 

By Candice Millard,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked The River of Doubt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 1912, shortly after losing his bid to spend a third term as American President to Woodrow Wilson, Theodore Roosevelt with his son Kermit, a Brazilian guide and a band of camaradas set off deep into the Amazon jungle and a very uncertain fate. Although Roosevelt did eventually return from THE RIVER OF DOUBT, he and his companions faced treacherous cataracts as well as the dangerous indigenous population of the Amazon. He became severely ill on the journey, nearly dying in the jungle from a blood infection and malaria. A mere five years later Roosevelt did die of related issues.…

Book cover of Mornings on Horseback: The Story of an Extraordinary Family, a Vanished Way of Life and the Unique Child Who Became Theodore Roosevelt

Vladimir Alexandrov Author Of To Break Russia's Chains: Boris Savinkov and His Wars Against the Tsar and the Bolsheviks

From my list on grit transforms people’s lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

After more than thirty years of teaching Russian literature and culture at Yale and Harvard, and publishing numerous academic articles and monographs, I switched to writing historical biographies for a general audience. The catalyst was my discovery of Frederick Bruce Thomas, the remarkable son of former slaves in Mississippi who became a multimillionaire impresario in tsarist Moscow and the “Sultan of Jazz” in Constantinople. This resulted in The Black Russian, a widely praised biography that is now well on track to being made into a TV series. I am always drawn to stories of people whose grit makes them rebel against the limits that life seems to impose and allows them to achieve something transcendent.

Vladimir's book list on grit transforms people’s lives

Vladimir Alexandrov Why did Vladimir love this book?

It’s inspiring to read how a sickly boy became the larger-than-life figure who dominated turn of the century America. Although born into a famous and wealthy family, the young Theodore’s future seemed hopeless because of his repeated bouts with an illness that almost killed him. But through his own will, and with the inspiration and support of his remarkable family, he managed to overcome his ailment and grow into robust and productive manhood. McCullough’s discovery of a rich cache of family letters allowed him to create a fine-grained and moving narrative about how this exceptional man came to be.

By David McCullough,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Mornings on Horseback as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The National Book Award–winning biography that tells the story of how young Teddy Roosevelt transformed himself from a sickly boy into the vigorous man who would become a war hero and ultimately president of the United States, told by master historian David McCullough.

Mornings on Horseback is the brilliant biography of the young Theodore Roosevelt. Hailed as “a masterpiece” (John A. Gable, Newsday), it is the winner of the Los Angeles Times 1981 Book Prize for Biography and the National Book Award for Biography. Written by David McCullough, the author of Truman, this is the story of a remarkable little…

Book cover of The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt

Jere Van Dyk Author Of Captive: My Time as a Prisoner of the Taliban

From my list on courage, camaraderie, and survival in the face of danger.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Washington State. My father and my uncles fought in WWII; one was captured in Africa, and one was the first to fly over the Himalayas. My father wanted me to be a missionary, but I was drawn to the world. I became a runner and loved the camaraderie in track and field, but I was uncomfortable in college and didn't like my coach. I wanted to go far away. I began my career as an aide in the U.S. Senate but left and became a journalist in Afghanistan. Each of these books is a story of courage, camaraderie, and survival. I hope you enjoy them.

Jere's book list on courage, camaraderie, and survival in the face of danger

Jere Van Dyk Why did Jere love this book?

I loved learning that Theodore Roosevelt was the most beloved man in America when he was president. Is there any politician in recent memory we would call beloved?

I liked how he, as a young man, after losing his wife and his mother to illness on the same day, persevered. I liked that he, an aristocrat, went out West to be a man, where he stood his ground and punched a man in a bar, pursued and brought two outlaws to justice, and that as a politician, he kept speaking to a crowd after being shot by a gunman.

I didn't like that he all but started the Spanish-American war, but I liked that he rode with his back straight through gunfire in Cuba. Then I learned that he was ashamed of his father, who bought his way out of the Civil War. That was why, I thought, he had…

By Edmund Morris,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE AND THE NATIONAL BOOK AWARD • Selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 best nonfiction books of all time

“A towering biography . . . a brilliant chronicle.”—Time

This classic biography is the story of seven men—a naturalist, a writer, a lover, a hunter, a ranchman, a soldier, and a politician—who merged at age forty-two to become the youngest President in history.

The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt begins at the apex of his international prestige. That was on New Year’s Day, 1907, when TR, who had just won the Nobel Peace Prize,…

Book cover of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America

Nate Schweber Author Of This America of Ours: Bernard and Avis Devoto and the Forgotten Fight to Save the Wild

From my list on public lands and conservation.

Why am I passionate about this?

By lucky lottery of birth, Missoula, Montana, nestled between forested mountains and sliced through by trout-filled rivers, is where I was born and raised. Public land conservation came into my consciousness naturally as clean, pine-scented air. But when I moved to overcrowded New York City in 2001 to try a career in journalism, homesickness made me begin researching conservation. Why are there public lands in the West? What forces prompted their creation? Who wants public lands, and who opposes them? Can their history teach us about our present and our future? These books began answering my questions. 

Nate's book list on public lands and conservation

Nate Schweber Why did Nate love this book?

When historian Douglas Brinkley said he intended to write a trilogy of thick environmental books, comedian Jon Stewart quipped, "How many trees will you kill to do it?" But Brinkley's gift is no joke. He did our world a remarkable service by writing this encyclopedia of American conservation.

Despite profiling great presidents, a lesson I learned repeatedly from Brinkley is how much conservation history has been driven by everyday Americans caring about a part of the country and acting. 

By Douglas Brinkley,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Wilderness Warrior as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From New York Times bestselling historian Douglas Brinkley comes a sweeping historical narrative and eye-opening look at the pioneering environmental policies of President Theodore Roosevelt, avid bird-watcher, naturalist, and the founding father of America’s conservation movement.

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…

Book cover of Theodore Rex

Lindsay M. Chervinsky Author Of The Cabinet: George Washington and the Creation of an American Institution

From my list on American presidents who left their mark on history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by power and how people use it. From the time I was tiny, I’ve loved reading about how people left their fingerprint on history, and boy, do presidents leave their mark. Given these interests, it’s unsurprising that I’ve been my career this far examining how early presidents crafted the executive branch. The president’s oversized role in American life is also at the heart of my podcast work (I cohost The Past, The Promise, The Presidency with the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University. Each season we explore a different element of the presidency and its relationship to history). In my future scholarship, I plan to continue this exploration long after George Washington left office. Stay tuned for more, and in the meantime enjoy these great reads!

Lindsay's book list on American presidents who left their mark on history

Lindsay M. Chervinsky Why did Lindsay love this book?

Theodore Roosevelt is another presidential figure that has received a great deal of scholarly attention. I ultimately selected Theodore Rex for two reasons. First, it’s one of the few books that focuses solely on the presidency, meaning it offers an unrivaled, in-depth examination of his years in office. Second, it’s such a page-turner. I started reading a specific section to better understand one cabinet interaction and I found myself still reading many pages and many hours later without even realizing it. Morris fully captures TR’s oversized personality in an extraordinarily colorful way.

By Edmund Morris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Theodore Rex as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “A shining portrait of a presciently modern political genius maneuvering in a gilded age of wealth, optimism, excess and American global ascension.”—San Francisco Chronicle

WINNER OF THE LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE FOR BIOGRAPHY • “[Theodore Rex] is one of the great histories of the American presidency, worthy of being on a shelf alongside Henry Adams’s volumes on Jefferson and Madison.”—Times Literary Supplement

Theodore Rex is the story—never fully told before—of Theodore Roosevelt’s two world-changing terms as President of the United States. A hundred years before the catastrophe of September 11, 2001, “TR” succeeded to…

Book cover of Power and Responsibility: The Life and Times of Theodore Roosevelt

Laurence Jurdem Author Of The Rough Rider and the Professor: Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, and the Friendship That Changed American History

From my list on the lives of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian who focuses on the political history of the United States during the 20th century. My particular interest focuses on the history of the Republican Party & the American presidency. I am curious about how individuals acquire political power and their use of it. I was drawn to write a book about the friendship between Roosevelt and Lodge because of my fascination with the friendship among Eastern elites and how Lodge served as a mentor to Roosevelt in helping him achieve prominence in United States politics. Despite the many books on T.R. no one has ever written a narrative about his relationship with Lodge. 

Laurence's book list on the lives of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge

Laurence Jurdem Why did Laurence love this book?

Despite being written in 1961, Harbaugh’s work remains the best one-volume biography of Theodore Roosevelt.

I found the book extremely thorough and even handed. I also believe it is a great work to introduce those who have not read a book about Theodore Roosevelt before. Harbaugh, who taught at the University of Virginia for many years, explains the complex issues Roosevelt confronted with great clarity making this survey about the Rough Rider a great choice for anyone who is interested in learning about one of the most fascinating figures the United States has ever produced. 

By William Henry Harbaugh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Power and Responsibility as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Letters and the memoirs of Roosevelt and his contemporaries provide an in-depth portrait of the man, his political career, and his presidency. Bibliogs

Book cover of Alice: Alice Roosevelt Longworth, from White House Princess to Washington Power Broker

Jason Emerson Author Of Giant in the Shadows: The Life of Robert T. Lincoln

From my list on presidential children.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm an independent historian and journalist who has spent over 25 years studying Abraham Lincoln and his family. My fascination with the Great Emancipator began when I worked first as a student volunteer and then as a park ranger at the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois. As I writer who has always loved history, I decided I should start writing about history. I've authored or edited eight books (seven on Lincoln and his family) as well as numerous articles. My big break came when I discovered a cache of Mary Lincoln’s missing letters, written during her time in a sanitarium in 1875, which had been missing for nearly 100 years.

Jason's book list on presidential children

Jason Emerson Why did Jason love this book?

Many people may know the legend of Alice Roosevelt as the headstrong daughter of Teddy Roosevelt who flouted social conventions in the 1920s and made a lasting mark on Washington, D.C. in later life, but few people have actually read her biography. And anyone interested in the history of the presidency and American politics should. Alice Roosevelt Longworth was more than just America’s most memorable first daughter. She was a legend in her own time, loved and feared by the most powerful men in the capital, the doyenne of D.C. for eighty years (and known for her famous quip, “If you haven’t got have anything nice to say, come sit by me”). Her story is utterly incredible, and in her book Alice, historian Cordery offers a page-turning, compelling portrait of one of the most influential women in 20th century American politics.

By Stacy A. Cordery,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Alice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An entertaining and eye-opening biography of America's most memorable first daughter

From the moment Teddy Roosevelt's outrageous and charming teenage daughter strode into the White House-carrying a snake and dangling a cigarette-the outspoken Alice began to put her imprint on the whole of the twentieth-century political scene. Her barbed tongue was as infamous as her scandalous personal life, but whenever she talked, powerful people listened, and she reigned for eight decades as the social doyenne in a town where socializing was state business. Historian Stacy Cordery's unprecedented access to personal papers and family archives enlivens and informs this richly entertaining…

Book cover of Theodore Roosevelt's Letters to His Children

Lukas Klessig Author Of Words with My Father: A Bipolar Journey Through Turbulent Times

From my list on famous (and dead) figures with bipolar disorder.

Why am I passionate about this?

I do not have bipolar disorder like my father did and other relatives do, but have dealt with OCD, anxiety, and depression off and on from age thirteen forward. Throughout my (and my father's) mental illness journey and in the course of writing WWMF, countless hours have succumbed to the duties of researching and exploring bipolar and other mental illnesses. I am not a medical expert but I do think my compass and intentions point true on bringing light to these realities of life. If you disagree with my selections, commentary, or something you find askance in WWMF, please tell me! We all learn from discussion and dialogue.

Lukas' book list on famous (and dead) figures with bipolar disorder

Lukas Klessig Why did Lukas love this book?

Whether one can detect TR's likely bipolar condition from the vast array of moods and messaging in these deeply personal and candid letters remains subjective.  

What comes through as undebatable, however, is the level of tenderness, vulnerability, playfulness, and sentiment that our 26th President (who proudly accepted his Bull Moose and Rough Rider monikers) reveals here.

Though a handful of the editor's selections seem too esoteric, the remainder holds special appeal to me because my father's "letters/apologies to (his) grandchildren" informed the core of my book.

By Theodore Roosevelt, Joseph Bucklin Bishop (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Theodore Roosevelt's Letters to His Children as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This collection of letters from the 26th President of the United States to his six children was an immediate bestseller when it was originally published in 1919, shortly after Roosevelt's death. Written between 1898 and 1911, the letters show Roosevelt as a devoted and encouraging father, with a sense of humor and a skilled sketching hand.

Book cover of 1919

Stoney Compton Author Of Treadwell: A Novel of Alaska Territory

From my list on accurate immersion in a past time and place.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a child I read and experienced history books as adventures. Adventure drew me to Alaska after a hitch in the Navy. I wanted to write an accurate historical novel about Juneau and the Treadwell Mine and began my research. I knew the Alaska Historical Library was the perfect place to begin. When I discovered the extensive photo collections, I flashed back to my admiration of the historical novels that impressed me. I borrowed technique and structure from all and incorporated imagery in my manuscript. My main goal was to successfully immerse the reader in a good novel about 1915 in Alaska Territory.

Stoney's book list on accurate immersion in a past time and place

Stoney Compton Why did Stoney love this book?

I first read 1919 by Dos Passos when I was a teenager in the Navy. Having a yen for history since the age of eight, I was transported to an era where hopes and dreams have shattered or vanished. The author created the gritty and tawdry ambiance of characters as far out of their depth as was the reader.

We meet many limned characters with engaging flaws and hopes. The point-of-view shifts constantly and the narrative is spaced with advertising jingles from period radio programs and magazines to promote visualization.

The USA trilogy never left me. After pursuing art and making my living as a commercial artist for 15 years I turned to writing. I realized I wanted to create an immersive portrait of Juneau using similar tactics. I believe I succeeded.

By John Dos Passos,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked 1919 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“A Depression-era novel about American tumult has—perhaps unsurprisingly—aged quite well.”—The New Yorker

In 1919, the second volume of his U.S.A. trilogy, John Dos Passos continues his “vigorous and sweeping panorama of twentieth-century America” (Forum).

Employing a host of experimental devices that would inspire a whole new generation of writers to follow, Dos Passos captures the many textures, flavors, and background noises of the era with a cinematic touch and unparalleled nerve.1919 opens to find America and the world at war, and Dos Passos’s characters, many of whom we met in the first volume, are thrown into the snarl. We follow…

Book cover of The Smithsonian Book of Presidential Trivia

Rod Martinez Author Of Powerfully Perplexing Presidential Profiles

From my list on American history presidential fun fact trivia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been fascinated with American Presidents since I was ten and visited the Hall of Presidents attraction at Disney World years ago. That one visit opened my mind to American History and sealed my fate as a collector of American History facts. Later in life, I turned into an author of middle grade and young adult, but I knew I’d have to write a book on Presidential facts. I am glad to say that it was a well-received book in libraries and schools and I encourage young readers and hopeful writers in schools to consider writing as a passion and to teach others in the written word about that one thing they are into more than anything else. 

Rod's book list on American history presidential fun fact trivia

Rod Martinez Why did Rod love this book?

If you’re going to get facts on anything American, the Smithsonian should be the 1st place you go. Having visited the museum several times, there’s always a wealth of knowledge there, but also a fun place to be wowed at how much stuff they have pertaining to Americana and what brought us from then to now. 

By Smithsonian Institution,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Smithsonian Book of Presidential Trivia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Which president holds the record for the most vetoes? Which president had the largest shoe size? Who was the only president to serve in both World War I and World War II? Who was the tallest president? These questions and many, many more are answered in The Smithsonian Book of Presidential Trivia, which has been fully updated to 2021 to include trivia question and answers about every US president to date.

Divided into 11 chapters, The Smithsonian Book of Presidential Trivia looks at every aspect of our heads of state and presidential history: Citizens, Officers, Heroes, and Saviors; Stumping: From…

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