The best Teddy Roosevelt books (Theodore Roosevelt) 📚

Browse the best books on Teddy Roosevelt as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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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

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

By David McCullough

Why 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.

From the list:

The best biographies that show how grit transforms people’s lives

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Book cover of Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life

Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life

By Kathleen Dalton

Why this book?

This is easily the best single-volume account of Roosevelt’s life. Dalton writes with an understated verve and an attention to detail that will pull along even biography-averse readers. While Morris’s trilogy is still the definitive account, Dalton’s is more persuasive, as she is more willing to cast a skeptical eye on Roosevelt’s excesses and shortcomings.

From the list:

The best books on the life and times of Theodore Roosevelt

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

The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America

By Douglas Brinkley

Why this book?

Here, Brinkley manages to write both a conventional biography of Roosevelt and a study of his impact on America’s natural heritage. In doing so he casts light on stories and evidence that most other biographers have overlooked. And it doesn’t help that Brinkley’s angle shows Roosevelt at his most exciting, climbing the Alps, trekking through the West, and exploring the Amazon.

From the list:

The best books on the life and times of Theodore Roosevelt

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Book cover of Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt: The Complete History of Presidential Drinking

Mint Juleps with Teddy Roosevelt: The Complete History of Presidential Drinking

By Mark Will-Weber

Why this book?

Will-Weber extensively researched the drinking habits of every U.S. president from George Washington to Barack Obama to compose this outstanding volume. Mint Juleps is brimming with fascinating facts. Did you know that the Carters, who were Southern Baptists, were much heavier drinkers than the Reagans? (Ronald Reagan, who effectively imposed the twenty-one-year drinking age on all fifty states, was the son of an alcoholic and wary of alcohol abuse). I think that I enjoyed the profile of George Washington the most, who not only plotted American independence over a pint or two but distilled his own applejack brandy as well.

From the list:

The best books on culture and booze

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Book cover of 1919: Volume Two of the U.S.A. Trilogy

1919: Volume Two of the U.S.A. Trilogy

By John Dos Passos

Why this book?

Dos Passos’ USA trilogy was a project of the 1930s with 1919 at its center. In its time, the trilogy was a literary precursor of multimedia as we know it today, a mix of fictional narrative and non-fiction documentary.  For me at college age, it was a revelatory journey into the human layers between the 20th-century events of the larger world that I would be entering in search of who I was and would be. Centered on World War I, an industrializing America, and an exotic Paris, it would give me my first effective exposure to the places in which…

From the list:

The best books about some human undercurrents of the World Wars, and a father’s war revealed

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

The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey

By Candice Millard

Why this book?

I grew up in North Dakota, a state that celebrates Teddy Roosevelt as their own. This book is not only a great adventure story, it is a fascinating biographical portrait of Theodore Roosevelt. In a punishing expedition on an uncharted segment of the Amazon River, Roosevelt and his party undertook a trip so difficult, that on their return, many did not believe it to be true. The expedition nearly cost Roosevelt his life and, in the end, changed him forever.

From the list:

The best books about outdoor travel and adventure

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