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  • The Rough Riders
  • Written by Theodore Roosevelt
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780679641865
  • Our Price: $11.99
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The Rough Riders

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Written by Theodore RooseveltAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Theodore Roosevelt
Introduction by Edmund MorrisAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Edmund Morris

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List Price: $11.99

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On Sale: November 01, 2000
Pages: | ISBN: 978-0-679-64186-5
Published by : Modern Library Random House Group
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

In 1898, as the Spanish-American War was escalating, Theodore Roosevelt assembled an improbable regiment of Ivy Leaguers, cowboys, Native Americans, African-Americans, and Western Territory land speculators. This group of men, which became known as the Rough Riders, trained for four weeks in the Texas desert and then set sail for Cuba. Over the course of the summer, Roosevelt's Rough Riders fought valiantly, and sometimes recklessly, in the Cuban foothills, incurring casualties at a far greater rate than the Spanish.

Roosevelt kept a detailed diary from the time he left Washington until his triumphant return from Cuba later that year. The Rough Riders was published to instant acclaim in 1899. Robust in its style and mesmerizing in its account of battle, it is exhilarating, illuminating, and utterly essential reading for every armchair historian and at-home general.

The books in the Modern Library War series have been chosen by series editor Caleb Carr according to the significance of their subject matter, their contribution to the field of military history, and their literary merit.

Excerpt

The fight was now on in good earnest, and the Spaniards on the hills were engaged in heavy volley firing. The Mauser bullets drove in sheets through the trees and the tall jungle grass, making a peculiar whirring or rustling sound; some of the bullets seemed to pop in the air, so that we thought they were explosive; and, indeed, many of those which were coated with brass did explode, in the sense that the brass coat was ripped off, making a thin plate of hard metal with a jagged edge, which inflicted a ghastly wound. These bullets were shot from a .45-calibre rifle carrying smokeless powder, which was much used by the guerillas and irregular Spanish troops. The Mauser bullets themselves made a small clean hole, with the result that the wound healed in a most astonishing manner. One or two of our men who were shot in the head had the skull blown open, but elsewhere the wounds from the minute steel-coated bullet, with its very high velocity, were certainly nothing like as serious as those made by the old large-calibre, low-power rifle. If a man was shot through the heart, spine, or brain he was, of course, killed instantly; but very few of the wounded died-----even under the appalling conditions which prevailed, owing to the lack of attendance and supplies in the field-hospitals with the army.
        
While we were lying in reserve we were suffering nearly as much as afterward when we charged. I think that the bulk of the Spanish fire was practically unaimed, or at least not aimed at any particular man, and only occasionally at a particular body of men; but they swept the whole field of battle up to the edge of the river, and man after man in our ranks fell dead or wounded, although I had the troopers scattered out far apart, taking advantage of every scrap of cover.
        
Devereux was dangerously shot while he lay with his men on the edge of the river. A young West Point cadet, Ernest Haskell, who had taken his holiday with us as an acting second lieutenant, was shot through the stomach. he had shown great coolness and gallantry, which he displayed to an even more marked degree after being wounded, shaking my hand and saying, "all right, Colonel, I'm going to get well. Don't bother about me, and don't let any man come away with me." When I shook hands with him, I thought he would surely die; yet he recovered.
        
The most serious loss that I and the regiment could have suffered befell just before we charged. Bucky O'Neill was strolling up and down in front of his men, smoking his cigarette, for he was inveterately addicted to the habit. He had a theory that an officer ought never to take cover--a theory which was, of course, wrong, though in a volunteer organization the officers should certainly expose themselves very fully, simply for the effect on the men; our regimental toast on the transport running, "The officers; may the war last until each is killed, wounded, or promoted." As O'Neill moved to and fro, his men begged him to lie down, and one of the sergeants said, "Captain, a bullet is sure to hit you." O'Neill took his cigarette out of his mouth, and blowing out a cloud of smoke laughed and said, "Sergeant, the Spanish bullet isn't made that will kill me." A little later he discussed for a moment with one of the regular officers the direction from which the Spanish fire was coming. As he turned on his heel a bullet struck him in the mouth and came out at the back of his head; so that even before he fell his wild and gallant soul had gone out into the darkness.
Theodore Roosevelt|Edmund Morris

About Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt - The Rough Riders
Theodore Roosevelt—the naturalist, writer, historian, soldier, and politician who became twenty-sixth president of the United States—was born in New York City on October 27, 1858, into a distinguished family. He was the second of four children of Theodore Roosevelt, Sr., a wealthy philanthropist of Dutch descent, and the former Martha (“Mittie”) Bulloch, an aristocratic Southern belle. An endlessly inquisitive young man, he was especially interested in natural history, which became the focus of his first published works, Summer Birds of the Adirondacks (1877) and Notes on Some of the Birds of Oyster Bay (1879). Upon graduating Phi Beta Kappa from Harvard in 1880 Roosevelt briefly studied law. The next year he was elected to the New York State Assembly on the Republican ticket and soon made a name for himself as a historian with The Naval War of 1812 (1882).

Following the death of his wife, Alice, in childbirth in 1884, Roosevelt sought change and headed west to ranch lands he had acquired in the Dakota Territory. The young outdoorsman chronicled his years in the Bad Lands in Hunting Trips of a Ranchman (1885), the first volume in the nature trilogy that eventually included Ranch Life and the Hunting-Trail (1888) and The Wilderness Hunter (1893). After failing to win the New York City mayoral election in 1886 as a self-styled “Cowboy Candidate,” Roosevelt married childhood sweetheart Edith Kermit Carow and retired for a time to Sagamore Hill, his estate at Oyster Bay, Long Island. He wrote Gouveneur Morris (1888), a biography of the revolutionary-era statesman intended as a companion to the political memoir Life of Thomas Hart Benton (1887) and conceived the masterful four-volume history The Winning of the West (1889–1896).

Roosevelt returned to public life in 1889. Appointed Civil Service Commissioner he spent the next six years in Washington energetically pushing for reform of the government system, all the while propelling himself into the national spotlight. In 1895 he accepted a position as member, and later president, of the Board of Police Commissioners of New York City. Known as “a man you can’t cajole, can’t frighten, can’t buy,” Roosevelt continued to enjoy growing prestige nationwide, and within two years he was named assistant secretary of the navy under President William McKinley. Resigning this office in May 1898 at the outbreak of the Spanish-American War, Roosevelt helped organize and train the “Rough Riders,” a regiment of the First U.S. Volunteer Cavalry whose legendary exploits he recorded in The Rough Riders (1899). A popular hero upon returning from Cuba, Roosevelt was elected governor of New York in November 1898, and two years later he became vice president of the United States in the second administration of William McKinley.

The assassination of President McKinley in September 1901 placed Roosevelt in the White House, and he was elected president in 1904. For the remainder of the decade he embodied the boundless confidence of the nation as it entered the American Century. He promised a square deal for the workingman, brought about trust-busting reforms aimed at regulating big business, and instituted modern-day environmental measures. The first American leader to play an important role in world affairs, Roosevelt guided construction of the Panama Canal, advocated a “big stick” policy to enforce the Monroe Doctrine, and sought to keep the Open Door course in China. In 1906 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for resolving the Russo-Japanese War.

After leaving office in 1909 he took an almost yearlong hunting trip to Africa and described his adventures in African Game Trails (1910). In 1912 he made a bid for reelection on the progressive Bull Moose ticket but lost to Woodrow Wilson, who became a bitter enemy. Afterward he completed Theodore Roosevelt: An Autobiography (1913) and Through the Brazilian Wilderness (1914), an account of his explorations in South America. With the outbreak of World War I, Roosevelt became an outspoken advocate of United States military preparedness in books such as America and the World War (1915). His last work, The Great Adventure, appeared in 1918. Still entertaining the idea of running again for office, Theodore Roosevelt died in his sleep at Sagamore Hill on January 6, 1919.

About Edmund Morris

Edmund Morris - The Rough Riders

Photo © Brian Lamb

Edmund Morris was born and educated in Kenya and went to college in South Africa. He worked as an advertising copywriter in London before immigrating to the United States in 1968. His biography The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt won the Pulitzer Prize and American Book Award in 1980. After spending several years as President Reagan’s authorized biographer, he published the national bestseller Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan in 1999. He has written extensively on travel and the arts for such publications as The New Yorker, The New York Times, and Harper’s Magazine. Edmund Morris lives in New York and Washington with his wife and fellow biographer, Sylvia Jukes Morris.

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