President Theodore Roosevelt's love of natural history is celebrated in two sketches written by renowned naturalist John Burroughs. The friends shared a two-week trip to Yellowstone in the spring of 1903, in order to observe the wildlife and geologic wonders of America's first national park. The desire was to commune with nature, not to hunt. "I will not fire a gun in the Park, then I shall have no explanations to make," President Roosevelt said. While they had guides, the president was unaccompanied by secret service, personal physician, or secretaries and, remarkably, took an 18-mile trek through hard country completely by himself on one occasion. "He came back as fresh as when he started..."
The renowned naturalist offers delightful reminiscences of Theodore Roosevelt and their shared joy in the wildlife and geologic wonders of Yosemite. Includes a second essay, in which Burroughs visits Sagamore Hill.
In 1903, Theodore Roosevelt planned a tour of the mid-West and Western states. It was dubbed the “Great Loop Tour,” being careful not to call it a campaign tour, although he intended to seek re-election the following year. Theodore was adamant that his speeches be devoid of any partisan rhetoric, nor would he meet solely with Republican office holders in the various cities and towns he planned to visit. He would happily shake hands with a Democratic mayor or Senator just as he would a Republican. Theodore’s speeches, which he wrote himself, covered subjects of good citizenship, a square deal for every man, a strong navy, and the positive aspects of the recent irrigation bill he signed into law. Then there were his speeches relating to conservation of the land, forests, rivers, and wildlife. Nowhere did these subjects become more important to him than when he visited Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and Yosemite. While he was still three years away from having the law that would knight him as the “Conservation President,” Theodore was already making his mark on preserving the country’s resources.
Theodore Roosevelt’s scientific curiosity and love of the outdoors proved a defining force throughout his hectic life as a rancher and explorer, police commissioner and governor of New York, vice president and president of the United States. Conservation and natural history were parts of a whole for this driven, charismatic public servant, and Roosevelt approached the natural world with joy and a passionate engagement. Drawing on an array of approaches—biographical, ecological and environmental, literary and political, Theodore Roosevelt, Naturalist in the Arena analyzes this energetic man’s manifold encounters with the great outdoors. George Bird Grinnell, Gifford Pinchot, John Muir, and William Hornaday were among the many conservationists with whom Roosevelt corresponded, collaborated, hiked, and governed—and in turn, inspired. Together, Roosevelt and his contemporaries developed a progressive argument for the conservation of natural resources as a way to construct a more democratic nation-state. This legacy also comes with some troubling domestic and global implications, as Roosevelt fused his call for the conservation of resources—natural and human, domestically and internationally—with a deep-seated conviction that some were more fit than others to control the world and define its future.
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Focusing on the broken friendship between Teddy Roosevelt and his chosen successor, William Howard Taft, revisits the Progressive Era during which Roosevelt wielded the Bully Pulpit to challenge and triumph over abusive monopolies, political bosses, and corrupt money brokers only to see it compromised by Taft.
Ultimately, as Ralph Lutts demonstrates in The Nature Fakers, the dialogue resulted in a new standard of accuracy for the responsible nature writer and reflected a new way of thinking about moral responsibilities to wildlife.
"Draws extensively on the 26th President's field notebooks, diaries and letters to share insight into how Roosevelt's field expeditions shaped his character and political polices, covering his teen ornithology adventures, Badlands travels and safaris in Africa and South America, "--NoveList.