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June 13, 2003

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94 - CAPE GAZETTE, Friday, i June 13. June 19, 2003 Book Nook By Gerry Lore Theodore Roosevelt: A Strenuous Life by Kathleen Dalton Few American figures have been as famous, heralded, com- plex and controversial as Theodore Roosevelt. More than 80 years after his death, his legacy lives on, as mod- ern day politicians often invoke his style and positions - FDR, John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon in particular were great fans of T.R. His accomplishments, interests and talents were staggering - au- thor, conservationist, historian, scientist, explorer, big game hunter, legislator, governor of New York, soldier and war hero, vice president, first American to win a Nobel Peace Prize for medi- ating the Russian-Japanese War, and president and Bull Moose Presidential candidate. Scholar and historian Kathleen Dalton, who has studied T.R. for 30 years, has written a stunning, intimate portrait, utilizing new, re- cently uncovered information. Dalton&apos;s comprehensive, yet richly detailed and elegantly writ- ten biography focuses on T.R.'s personal and political life, with emphasis on his lifetime of stren- uous physical activities and ath- letics. Born into the wealthy and influ- ential New York City branch of the Roosevelts, T.R. was a sick, frail child, plagued with severe asthma. Fed up with the primitive med- ical treatments of the era, his fa- tler ordered T.R. to begin a tough a challenging physical exercise program. Dalton vividly details how T.R. engaged in every possible sport and activity - boxing, wrestling, jogging, lifting weights, hiking, mountain climbing, horse riding, ice skating and football. He forced his children to do the same and passionately urged other Americans to exercise. Dalton dis- closes that with all his vigorous activities, T.R. regularly suf- fered cuts, bruises, sprains, broken ribs and bones, LORE gashes - even knocking him- self out on several occasions. In a little-known incident, T.R. was shot in the ribs while campaigning by a would-be assassin. Incredi- bly, T.R. continued with his speech, losing blood with his bro- ken rib, even waving his bloody shirt at the roaring crowd. In a particularly terrific chapter, Dalton details a terrifying experi- ence which typified T.R.'s courage and toughness and one which may have hastened his ear- ly death. Exploring the Amazon region for an uncharted river, his guides became lost. The party ran out of food. T.R., sick and hurt, asked to be left be- hind so the others could go on. His son refused and literally car- ried T.R. to safety. Dalton offers a detailed, intrigu- ing look at T.R.'s shift in political thinking and causes over the years. A staunch Republican, he grad- GOLDEN TEE GOLF ually became the nation's greatesL social reformer of his time. He de 2- manded equal treatment for all citizens, supported women's suf- frage, and labor reform, fought against corporate trusts and mo- nopolies. The list of T.R.'s issues which became law decades later is amaz- ing - unemployment insurance, Social Security, workplace re- forms, health care for the poor and aged, campaign reform, equal rights for women and minorities. He was also a passionate conser- vationist, protecting national parks, rivers, forests. Dalton could have been more forthright in addressing T.R.'s ru- mored drinking problem. The book includes a number of refer- ences to T.R.'s alleged drunken- ness, from his days at Harvard through the Presidency. His broth- er, the father of Eleanor Roo- sevelt, died from alcoholism and several of his sons had drinking problems. Since Dalton doesn't pursue this, we are left to guess. She does an excellent job at weaving in sto- ries about T.R's family, including his doting sisters, his second wife and five children, especially the difficult daughter Alice, who be- came a Washington, D.C. denizen. This should be the standard bi- ography of Teddy Roosevelt, against which all others will be judged. It's the wonderful saga of our most fascinating president and vital, colorful personality, who captured the American spirit. Gerry Lore retired to Rehoboth Beach in 1996 after a career with Hoffmann-LaRoche Inc. He is a graduate of Purdue University and Harvard School of Business. ManT00 ITALIA RISTO TE PIZZA 8t BAR 1608 Hwy. I & McKinley St. Dewey Beach Eat In or Carry Out .... 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