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When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt After the White House

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From the author of the acclaimed Five of Hearts, this highly praised, spell-binding biography is the definitive account of TR's final decade, the most poignant -- and in some ways, the most heroic -- years of his extraordinary life. Drawn from a wealth of new materials, this is a remarkable portrait of a remarkable man.


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From the author of the acclaimed Five of Hearts, this highly praised, spell-binding biography is the definitive account of TR's final decade, the most poignant -- and in some ways, the most heroic -- years of his extraordinary life. Drawn from a wealth of new materials, this is a remarkable portrait of a remarkable man.

30 review for When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt After the White House

  1. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Million

    This is a really wonderful book: O'Toole captures the essence of Theodore Roosevelt in his final decade of life. This reads like fiction as there are so many different phases to the years that the book covers. Of course it helps that Roosevelt was such a larger-than-life figure, with no shortage of drama or controversy. O'Toole engages in some scene-setting at the beginning, just as Roosevelt is leaving the presidency, but otherwise follows a chronological trajectory straight through to the end. This is a really wonderful book: O'Toole captures the essence of Theodore Roosevelt in his final decade of life. This reads like fiction as there are so many different phases to the years that the book covers. Of course it helps that Roosevelt was such a larger-than-life figure, with no shortage of drama or controversy. O'Toole engages in some scene-setting at the beginning, just as Roosevelt is leaving the presidency, but otherwise follows a chronological trajectory straight through to the end. She is scrupulously fair to Roosevelt: neither fawning nor overly critical. Most of the first quarter of the book revolves around Roosevelt's African safari. He then returns to the U.S., and cannot help himself from getting right back into the political fray - attacking his hand-picked successor and (former) friend, William Howard Taft. The pivotal election of 1912 and everything leading up to it consumes about one-third of the book, and for me this is the most interesting portion. Roosevelt and Taft drift further and further away from each other, but as O'Toole carefully points out, both are equally to blame. Roosevelt was unable to reconcile himself to being out of power, and Taft did not know (or want to know) how to use power. The dissolution of their friendship is sad to see, but at least they did meet in 1918 and patch things up. The final quarter of the book is as much about Roosevelt's four sons and his son-in-law serving in WWI. Roosevelt was - with the exception of being a peacemaker for the Russo-Japanese War of 1904 - a warmonger and strong militarist. The potential for blood, combat, and death excited him. It was absolutely expected that his sons would serve in WWI and see combat. Unfortunately, his youngest son Quentin was killed in July 1918, and Roosevelt could not quite come to accept that he was not somewhat to blame by pushing his sons so strongly into this military mindset. Roosevelt seemed to have a difficult time accepting reality. This was evident in the 1912 election when the Republican Party clearly did not want him as their nominee. He had no problem using the Progressive Party to launch a third-party bid for the presidency, only to want to quickly disassociate himself from it after his defeat. Even while he was in steady physical decline for the final two months of his life, he was planning to run for President in 1920, having somewhat reconciled with the Republican Party. I many respects, there is a sadness to the book, with his decline at the end, Quentin's death, and his failure to ever regain the presidency. A line from page 245 aptly sums up his final decade: "At bottom, Roosevelt had loathed Taft and now loathed Wilson because they were presidents and he was not." He willingly gave up that office, but then spent the rest of his life trying to get it back. Grade: A

  2. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    http://bestpresidentialbios.com/2015/... “When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt after the White House” by Patricia O’Toole was published in 2005. She teaches writing at the Columbia University School of the Arts and is the author of a biography of Henry Adams (a 1991 Pulitzer Prize finalist) as well as “Money and Morals in America: A History.” As its title suggests, this book covers the last decade of Roosevelt’s life – the restive post-presidential years of a man unable to really relax or retire http://bestpresidentialbios.com/2015/... “When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt after the White House” by Patricia O’Toole was published in 2005. She teaches writing at the Columbia University School of the Arts and is the author of a biography of Henry Adams (a 1991 Pulitzer Prize finalist) as well as “Money and Morals in America: A History.” As its title suggests, this book covers the last decade of Roosevelt’s life – the restive post-presidential years of a man unable to really relax or retire. For Roosevelt, these were years of drama, excitement and deep frustration; for O’Toole’s audience they are consistently fast-paced and fascinating. Published five years before the final installment of Edmund Morris’s three-volume series (and covering virtually the same material), O’Toole’s book never met with the same popularity or success as “Colonel Roosevelt.” This is partly attributable to the fact that even Morris’s third volume hardly stands alone – it requires his first two volumes to create a full sense of anticipation. O’Toole’s book, without a series lead-in, had no natural audience other than impatient fans of Morris’s then-incomplete series. Yet there is much to admire about “When Trumpets Call.” It reviews the major events of Roosevelt’s post-presidency in a descriptive, consistently engaging and easy-going manner. Beginning with his African safari, the reader is treated to a narrative style that is both straightforward and unpretentious and which proves clever and engaging. Her style also reminds the reader that she is principally a writer and not a stuffy, highbrow historian. Despite the book’s focus on Roosevelt’s last years, O’Toole does not assume the reader is intimately familiar with TR. In its early pages she reviews Roosevelt’s first fifty years, capturing salient features of his incredibly eventful life prior to his “retirement.” In fewer than two-dozen pages she provides what may be the best brief review of Roosevelt’s life that I’ve ever encountered. Throughout her book, O’Toole is frequently critical of Roosevelt – exposing rather than hiding his flaws. But her overall assessment is extremely fair and well-balanced. And much to her credit, she is able to explain complicated situations quite clearly. Two events relating to Taft’s presidency, which remained murky and slightly bewildering for me after reading previous biographies, were explained with unparalleled clarity. Although O’Toole mined letters and diary entries from many of TR’s contemporaries in search of new material it is not clear she adds much to the understanding of Roosevelt’s life. But she does manage to tell a mostly-familiar story in a new and altogether engaging way. And while this book lacks penetrating insight and analysis, it provides an abundance of clever observations and pithy one-liners. To my surprise, Roosevelt’s wife, Edith, is not particularly closely covered. But the last one-fourth of the book is very nearly less about TR than his sons and their service during World War I. This is where O’Toole’s story most clearly covers untrampled ground – and where the reader begins to marvel that a story about TR’s life could possibly manage to appropriately veer away from TR himself. Overall, “When Trumpets Call” is a lively, engaging and fast-paced review of the ten years of Roosevelt’s life following his departure from the White House. While not as serious or scholarly as Edmund Morris’s volume covering the same period, this is a story very well told and clearly designed to convey the crux of every major moment. While it fails to uncover any hidden mysteries about TR or pass along great judgments of the man, it provides an interesting perspective of his life and rarely fails to entertain. Overall rating: 3¾ stars

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dennis Phillips

    Theodore Roosevelt is one of the icons of American history and it would be difficult for any author to make any part of this man's story dull. It is quite another thing however for an author to get inside the soul of Mr. Roosevelt and I believe that O 'Toole has done just that. From TR's habit of dismissing those who disagreed with him as unmanly or cowardly to the deep grief and guilt he felt when his son Quentin was killed in the war, this book will lead the reader to the depths of Roosevelt's Theodore Roosevelt is one of the icons of American history and it would be difficult for any author to make any part of this man's story dull. It is quite another thing however for an author to get inside the soul of Mr. Roosevelt and I believe that O 'Toole has done just that. From TR's habit of dismissing those who disagreed with him as unmanly or cowardly to the deep grief and guilt he felt when his son Quentin was killed in the war, this book will lead the reader to the depths of Roosevelt's soul. Although it only covers Roosevelt's post White House years this is the best biography of the old Rough Rider that I have yet to come across. Far superior in it's readability and energy to the Edmund Morris books.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    I love reading about Teddy Roosevelt - his personality was truly one of a kind and his energy and desire to do things is still inspiring as an example all of these years later. This book covers the period from his "retirement" as President to the end of his life. These are not his best years although he lived fully until the very end. I thought the author was very fair criticizing TR when appropriate and telling all parts of the story.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Glenn Robinson

    Excellent! Very well researched and written bio of life after the White House for Theodore Roosevelt. Did he take it easy after the White House? No! He went to Africa, South America, ran for the office again and was shot in the chest. He kept on going full steam. Very interesting bio on a very fascinating man.

  6. 5 out of 5

    AJS

    3 1/2. Pretty decent. Unfortunately the author can't help herself measuring the man against modern progressive social justice value. Not overdone, but would have been better without the side of modern superiority.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bookmarks Magazine

    O'Toole, a 1991 Pulitzer finalist for The Five of Hearts: An Intimate Portrait of Henry Adams and His Friends 1880-1918, wrote this biography of Roosevelt's later years in the shadow of Edmund Morris, who has already written two volumes on this President and will reportedly cover the same period as O'Toole did in his final installment. Many critics think that O'Toole fills an important historical gap by telling a complicated story with flair and wisely avoiding too much detail on the dramatic 19 O'Toole, a 1991 Pulitzer finalist for The Five of Hearts: An Intimate Portrait of Henry Adams and His Friends 1880-1918, wrote this biography of Roosevelt's later years in the shadow of Edmund Morris, who has already written two volumes on this President and will reportedly cover the same period as O'Toole did in his final installment. Many critics think that O'Toole fills an important historical gap by telling a complicated story with flair and wisely avoiding too much detail on the dramatic 1912 election that is covered in many other books. Others found O'Toole's narrative style lackluster and her conclusions watered down compared to other authoritative books on the subject, including David McCullough's biography (see below). History fans may want to read all three authors' coverage for the full picture of our swaggering ex-President.This is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Gabriel Aguilera

    A guide to my rating system ********************************************************************* 5 Stars: This book is a timeless classic and undisputed member of the literary canon. I read and loved it. 4 Stars: This book is a personal classic. A book I am happy to read again and again and think you would enjoy it too. 3 Stars: This is a book I read and thoroughly enjoyed. I recommend only if you are interested in the subject matter. I do not list books that I would not eagerly pick up and read aga A guide to my rating system ********************************************************************* 5 Stars: This book is a timeless classic and undisputed member of the literary canon. I read and loved it. 4 Stars: This book is a personal classic. A book I am happy to read again and again and think you would enjoy it too. 3 Stars: This is a book I read and thoroughly enjoyed. I recommend only if you are interested in the subject matter. I do not list books that I would not eagerly pick up and read again, including those in the literary canon. (i.e. Kant, Hobbes, etc). ********************************************************************** A good read for TR fans. They say that most historians are ill-equipped to pass judgment on great men and women. O'Toole falls in this category. Still, aside from the author's occasional editorializing, it is a worthy read.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jonathan

    "When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt After the Whitehouse" by Patricia O'Toole. I did not like this book much - not memorable. I was probably more frustrated with the subject rather than the author, but not a memorable author. The old man gave up power and he regretted it, rather than be a support for Taft, he went to the Amazon and nearly killed himself. Roosevelt made a lot of noise and loved, absolutely loved the sound of his own voice, he was always in a hurry to start the next project, n "When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt After the Whitehouse" by Patricia O'Toole. I did not like this book much - not memorable. I was probably more frustrated with the subject rather than the author, but not a memorable author. The old man gave up power and he regretted it, rather than be a support for Taft, he went to the Amazon and nearly killed himself. Roosevelt made a lot of noise and loved, absolutely loved the sound of his own voice, he was always in a hurry to start the next project, not fully developing much.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Tom Eldridge

    Another pretty good book about Teddy, this one after he leaves the office of the presidency. Amazing, but this lion could just not stay still, much to the dismay of wife Edith. Teddy had to be involved, needed and loved. This book covers the misguided attempts at his re-election, the sadness of his failures and finally, WWI and the personal, unbearable losses he suffered. As with just about every book about Roosevelt I've read, completely compelling. He was one of the greats in American history!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Scott

    I really enjoyed this book, but I can't get over the bitterness the author showed towards TR during the 1912 election. The tone of the book was very negative towards TR in that period, and brightened up afterwards. That shouldn't turn you away from the book though, it is very well done. The section on the Roosevelt's involvement in WWI was probably my favorite part of the book. I would consider this essential TR reading.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Kareem

    To paraphrase Douglas MacArthur, 'Presidents don't die, they just fade away.' Have to imagine how hard it was for Teddy Roosevelt to hold to his pledge not to run for a 'third' term. The author does a terrific job of illustrating his trials and tribulations on that score. Learned a lot about the work he did in his post-Presidency travels as well.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Dante

    A good placeholder for TR's post presidency years until Edmund Morris comes out with his third installment of the Roosevelt trilogy. The first half has a lot of Taft, the second half much Woodrow Wilson. The middle, when TR was fighting with Taft and creating a new Progressive party, was slow. Not many pages devoted to his Brazilian travels either.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    If you asked me, I would say I am not a Theodore Roosevelt buff....but somehow I've read four biographies. So I guess I am. He's an amazing man with an interesting life. The better books would be the two volume set by Edmund Morris. But since those books end in the White House, you'll want to know what happened next....which is how I got to this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Meg - A Bookish Affair

    "The trumpet call is the most inspiring of all sounds, because it summons men to spurn ease and self-indulgence and timidity, and bids them forth to the field where they must dare and do and die at ease"

  16. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Excellent biography - really like O'Toole's choice of words - very unique but accurate. Probably best read after reading a book focusing on his pre-White House and White House years as gives better context to the post-presidency man.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ross Cohen

    O'Toole deftly spins a balanced narrative out of TR's last decade. Her presentation of her subject's strengths and failings are spot-on, and her treatment of the Roosevelt children at war was highly engaging.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Pete Iseppi

    An interesting but sad book. T.R. could never realize or admit when time had passed him by, and he had a very difficult time dealing with the fact that the American people had put him in their past. Still, what a life he had!

  19. 4 out of 5

    George

    Fascinating look at the huge personality that was Theodore Roosevelt -- inspiring and at the same time exasperating. He never really accepted his role as former president. This engrossing account is made all the more attractive by O'Toole's elegant style. A wonderful book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aws Al-obaidi

    Old high school english stories... my firsts

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    I am reading "Colonel Roosevelt" at the present, so i was thinking of this book. While it is not as detailed as "Colonel Roosevelt," it is a good book about TR's life after the White House.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    If you are a teddyrooseveltophile....this is a good one.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Rose Ann

    I have always loved Teddy Roosevelt. This is a wonderful look at the last years of his life, after he left the White House. It is a nice "bookend" to "Mornings on Horseback" by David McCullough.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kyle McCannon

    So far so good, but it reads too much like a text book. The content is good and interesting.

  25. 5 out of 5

    John

    Excellent bio of the last years of TR's life and his frustration at the loss of power. I look forward to a bio from Edmund Morris on this same period of TR's life to complete his triology.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shawn Thrasher

  27. 5 out of 5

    SkipO

  28. 4 out of 5

    Chip Stapleton

  29. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

  30. 4 out of 5

    Robert

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