There have been many books on Theodore Roosevelt, but there are none that solely focus on the last years of his life. Racked by rheumatism, a ticking embolism, pathogens in his blood, a bad leg from an accident, and a bullet in his chest from an assassination attempt, in the last two years of his life from April 1917 to January 6, 1919, he went from the great disappointment of being denied his own regiment in World War I, leading a suicide mission of Rough Riders against the Germans, to the devastating news that his son Quentin had been shot down and killed over France. Suffering from grief and guilt, marginalized by world events, the great glow that had been his life was now but a dimming lantern. But TR’s final years were productive ones as well: he churned out several “instant” books that promoted U.S. entry into the Great War, and he was making plans for another run at the Presidency in 1920 at the time of his death. Indeed, his political influence was so great that his opposition to the policies of Woodrow Wilson helped the Republican Party take back the Congress in 1918. However, as William Hazelgrove points out in this book, it was Roosevelt’s quest for the “vigorous life” that, ironically, may have led to his early demise at the age of sixty. "The Old Lion is dead,” TR’s son Archie cabled his brother on January 6, 1919, and so, too, ended a historic era in American life and politics.
William Elliott Hazelgrove has a master's in History and is the best-selling author of ten novels and seven narrative nonfiction books, including Madame President: The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson, Forging a President: How the West Created Teddy Roosevelt (Regnery Publishing), and Al Capone and the 1933 World’s Fair (Rowman & Littlefield). He lives in Chicago, Illinois.
"Hazelgrove captures the feelings of the aging Teddy Roosevelt in his final two years....When the United States entered World War I, Roosevelt petitioned Wilson to form a Rough Riders unit to ship to Europe... afflicted by gout, septic infection, high blood pressure, obesity, pleurisy, an embolism, blood pathogens, a bad leg from an accident, and a bullet in his chest from an assasination attempt, Roosevelt was no longer the invincible warrior of 20 years before. But that was his body not his heart...History buffs will find this book fascinating."
“Narrative historian William Elliott Hazelgrove, now the author of two enthralling and immensely readable Roosevelt books, has contributed to our understanding of the 26th president in ways that are somewhat harder to pin down than Morris'. But the way he engages with the self-invented and self-mythologizing TR suggests that he might have been a far better candidate than Morris to take on the elusive Reagan, simply because Hazelgrove might have settled more easily for the self-invented simulacrum of a human that Reagan revealed to his would-be biographer.”
"In Forging a President: How the Wild West Created Teddy Roosevelt (2017), novelist and nonfiction writer Hazelgrove focused on the early years of the American president, soldier, cattle rancher, police commissioner, and family man. Now he focuses on the last two years of Roosevelt's life, 1917-19...Hazelgrove brings a novelist's eye to the story, portraying Roosevelt as a living, breathing man, and, by concentrating on a short period of time, giving readers a real sense of what made Roosevelt tick. A useful, informative, and very well written portrait of a fascinating figure.”
"With the First World War mired in a bloody stalemate, the ex-US President came up with an incredible plan...a full on horseback charge across No Mans Land. As a fascinating new book reveals, 250,000 volunteers signed up before the last major German offensive on the Western Front."