Winner of an Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Award, the Father Thomas J. Steele Award for Best History, and a Colorado Book Award
The first definitive account of this legendary fighting force and its extraordinary leader, Theodore Roosevelt, Mark Lee Gardner’s Rough Riders is narrative nonfiction at its most invigorating and compulsively readable. Its dramatic unfolding of a familiar, yet not-fully-known story will remind readers of James Swanson’s Manhunt.
Two months after the sinking of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor in February 1898, Congress authorized President McKinley to recruit a volunteer army to drive the Spaniards from Cuba. From this army emerged the legendary “Rough Riders,” a mounted regiment drawn from America’s western territories and led by the indomitable Theodore Roosevelt. Its ranks included not only cowboys and other westerners, but several Ivy Leaguers and clubmen, many of them friends of “TR.” Roosevelt and his men quickly came to symbolize American ruggedness, daring, and individualism. He led them to victory in the famed Battle at San Juan Hill, which made TR a national hero and cemented the Rough Riders’ place in history.
Now, Mark Lee Gardner synthesizes previously unknown primary accounts as well as period newspaper articles, letters, and diaries from public and private archives in Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Boston, and Washington, DC, to produce this authoritative chronicle. He breathes fresh life into the Rough Riders and pays tribute to their daring feats and indomitable leader. Gardner also explores lesser-known aspects of the story, including their relationship with the African-American “Buffalo Soldiers, with whom they fought side by side at San Juan Hill.
Rich with action, violence, camaraderie, and courage, Rough Riders sheds new light on the Theodore Roosevelt saga—and on one of the most thrilling chapters in American history.
|Product dimensions:||5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Mark Lee Gardner is the author of To Hell on a Fast Horse and Shot All to Hell, which received multiple awards, including a Spur Award from Western Writers of America. An authority on the American West, Gardner has appeared on PBS’s American Experience, as well as on the History Channel, the Travel Channel, and on NPR. He has written for the Los Angeles Times, True West, Wild West, American Cowboy, and New Mexico Magazine. He lives with his family in Cascade, Colorado.
Table of Contents
1 Some Turn of Fortune 5
2 East Meets West 28
3 A Perfect Welter of Confusion 56
4 Cuba at Last 80
5 Vultures Overhead 105
6 Road to Santiago 130
7 A Bully Fight 151
8 The Siege 177
9 The Real Foe 205
10 Crackerjacks in New York 224
11 Children of the Dragon's Blood 249
A Note on Sources 284
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
As stated above
If you were to ask any knowledgeable non-American to personify America in one person, Teddy Roosevelt would probably be the man chosen. Full of life, energy, an inquisitive mind and a go-getter, Teddy Roosevelt stamp a large footprint upon the annals of history. This is a book about the story that brought him to national prominence, the charge up San Juan Hill and the Spanish American War. As a youth, my image of this event came from Volume 7 of The Golden Book History of the United States which shows Roosevelt charging up the hill on his horse, Little Texas (ignoring the fact that he actually walked/ran up the hill - a common error). However, after reading the first two books of Edmund Morris' trilogy of biographies on TR, I became aware of his larger than life persona. Gardner's book fills in the gaps about this lesser-known American war. By 1896, Roosevelt had become Deputy Secretary of the Navy, but he felt like something was missing. He needed to be involved in a war; a not-uncommon sentiment among men of previous ages. While transforming himself from a sickly youth to a vital, energetic man, he acquired a spirit of adventure, which no doubt fueled his passion to seek combat. Before war was declared, he began to stockpile equipment and lining up men to serve with him. He was anxious to have his men assembled and ready to go when the fighting started because he feared the conflict would be short and he may miss out on the fighting. The Rough Riders as assembled were a collection of both rough and tumble cowboys as well as some of Roosevelt's genteel friends in New York. It is inconceivable now, but his Rough Riders included the current tennis champion! These tenderfoots did manage to mix in with the cowboys to form a cohesive fighting force. Because of Roosevelt's energy and organizational skills, his men were given an opportunity to be on the first boats headed for Cuba. Like many green soldiers, everyone feels like Spartacus until they get shot at, and the Rough Riders were no exception. Once they got past their first battle, they conducted themselves in a manner worthy of their name. Then, like now, the media fixated on a good story, and Roosevelt made for good copy. His over-sized personality (as well as his later public letter to the Secretary of War) earned him no friends in the regular Army. It was this resentment that led to his being denied the Medal of Honor until 2001 - the irony being that even when the matter was brought up for review again, the Army made the exact same determination that his actions did not constitute conduct becoming of the medal. The book that Gardner has written is a well-told, engaging, and fast-paced read. It can be easily read in a couple of sittings. It is hard to put down because of the author's dedication to presenting the history tell the story without eulogizing or condemning his subject. The reader is left to their own opinions about Roosevelt and his conduct in the war, but if they come away from reading the book without being entertained, shame on them for six weeks. BOTTOM LINE: A great story to get deeper into Teddy Roosevelt's life.
excellent Historical Read; I enjoyed Rough Riders immensely without a doubt? Read in Bed everynight to finish? A+!!