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The Rough Riders (1899)

af Theodore Roosevelt

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Biography & Autobiography. History. Military. Nonfiction. HTML:

Legendary outdoorsman, conservationist and U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt first rose to national prominence as a leader of the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, the crack team of volunteers who represented the country in the Spanish-American War. In this rip-roaring account of his time with the "Rough Riders," Roosevelt gives readers a first-hand glimpse of what it was like to fight alongside the legendary regiment.

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Reason read: American Author Challenge, July, books written by presidents
I chose this one because I have read so many books about Teddy Roosevelt. (6) that it just seemed appropriate to read this book that he wrote. Written in 1899 by Theodore Roosevelt about his experience with the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry. And I do not know much about the Spanish American War.

Theodore Roosevelt held several different political types of posts. He was president from 1901 to 1909 and was the youngest present at 42, turning 43 when McKinley was assassinated. Theodore also received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1906 which I think is kind of an oxymoron as Teddy liked war and was more for war that for peace but he did negotiate peace between Russia and Japan and he resolved a dispute with Mexico with arbitration.

The most interesting part of The Rough Riders is how they were made up. This was voluntary and not a part of the military. The original plan for this unit called for filling it with men from the Indian Territory, New Mexico, Arizona, and Oklahoma. It quickly became the place for a mix of troops ranging from Ivy League athletes to glee-club singers to Texas Rangers and Indians. There were former confederate soldiers and black soldiers and even a Spaniard who wanted to prove his loyalty to the US. While some of the words used int he book might not be politically correct to people today it is clear that everyone was considered on the merit of whether he could be calvary soldier.

The war: The Cubans were fighting for independence from Spain and US had moved some of the Navy to Havana Harbor to protect its interest. The Maine blew up in the harbor. What was called yellow journalism played a big part in the US getting involved. The papers reported that the Maine had been blown up by Spain when that probably wasn't the reason. There is a strong possibility that the ship combusted from the gasses that were put out from burning bituminous coal. The truth will never be known for sure. (see Paul Atwood, Professor and Senator Lodge comments) Another tactic of the paper was to report the atrocities of concentration camps. The reason for reporting was not to escalate war but to sell papers (Hearst and Pulitzer). (see Robert Osgood, 1953) The president did not want to go to war but Roosevelt favored war because
our direct interest was Cuban Tobacco and sugar and relations to the projected Panama Canal.
1. Humanitarian reason (there are people who believed that it was the humane thing to do.
2. Standpoint of National Honor
3. Standpoint of National Interest.
The US is a warring nation and these reasons are generally the reasons, heavy on the National interest. There's always some $ that is the motivator. Even in today's current Russian/Ukraine war.
With Spain losing the war and the US obtained Puerto Rico, Guam and Philippines. ( )
  Kristelh | Jul 7, 2023 |
Very interesting historical account of the invasion of Cuba. I'm somewhat surprised by the racism, but 1898 wasn't that long after the Civil War, & people were sadly misinformed about the intelligence of colored people. Since Roosevelt was there, this is a first hand account. ( )
  CAFinNY | Apr 26, 2019 |
The material is clearly unabridged TR as he was at the time of the Spanish American war. He briefly memorializes many of the men he served with, some of whom are easily recognizable to any US history geek (like me and mine).
There are, indeed, study questions to help the listener clarify points and would be useful to any military history studies.
The narrator has a clear voice and diction which make him the perfect lecturer. If I may suggest, speed the recording to a comfortable rate for the first read through, then reset to standard rate for any note taking and absorption needs.
I won this free audio copy in a giveaway. ( )
  jetangen4571 | Sep 1, 2018 |
This is the Taylor edition of Roosevelt's regimental history of the 1st United States Volunteer Calvary. ( )
  endaclon | Aug 4, 2018 |
TR is a great man, but a poor writer. Really could have used an editor to make this easier to read and follow. It reads almost like a journal with several lists of names of people he knew, but doesn't develop. ( )
  gpaisley | Jun 18, 2016 |
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Theodore Rooseveltprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Morris, EdmundIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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Hark! I hear the tramp of thousands,/ And of armed men the hum;/ Lo! a nation's hosts have gathered/ Round the quick-alarming drum--/ Saying, "Come,/ Freemen, come!/ Ere your heritage be wasted," said the quick-alarming drum./ "Let me of my heart take counsel;/ War is not of Life the sum;/ Who shall stay and reap the harvest/ When the autumn days shall come?"/ But the drum/ Echoed, "Come!/ Death shall reap the braver harvest," said the solemn-sounding drum./ "But when won the coming battle,/ What of profit springs therefrom?/ What if conquest, subjugation,/ Even greater ills become?"/ But the drum/ Answered, "Come!/ You must do the sum to prove it," siad the Yankee-answering drum.

--Bret Harte
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On behalf of the Rough Riders
I dedicate this book
to the officers and men of the
five regular regiments
which together with mine made up the Cavalry Division at Santiago



Theodore Roosevelt
Executive Mansion
Albany, N.Y.,
May 1, 1899
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During the year preceding the outbreak of the Spanish War I was Assistant Secretary of the Navy.
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Biography & Autobiography. History. Military. Nonfiction. HTML:

Legendary outdoorsman, conservationist and U.S. president Theodore Roosevelt first rose to national prominence as a leader of the 1st United States Volunteer Cavalry, the crack team of volunteers who represented the country in the Spanish-American War. In this rip-roaring account of his time with the "Rough Riders," Roosevelt gives readers a first-hand glimpse of what it was like to fight alongside the legendary regiment.

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