Some Book Recommendations in Honor of Theodore Roosevelt’s Birthday

Its no secret that we’re big fans of Theodore Roosevelt on the Art of Manliness. No man is perfect, but he’s as close as you can get to a true paragon of manliness. Virtuous and industrious, he was devoted to living the strenuous life and accomplished more in his lifetime than most men can even dream about. Reading about his life has been a constant source of inspiration to me.

I get a lot of emails asking which TR-themed books I recommend. So in honor of Roosevelt’s 153rd birthday, here are a few recommendations:

When it comes to biographies, I think the best are the three books Edmund Morris wrote: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Rex, and Colonel Roosevelt. Each book covers a different stage of TR’s life, and reading the trilogy will give you an in-depth look at Teddy’s life.

If you’re looking for practical take-away lessons from TR’s life, check out Theodore Roosevelt on Leadership. Author James Strock does a fantastic job of distilling leadership principles from the experiences of Roosevelt’s life.

If you want to read the writings of the man himself, dig into The Strenuous Life. It’s a collection of some of his best essays and addresses and it offers plenty of thought-provoking content and bull moose-style inspriation. And you can read it for free on Google books.

Once you’ve read all those, if you’re still thirsty for more TR, definitely give the River of Doubt a read. It’s an engrossing look at the arduous Amazonian journey TR took at the end of his life. If you aren’t in awe of TR after reading the above books, this will give you a real appreciation for the man.


{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Michael Slider October 27, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Read The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt this summer. Inspirational and highly recommended.

Joseph October 27, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Thanks for the recommendations. The only book I’ve read about his life is ‘Mornings on Horseback’ by David McCullough. An in depth look into his family, childhood, & upbringing. He was a paragon of manliness.

Jake October 27, 2011 at 5:18 pm

I’ve been reading a lot about Theodore Roosevelt…just finished Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough and will read Theodore Rex soon. He was one awesome man!
Isn’t it his 153rd birthday today, though?

Charles October 27, 2011 at 5:23 pm

Read the rise after a recommendation on this site. It is the greatest book I have read. What a guy, he is awe inspiring! I have Theodore Rex ready for the Christmas break.
Thanks for the introduction. Life certainly got richer from getting to know the great TR.

Brett McKay October 27, 2011 at 5:40 pm

Right you are Charles–I had 1901 (beginning of his presidential term) in my head. My brain needs a break.

Brenden October 28, 2011 at 10:08 am

I am about 5 chapters in to The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and it is already in my list of top books ever read.

BJ Davis October 28, 2011 at 10:13 am

Jim, Will done! Medal of Honor recipient! America, it would not be the land of the free, if it were not the home of the brave! TR was America.

David Y October 28, 2011 at 11:22 am

Thanks Brett.

I’ve been reading more history lately. TR has been high on my list. Will add these to my ‘to read’ list.

George Bailey October 28, 2011 at 11:55 am

I read The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt this past summer. It is a large book but it was an amazing book. Read very much like a novel, but with the life the former president lived it’s not too hard to make it sound interesting.

Chris October 28, 2011 at 2:38 pm

These are great recommendations. I’d add another, mostly because it focuses on a specific event from history, and that focus provides special insight on the man. The book is Hot Time in the Old Town: The Great Heat Wave of 1896 and the Making of Theodore Roosevelt, by Edward Kohn. It’s a well-researched, well-told tale of a major event in Roosevelt’s life.

Guy October 28, 2011 at 4:38 pm

Every book I read about Teddy was great, Colonel Roosevelt…awesome book, Mornings on Horseback, Roosevelt the Explorer. We could certainly use him in office today!!!

Joe October 29, 2011 at 9:43 am

Edmund Morris’ biographical trilogy is some of the best reading available. Excellent work. TR is a great inspiration in my life. David McCullough is another talented author. On the downside Imperial Cruise by James Bradley is not well written and at times seems the author’s only purpose is bashing TR.

Jim October 31, 2011 at 10:16 am

I am looking forward to reading several of the above mentioned books, additionally I downloaded several books written by President T.Roosevelt, including “Through the Brazillian Wilderness”. If you want a book written in Mr. Roosevelts own style to get to know him better, there it is. Several of his books are available at no charge on Amazon in digital form. It is my nightly reading for a while now, giving me some food for dreams, and thoughts for my son.

Pat November 8, 2011 at 11:33 am

I never knew much about TR and when I visited Mt. Rushmore and saw in person the greats he was sculpted amongst. I decided to read about him to verify for myself why he was included on that mountain. I am about to read Colonel Roosevelt to finish the Morris works. What a great American life, what an exciting and powerful American era, and what a life well lived by this man. TR is now among my favorite Presidents.

Iks February 5, 2012 at 12:05 am

Can you tell me your opinion about this book and Thank you for this article. I was finding some recommendation for the books about him because I’m very impressed by him thank to the articles from you! ..!!

Tom March 22, 2015 at 1:19 pm

Regarding the three books that Edmund Morris wrote: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, Theodore Rex, and Colonel Roosevelt. Is there an order in which they should be read? Will I get a complete biography from birth to death? Can someone please respond to my email address: [email protected]. Thanks.

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