One president’s journey is never limited to just his time spent in the White House. Any biographer and author will gloss over the president’s life without hesitation, and spend the majority of the book’s message on his time as a president. This is probably the author’s intention and there’s nothing wrong with that. With most president’s that wouldn’t be such a big deal, but with Theodore Roosevelt, every day could be compiled into a book. In Theodore Roosevelt Abroad: Nature, Empire, and the Journey of an American President by J. Lee Thompson, chronicles Roosevelt’s departure from the White House with the 1908 election of William Howard Taft. J. Lee Thompson, currently a professor at Lamar, received his B.A. and his M.A. from the University of Houston in 1973 and 1992. Thompson’s research interests include modern Britain and Europe, the British Empire, British politics, and propaganda. Thompson has written four books previously consisting of topics such as: Alfred Milner and Lord Northcliffe. Thompson served as the president of the Western Conference on British Studies from 2004-2006, and was visiting fellow at Wolfson College, Cambridge University, in 2006 and 2009. Currently doing research on Theodore Roosevelt and his time during the Great War, Dr. Thompson has the adequate resume to cover such an illuminating figure.
In Theodore Roosevelt Abroad, Thompson proves that Roosevelt’s years in the White House were not enough to fully appreciate Roosevelt’s life. Some readers may know that growing up as a little kid; Roosevelt had many problems concerning his health. To combat this, Roosevelt’s father developed an exercise routine for Theodore to combat his symptoms. Knowing this makes the story far more compelling story to read. This book focuses on the eighteen months following his presidency where Roosevelt spent almost a year on an African Safari. Theodore’s original intent was to vacation after reaching the peak of his political career, yet Roosevelt was faced a different type of political challenge.
While embarking on a year-long safari in Africa with its purpose of collecting specimens for the Natural History Museum, Roosevelt spends many months shooting small and large game. Roosevelt has always been a man seeking an adventure; he was able to merge his passions for hunting and collecting various specimens in the United States. This safari was supported by likes of Carnegie; Theodore Roosevelt dedicates himself to gathering knowledge of the numerous animals in Africa. Subsequently, Roosevelt travels the countries of Europe, giving speeches, and trying to establish peace and order.
Thompson’s account of Roosevelt’s African safari utilizes a mixture of events, speeches, and quotes to illustrate the entanglements in American politics. These illustrations helped to propel Roosevelt into the political landscape of the time. Following his year and a half long vacation, Roosevelt winds up running for…