Book Review: Teddy Roosevelt and Leonard Wood: Partners in Command


by John S. D. Eisenhower

Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri, 2014. Pp. xiv, 192. Illus., maps, append., notes., biblio., index. $40.00. ISBN: 0826220002

Two Men Who Helped Shape America’s Rise as a Great Power

In this book, the late John Eisenhower look s at the long friendship between two men, one still an iconic figure and the other largely forgotten save by historians, who played important roles in shaping America’s rise as a world power from the 1890s through the Great War.  This is not primarily a biographical work , though Eisenhower does give the reader a good look at the backgrounds and lives of both men, each in his own way a surprisingly unique person.  The pair hit it off on their first meeting, in 1897 .  Within months they had organized and led the “Rough Riders” in Cuba, which brought both national fame, and their lives and careers were intertwined thereafter

Eisenhower does a good job of covering the often complex interactions between the two, showing how they helped shape American military institutions and policies .  This war particularly so during Roosevelt’s White House years (1901-1909) and later when Wood was Army Chief of Staff (1910-1914).

Eisenhower is particularly good about the role the two men played in preparing America for World War I, in which they both sought but were denied front line service.  He seems , however, not to have known about Roosevelt’s years in the New York National Guard, an obscure episode in the man’s career, and he might profitably have expanded his very brief account of Roosevelt’s and Wood’s proposed “Rough Rider” division for World War I.  But these two points are relatively minor within the otherwise excellent portrait he paints of this important friendship.

Reviewer: A.A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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