This biography of Theodore Roosevelt focuses on his work as a naturalist. I had no idea what a difficult life Roosevelt had, including childhood battles with asthma and the deaths of his wife and mother on the same day.

Lunde captures the milieu of the late nineteenth century. Hunting was a popular sport due to both the familiarity of Civil War veterans with firearms, and newly invented cartridge guns (which were easier to use than ball-and-powder rifles). At the time hunting was viewed positively as a way of engaging with nature.

Another phenomonen that this book makes clear is how the idea of “wilderness” was still in the process of being invented. This idea is explored in much more detail in William Cronon’s essay “The Trouble with Wilderness”.

Related reviews include No Picnic on Mt. Kenya and Beyond the Hundredth Meridian. There is also a tangential connection to King Leopold’s Ghost.