Cover image for I rose like a rocket : the political education of Theodore Roosevelt
I rose like a rocket : the political education of Theodore Roosevelt
Grondahl, Paul, 1959-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Free Press, [2004]

Physical Description:
ix, 448 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E757 .G76 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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"In I Rose like a Rocket, Paul Grondahl reveals the true story of Roosevelt's preparation for the White House: not one of self-making so much as a classic political education. From his earliest days as an assemblyman in Albany to his service as police commissioner in New York and civil service commissioner in Washington, Roosevelt learned invaluable lessons from the giants of his day. He was nearly roughed up twice by Democratic toughs in Albany and he suffered terrible defeats at the more-experienced hands of machine masters "Easy Boss" Thomas C. Platt and "Honest John" Kelly; yet he also learned how to manipulate and co-opt the press, how to harness public pressure and bipartisan allies, and how to fight for his desires from sunrise to sunset and beyond."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Teddy Roosevelt began his political career in 1882 as an assemblyman in the New York State Legislature. For the 23-year-old, it was a world much different from his life in Manhattan's Gramercy Park neighborhood. A decade later he served two years as New York's governor; he also served as assistant secretary of the navy in Washington, as police commissioner in Manhattan, and in the U.S. Volunteer Cavalry (the Rough Riders) in the Spanish-American War. In 1901, Roosevelt became the vice president under McKinley. Grondahl asserts that it was during Roosevelt's term as governor that he experimented with the emerging political philosophy he would fully develop during his presidency. He points out that New York politics taught Roosevelt the realities of campaigning for, winning, and retaining office. Drawing on a wealth of material--the bibliography lists almost 100 books--Grondahl has written an imposing biography, detailing Roosevelt's life before becoming president while offering an absorbing look at his family and the politics (much of it corrupt) of that era. --George Cohen Copyright 2004 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Albany Times Union reporter Grondahl (Mayor Corning: Albany Icon, Albany Enigma) does an outstanding job of documenting Theodore Roosevelt's evolution from brash young political reformer to shrewd and pragmatic political operator, always with his eye on various idealistic prizes. Grondahl first introduces readers to Roosevelt as a boyish, scrawny 23-year-old arriving in Albany during the snowy January of 1882 for his first term in the New York State legislature. He then proceeds to show how the upstart scion of New York's Knickerbocker elite learned to deal with such corrupt and wily operators as "Big John" McManus, "Boss" Tweed, Roscoe Conkling and Tammany enforcer Richard Croker. As Grondahl painstakingly documents, this phase of Roosevelt's life proved to be a vital first step in his political coming-of-age. What he learned in Albany set the stage for the next round in his education as federal civil service commissioner in Washington, D.C., during the late 1880s and early '90s and his colorful tenure as police commissioner of New York City (1895-1897). Moving through these positions and subsequent posts (assistant secretary of the navy, commander of the Rough Riders, governor of New York, vice-president and president), Roosevelt grew as a politician in ways painted quite deftly by Grondahl. Starting off as an uncompromising but ineffective crusader riding a high horse, Roosevelt ended up as a studied master of brinksmanship and deal maker, capable of forging vital political alliances that resulted in meaningful political reform. Agent, Dan Mandel. (June 10) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This year marks the centennial of Theodore Roosevelt's only election to the presidency on his own, as he first succeeded to the nation's highest post on September 14, 1901, after the assassination of William McKinley. Authored by a seasoned Albany, NY, journalist who has published a biography on another New York politician (Mayor Corning: Albany Icon, Albany Enigma), this book makes a significant contribution to the Roosevelt literature. It covers the period from TR's birth in 1856 to 1901, when he made his legendary descent from the state's highest peak for a midnight ride to the presidency. This is the same period covered in the first volume of Edmund Morris's classic The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt, usually considered the ultimate in terms of eloquence and research, which gives us the man as a whole. Grondahl demonstrates a certain flair by focusing more narrowly on TR's "political education," that is, his evolution from inexperienced state legislator to seasoned governor nearly 20 years later. As Grondahl shows, TR fulfilled himself through work in the political arena and is now often considered one of our five best presidents. Grondahl here demonstrates talent as a biographer; the writing is so engaging that readers won't want to put the book down. And perhaps Grondahl has a better feel for New York politics than Morris, as he covers the legislature as part of his job. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries. William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Practical Politics
Chapter 1 Beginnings
Chapter 2 Harvard
Chapter 3 Assembly
Chapter 4 Tragedy
Chapter 5 Badlands
Chapter 6 Washington
Chapter 7 Police Commissioner
Chapter 8 Rough Rider
Chapter 9 Governor
Chapter 10 Vice President
Chapter 11 Ride to the Presidency
Selected Bibliography and Sources