The Seven Worlds of Theodore Roosevelt was written by Edward Wagenknecht in 1958, on the centennial celebration of Roosevelt’s birthday. Fifty years later, on the sesquicentennial of Roosevelt’s birthday, Edmund Morris, esteemed Roosevelt biographer, calls it the best overall survey of the most poly-faceted President in our history. I would rank Morris’ own three-volume work higher, as I would H.W. Brands’ biography, The Last Romantic.
But this book is outstanding and takes a unique angle. The author writes on “seven worlds” of Roosevelt:
- Action – “his physicality, an almost overwhelming, perpetual discharge of energy.”
- Thought – reading and writing; “he consumed between three and five hundred books a year.”
- Human Relations – his relationship with people outside his family and his character traits, good and bad.
- Family – “I have had the happiest home life of any man I have ever known.”
- Spiritual Values – his views on God and Christianity (a bit obtuse since Roosevelt was private about his religious views).
- Public Affairs – Roosevelt as President and as a government official.
- War and Peace – his, at times, disconcerting views on battle and war; he begged
President Wilson to give him special permission to fight in World War I at age 60.
This is an erudite, fair-minded biography of the ever-fascinating and flawed Theodore Roosevelt.