A Bully Father: Theodore Roosevelt’s Letters to His Children

To begin with, the term ‘bully’ in this sense does not equate itself with the schoolyard bully and his band of thugs and cretins who always leaned on you for your milk money. Rather, the term as Roosevelt used it, was reminiscent of such terms as ‘good’, ‘great’, and/or ‘wonderful.’ And indeed, that is what he was: a great president, a great family man, and truly the kind of person you want running your empire.

A Bully Father spends about eighty-three pages giving you all sorts of interesting information about TR, such as the time he shot a hole in the roof of his Long Island house to show his son the new rifle he bought him was real and not just a toy. It also gives some of the rather darker sides to TR’s life, such as his first born, his daughter Alice lived with his sister for a good three years before she was collected and TR decided to settle down from his western adventures and marry again.

At around page ninety-two the letters begin and end on pages two-hundred forty-six. The first one is a letter to home from the Cuban front during the Spanish American War; the last two involve his great safari in 1911 after having lost the election running on his own Bull Moose ticket. The last few pages of the book merely chronicle the demise of each of the Roosevelts, starting with Teddy himself.

On the whole the book made for interesting reading and was pretty informative. Thus, on our worn and shattered Official New World Otter Rating Scale I give it a 6 out of 6…. 6 what you ask? Why, soulless penguins of course. Get it. Read it. Enjoy.

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Ray Macula

Ray Macula