Rough Riders: Theodore Roosevelt, His Cowboy Regiment, and the Immortal Charge Up San Juan Hill
Rough Riders is not just another biography of Theodore Roosevelt as much as a biography of a rag tag group of men gathered out of a sense of patriotism to fight against a natural enemy, in this case, Spain. Teddy Roosevelt had a cross to bear as his father had skipped out on service in the Civil War, calls of entitlement had dogged him throughout the years. He became Assistant Secretary of the Navy in 1897, but would seek active service in the US Military as the country girded for war against Spain, especially after the sinking of the Maine in 1898. Roosevelt would become a Lt. Colonel in the First US Volunteer Cavalry that would set out for Cuba.The mass of volunteers would be hindered by the limited amount of space in the regiment. Colorful characters from NY all the way to Arizona would merge into a cohesive group that would face limited supplies, hazardous weather conditions, food-borne illness, and still manage to triumph in Cuba and defeat the Spaniards. Rough Riders is an examination of soldiers fighting for their country, led by an intrepid adventurer with something to prove. Teddy Roosevelt loved his country and longed to prove his mettle. His men loved him, his leadership wasn’t perfect, but he was effective and knew when to take chances. Mark Lee Gardner’s trip back into the turbulent 1890s conflict illustrates Roosevelt as a natural born leader who would be march from leadership of the Rough Riders to running the United States only 3 years later. It would be a stepping stone that he wouldn’t take for granted. A great, must read about a fascinating individual.
Mark Lee Gardner