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Mornings on Horseback

Mornings on Horseback

Written by David McCullough

Narrated by Nelson Runger


Mornings on Horseback

Written by David McCullough

Narrated by Nelson Runger

ratings:
4.5/5 (65 ratings)
Length:
19 hours
Released:
Jan 4, 2011
ISBN:
9781442342132
Format:
Audiobook

Description

FROM THE #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF JOHN ADAMS
Winner of the 1982 National Book Award for Biography, Mornings on Horseback is the brilliant biography of the young Theodore Roosevelt. Hailed as a masterpiece by Newsday, it is the story of a remarkable little boy -- seriously handicapped by recurrent and nearly fatal attacks of asthma -- and his struggle to manhood.
His father -- the first Theodore Roosevelt, "Greatheart," -- is a figure of unbounded energy, enormously attractive and selfless, a god in the eyes of his small, frail namesake. His mother -- Mittie Bulloch Roosevelt -- is a Southerner and celebrated beauty.
Mornings on Horseback spans seventeen years -- from 1869 when little "Teedie" is ten, to 1886 when he returns from the West a "real life cowboy" to pick up the pieces of a shattered life and begin anew, a grown man, whole in body and spirit.
This is a tale about family love and family loyalty...about courtship, childbirth and death, fathers and sons...about gutter politics and the tumultuous Republican Convention of 1884...about grizzly bears, grief and courage, and "blessed" mornings on horseback at Oyster Bay or beneath the limitless skies of the Badlands.
Released:
Jan 4, 2011
ISBN:
9781442342132
Format:
Audiobook


About the author

David McCullough has twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for Truman and John Adams, and twice received the National Book Award, for The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback. His other acclaimed books include The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, Brave Companions, 1776, The Greater Journey, The American Spirit, and The Wright Brothers. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. Visit DavidMcCullough.com.


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4.4
65 ratings / 34 Reviews
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  • (4/5)
    way too short!
  • (5/5)
    I hereby join the chorus in praise of David McCullough. He's great. The NY "Times" calls him "our best social historian," and I'll certainly go along with that.In this book we get a closeup of "Teedy," as he was called by his family. In spite of a sickly, challenging childhood, TR grew up utterly indefatigable. His public life never swerved from the dictates of his conscience, and he changed America by running independently in 1912 (in the election that gave us Woodrow Wilson). The book points obliquely to a yearning to measure up to his over-achieving father, but Teddy's eventual accomplishment cannot be overstated. I finished this book (which devotes only a handful of pages at the end to TR's Presidency, BTW) with a much fuller appreciation of that fellow whose rightful place is in Mt. Rushmore.
  • (5/5)
    Fantastic look into Theodore Roosevelt's childhood and years as a young adult. I'm not entirely sure what I think of him as an adult (I thought he was great when I was young, but as I learned more about history that untarnished view was...well...tarnished). But at the very least, the dude had a crazy adolescence.
  • (5/5)
    I tend to love biographical works by David McCullough and Mornings on Horseback is no exception. Covering the early years of Theodore Roosevelt's life and the lives of his parents and siblings, Mornings on Horseback gives insight to what made up the personality of the greatest American President (in my opinion) that this country ever had. The book goes from early childhood through the announcement of his engagement and marriage to Edith Carow and his re-entry into NY politics with the loss of his run for Mayor.
  • (3/5)
    Some how,, most of McCullough's books leave me wanting more - and not in a good way. Mornings on Horseback is an interesting read on early TR, but I'm glad I had read the Morris and Brand biographies first.
  • (4/5)
    Mornings on Horseback by David McCullough covers the start of the Roosevelt family in United States with many unusual characters and the young Theodore Roosevelt. I was relieved that it was not going to attempt covering his whole life. His life is so interesting and there are so many letters and documents that I think it would have been an overwhelming project. I have already ready read Theodore Roosevelt's book on the Rough Riders (book handed down to me from my grandmother) and intend to slowly cover all parts of his life. I listened to this book on CD and was a little confused by the first CD and part of the second CD, I think that part could have been shortened. But when the story got to Teddy Roosevelt father, I was quickly won over. His father was idealistic and believed in doing the right thing over winning in politics. Had he lived longer, he may have been our first president. He saw to it that his children were well traveled and loved his family with a vigor.Young Theodore was plagued with asthma and the remedies of the times were horrifying, he also seemed awkward. Part of the latter could be that he was later found to be very nearsighted. When he got his first pair of glasses he was delighted and amazed about the world he had been missing. His father gave him a gun and that began his interest in shooting and stuffing them. I so wish that he had been given a camera instead! I learned that I shared a trait with Theodore! He was a persistent researcher. There are problems with that we have both identified! It is hard to know when to start.I really enjoyed the parts about his adventures of being a rancher and it was so sad to learn about the tragedies of his life.I highly recommend the audio version of Mornings on Horseback. There are loads of great stories and fact about Theodore Roosevelt and the story seems to get more addictive as it proceeded.
  • (5/5)
    being an early book for McCullough, this is not as polished as some of his later works, but even so it is a masterpiece. Read it to learn about Theodore Roosevelt, the person, not Theodore Roosevelt, the historical figure.
  • (4/5)
    It took me two weeks to read through this book, but not because it was dull. Quite the contrary--I found it much more compelling than I expected. There's a reason this book is still so highly acclaimed and reviewed after thirty years. McCullough creates an interesting narrative, but the source material helps. The Roosevelts are just plain quirky and interesting. Anyone who delves into research knows original source material is best, and the Roosevelt family kept an incredible number of diaries and letters. Teddy, from the age of ten, kept diaries. As an adult, he wrote many books and was estimated to have written over 150,000 letters. Many of those are cited.Teddy Roosevelt is known for being an asthmatic child, an athletic huntsman as an adult, as a Rough Rider. As a boy he longed for anthropological adventures. He was hunting and doing his own taxidermy before he was a teenager. He was extremely knowledgeable about birds and other wildlife and it's easy to see why as President he did so much to expand the National Park system and establish conservatories. His family was incredibly wealthy but also very close. His older sister, Bamie, was always crippled; other families might have sent her away, but instead the entire family worked around her needs and she became an elderly family matriarch known for her keen mind. Teddy was also tended to by both parents as he suffered from terrible asthma. He wasn't simply handed off to servants. The family lived and suffered together, and survived. His mother was a Georgia girl who became a New York City socialite; during the Civil War, she waited until her pro-Union husband was out of town, and she made care packages to send to her brothers serving in the Confederacy. I could go on and on. There were so many intriguing stories within stories. I really enjoyed the childhood years the most. When Teddy starts into politics, he's harder to relate to. He suffers the terrible blow of losing his beloved mother and his wife on the same day from different illnesses, and just four days after his daughter is born. After that, he retreats to the Bad Lands where he earns respect as a genuine cowboy. I really wish the book had gone on another decade, for my own selfish research purposes, but it ends at a good point: his return to New York City, to a new marriage, and a return to politics.To my own surprise, I'm left wanting to know more about Teddy Roosevelt. I'll be seeking out more books.
  • (1/5)
    Tried to read this one, couldn't get into it. One should read this only if one wants to know the victorian era ultra rich life style.
  • (5/5)
    This is an early McCullough, but still up to his standards. Of course, it's hard to fail with a character like Teddy Roosevelt, but McCullough's approach of concentrating on his early years and emphasizing his relationships with the rest of the family is especially illuminating. The young Roosevelt was a far different character than the charismatic president, and this book shows how it happened.
  • (4/5)
    Fascinating character. This book is all about Teddy Roosevelt's early life before he even becomes President of the United States. Its just as much of a book about TR's father and his family as it is about TR. His father is as interesting a figure as himself. David McCullough does an excellent job of fleshing out all his research into a cohesive and very readable story.
  • (4/5)
    This book was the start of my study of Teddy Roosevelt. It was the tale of his father and siblings and how they all interacted in his early life. With David McCullough as the storyteller, I couldn't go wrong.
  • (4/5)
    Fascinating people and family....good read
  • (2/5)
    A big portion of the book focused on the tight knit Roosevelt family and on Theodore Roosevelt' asthma. He excelled at Harvard and much of his asthma affliction went away. The book up to and after Roosevelt's years in Harvard was pretty good. Then after that the book got far less interesting. I got to feeling as if the last half of the book was condensed and all the good stuff was taken out.
  • (5/5)
    Brilliantly written. McCullough really gets to the heart of what made Teddy Teddy. Some wonderful insights into his personality and the shaping of the man. I still can't get over the image of the patrician Roosevelt investigating the slums and cigar industry with Samuel Gompers. Because Teddy was so easy to caricature, many of us
    do not get beyond the carton image of him tugging the boat through the Panama Canal or walking giant like with his "big Stick." As one of our most dynamic and complex presidents he deserves better and Mr McCullough
    delivers!

    Now please, please, please write a biography of James Madison, Mr. McCullough.
  • (2/5)
    Unusually pedantic for a work by McCullough, I struggled to frame a review until the author, reviewing the subject's naval history, provided me with just the one.

    "...the end result...was dry and tedious, much of it virtually unreadable to anyone without a prior interest in the subject or in the author..."
  • (5/5)
    Read this now! I cannot say enough about David McCullough's books. They leave you wanting to read more!
  • (5/5)
    I really enjoyed this wonderful book. You will love it.
  • (5/5)
    Biography of the great president, though it deliberately covers only his early life (and is thus comparable to Churchill's autobiography "A Roving Commission"); the book stops just at the point where Roosevelt ran, and lost, for Mayor of New York. It covers his childhood, and there's an extensive discussion of the illnesses that beset him, as well as the peculiar family dynamics that certainly shaped his mind. Of some interest is the coverage of his first wife, who was mostly airbrushed out of history. The famous trips out West, which almost literally made a new man of him, are also covered in detail. McCullough is an engaging writer, and this is a good read. Recommended.
  • (5/5)
    McCullough turned his considerable talent for telling the stories of history to the first 27 years of Theodore Roosevelt's life...his sickly childhood, his loving family, his brief first marriage, his "ranching" days, his growth into a man of substance. It's fascinating. Politics generally bores me silly, but I even found myself engrossed in the chapter about the 1884 Chicago Republican convention, which McCullough describes as "crucial" in T.R.'s political life. Just goes to prove what a compelling writer McCullough is.
  • (4/5)
    Winner of the 1982 National Book Award for Biography and Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography

    This work is a wealth of information... well written and extensively researched.

    I came aboard hoping for character studies of family members.
    I'm leaving pleased with McCullough's approach.
    I found character development presented with "penetrating insight" and often intimate detail.
    You couldn't help but come to a deeper understanding of family members and their "diversity"

    The social and political environment of the time was adequately addressed.

    Amidst it all... I enjoyed the experience of the metamorphosis and intensity of this period of Theodore Roosevelt's life.

    ★ ★ ★ ★
  • (2/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Sad to say it, but I found this book terribly boring. And the narrator, Nelson Runger, made it worse with his slow cadence and lack of energy. I think McCullough picked the most boring section of Roosevelt’s otherwise interesting life and then went over every documented detail with painstaking care. Here’s what I learned about Roosevelt:* He came from a god-awfully rich family and his mother was Southerner * 'Mornings on Horseback' refers to family rides near their summer estate on Long Island when Teddy was a kid, not his Rough Rider days.* During his childhood the most severe adversity TR had to overcome was asthma.* He was well traveled as a child, with a long excursion to Europe and a trip on the Nile.* He was very interested in natural science, liked to shoot every animal in sight and practiced taxidermy.* His first wife and mother died on the same day.* Early in his political career TR got fed up with it and threw his money and some time into a ranch in the Dakotas.There, I just saved you 19 hours of your life. You’re welcome : )

    1 person found this helpful

  • (5/5)
    Magnificent book by McCullough. A little hard for me to get into at first, but once I did I found it most intriguing. Really not sure what to think of Mr. Roosevelt; a bit of genius and oddball for sure. I particularly liked the atmosphere of the day and a glimpse into the very top echelons of society at the time. McCullough obviously did his homework.
  • (4/5)
    Thorough and engaging biography. I found myself going back and forth as to my feelings for Mr. Roosevelt, but I was always anxious to get back to reading!
  • (4/5)
    This is my second David McCullough's book. Before this book I read "1776" which was my introduction to David McCullough as an Historian (you can see my review of "1776" at shahbookclub.blogspot.com). "Mornings on Horseback" is about young Theodore Roosevelt, who was the 26th president of United States of America. It accounts 17 years of his life from his childhood to the time when he lost his election for mayor of New York. I had never known anything about him before reading this book except that he was the president of United States of America. I think the whole book can be well summarized by the subtital of the book which states "The story of an extraordinary family, a vanished way of life, and the unique child who became Theodore Roosevelt". Some snapshots of his life discussed in the book include his paternal and maternal lineage; relationship of Theodore Roosevelt Sr. and Mittie with their children, role Theodore Roosevelt Sr. played in development of social and educational institutions in New York; relationship of Theodore with his siblings especially the role his elder sister played in his life from the begining; Theodore life's at Harvard; then his first love; and his early year in politics. The parts of his life which fascinated me were his struggle with asthma, when he moved to west for cattle farming and his childhood obcession with nature. Theodore had to battle with asthma since early childhood. As there was no form of pharmacologic therapy available back then, he had to suffer a lot. The treatment options available were even more terrible or unpleasant than the disease itself. For example the common way to avert an attack was to make the patient violentally ill, to dose him with ipecac or with incredibly nauseating potions made of garlic and mustard seed and "vinegar of squills" a dried plant also used for rat poison. Children were sometimes given enemas or sometimes plunged into cold baths. Other options included whiskey and gin; laudanum (opium + wine), Indian Hemp (marijuana); chloroform; fumes of burning nitrate paper; smoke from dried jimson weed; cigars and medicinal ciggarrett; patient was sometime made to vomit violently and that sometime worked. It was even considered at that time that asthma was actually a 'brain disease'. But today whole concept of pathogenesis and treatment of asthma is different. I think I don't need to explain why i liked Theodore's venture in the west as a cowboy in Dakota (It's because anything western, whether movie or book, I am going to like it anyway). But how Theodore managed to live there was very entertaining. And Theodore's obcession or love of nature is quite extraordinary. I have never seen, met or read about a person who was so in love with nature. Though naturalists at that time were mostly involved in hunting/killing of animals, which many people may consider unethical or cruel now-a-days. But his enthusiasm and love of nature was not a short lived passion but a life long attribute, as he later on moved to create many American National Parks. As far as the book is concerned, it's narrative style is very simple and you get know Theodore from his childhood not just the politician/president Theodore. I certainly recommend this book. And as I promised before I am certainly going to read every book written by David McCullough. He certainly is an exceptional author and definatively one of my favorite.
  • (5/5)
    I am really, really glad I chose this as an audio book. I don't think I would have had the patience for an out and out page turning book. Don't get me wrong. The writing is amazing. David McCullough can hold your attention like no other. The story in itself is extremely detailed and reads like a pool liner breaking - slow and trickling at first but by the end gushing out of control. It follows the lives of not just Theodore Roosevelt (the man we think of as President) but also the lives of his parents, siblings, and other important figures in his life. Indeed, the building up of Theodore Roosevelt's childhood with his family is meticulous and yet his adult, political years and presidency are hardly touched upon with the same amount of detail. Those years are mentioned almost as an afterthought in the wrap-up. What Mornings on Horseback is really good at is describing a culture; what it means to born into privilege. It is also really good at painting the complete picture of the Roosevelt clan from a genealogical perspective. The reader is immersed in the lives of everyone and not just the future president of the United States. From a listener standpoint I enjoyed every word.
  • (5/5)
    Easily the best biography I have ever read - the best biography of anyone, not just TR. McCullogh's writing style flows so smoothly. The detail he provides about all of the Roosevelt family makes this such an interesting read.
  • (4/5)
    Although a frequent reader of memoirs, I’ve never been drawn to presidential ones. Recently, however, I was recently given a copy of River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard and, aside from the personal merits of the book, I was intrigued by the enormous personality of Teddy Roosevelt. In particular, some comments in the book about TR’s childhood struggles with asthma and his drive to overcome his physical weaknesses interested me. So a natural follow-up read was Mornings on Horseback which covers the childhood and youth of TR up to the age of twenty-eight. Winner of the National Book Award and penned by the acclaimed social historian, David McCullough, I was not surprised that the book was well-researched and well-written. Mornings on Horseback begins with TR’s parents, interesting people in their own right, and widens to include not only the extended Roosevelt clan, but also the ideology of an entire class of people into which TR was born. McCullough blends this social history with the personal story of a boy who could have been a brilliant natural historian and subsequent young man who strives to meet his father’s expectations, a man he idolized for his compassion and strength. Where I think McCullough goes beyond a run of the mill biography is in his analysis of how TR was both a victim and a manipulator of his asthma; his relationship with the women in his life, especially his sister, Bamie; and the effect the idea of the West had on TR’s imagination.Although not the page turner of River of Doubt, Mornings on Horseback was an enjoyable read, especially for a novice reader of presidential memoirs.
  • (4/5)
    This book has broad popular appeal because it is about the early family history of Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (Teedie to family members). It is also a story of the life and activities of a rich 19th Century family told in incredible detail. Family members wrote many long letters (most of them saved) and some also kept journals providing the author sufficient documentation to allow this surprisingly intimate account to be written over a hundred years later. The ailment of asthma is discussed in considerable detail in the book. I found it fascinating that the author had sufficient documentation that he was able to recognize patterns in the timing of asthma attacks suffered by the young Theodore that were not noticed by Theodore himself or his contemporaries. The family appears to have suffered from more than their share of health problems. There are also descriptions of ailments that would probably be diagnosed as mental illness today. Theodore’s father is portrayed as being a (almost) perfect father and family man. If he had a fault it was that he was so good that the rest of the family was made to feel inadequate for not living up to his standards. In general, the family and Theodore Jr. himself come across as being somewhat strange to the 21st Century reader. But one has to admit that almost any family examined this closely will appear a bit strange in their own ways.
  • (4/5)
    Excellent! McCullough focuses on TR's early life and family as he shows the development of TR's character. A superb book that takes you back in time to a forgotten way of life. I highly recommend for anyone who wants to understand TR.