“Zachary Michael Jack has, once again, done us all a great favor, bringing together the writings of Teddy Roosevelt.” –Dr. Jim Pease, Emeritus Associate Professor, Iowa State University
America’s first Green president, Theodore Roosevelt’s credentials as both naturalist and writer are as impressive as they are deep, emblematic of the twenty-sixth President’s unprecedented breadth and energy. While Roosevelt authored policies that grew the public domain by a remarkable 230 million acres, he likewise penned over thirty-five books and an estimated 150,000 letters, many concerning the natural world. In between drafts both personal and political, scientific and sentimental, he quadrupled existing forest reserves while creating the nation’s first fifty wildlife refuges and eighteen national monuments, among them the Grand Canyon, and five national parks, headlined by Yosemite. And Roosevelt was far more than a policy wonk and political do-gooder. John Muir, by his own admission, “fairly fell in love with him.” John Burroughs wrote that Roosevelt “probably knew tenfold more natural history than all the presidents who preceded him.” And the Smithsonian’s Edmund Heller dubbed him the “foremost field naturalist of our time.” In addition to creating more than 150,000 new acres of national forest, Roosevelt made a new vogue of sportsmanship, famously refusing to shoot a lame bear in Mississippi and inspiring, thereof, an American icon and ecological fetish all at once: the Teddy Bear. Indeed, Roosevelt’s Green undertakings produced a truly living legacy-one whose everlasting qualities he took robust pleasure in. Naturalist William Finley once suggested to TR that the President’s environmental prescience would serve as “one of the greatest memorials to [his] farsightedness,” to which Roosevelt replied, “Bully. I had rather have it than a hundred stone monuments.” In fact, Roosevelt would have both-a lasting reputation for environmental protection and timeless stone monuments at Mount Rushmore and elsewhere built to honor his dramatic public policy initiatives. This book will be a critical resource for all those in American history (particularly presidential history), environmental history, environmental studies, nature studies, place studies, Agrarian studies, conservation studies, fish and wildlife biology/management, and ecology.