Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Focus on History: THE WILDERNESS WARRIOR by Douglas Brinkley and MASTERS AND COMMANDERS by Andrew Roberts

The Wilderness Warrior by Douglas Brinkley

In The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, Douglas Brinkley draws on never-before-published materials to examine the life and achievements of Theodore Roosevelt, our “naturalist president,” who, by setting aside more than 230 million acres of wild America for posterity between 1901 and 1909, made conservation a universal endeavor.

Tracing the role that nature played in Roosevelt’s storied career, Brinkley illuminates Roosevelt’s bird watching in the Adirondacks, wildlife obsession in Yellowstone, hikes in the Blue Ridge Mountains, ranching in the Dakota Territory, hunting in the Big Horn Mountains, and outdoor romps through Idaho and Wyoming. He also profiles Roosevelt’s incredible circle of naturalist friends, and brings to life hilarious anecdotes of wild-pig hunting in Texas and badger saving in Kansas, wolf catching in Oklahoma and grouse flushing in Iowa. Even the story of the teddy bear gets its definitive treatment. 

Praise for The Wilderness Warrior:

“Although Roosevelt’s presidency ended 100 years ago, Mr. Brinkley finds ways to make his presidential portrait a timely one. . . . The Wilderness Warrior describes a vigorously hands-on president, eager to fight more than one battle at a time. . . . Brinkley’s fervent enthusiasm for his material eventually prevails. . . . He conveys the great vigor with which Roosevelt approached his conservation mission.”—New York Times

"In The Wilderness Warrior, Douglas Brinkley brings into relief the biography, cultural influences, and political record of the most effective conservationist in history. . . . Like the Grand Canyon that as president he more or less rescued from development and mining interests in one fell swoop, Roosevelt is one of those American treasures that can make you wonder how you missed getting around to for so long." —San Francisco Chronicle

Masters and Commanders by Andrew Roberts

Masters and Commanders: How Four Titans Won the War in the West, 1941-1945, explores the degree to which the course of World War II turned on the relationships and temperaments of four of the strongest personalities of the 20th century: political masters Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt and the commanders of their armed forces, General Sir Alan Brooke and General George C. Marshall. Andrew Roberts, whom The Economist calls “Britain’s finest contemporary military historian,” traces the mutual suspicion and admiration, the rebuffs and the charm, the often-explosive disagreements and wary reconciliations, and attempts to answer some of the key questions of Allied strategy. Why, when the most direct route from Germany to Britain was through northwestern France, did the Western Allies launch attacks via North Africa, Sicily, and Rome? Why did the Allies not take Berlin, Vienna, or Prague and allow the Iron Curtain to descend where it did?

Masters and Commanders dramatically recreates the atmosphere, debates, and maneuverings through which Allied grand strategy was forged and reveals the profound impact of personality upon history.

Praise for Masters and Commanders:

"A dramatic story. . . . With his usual brisk and vivid prose, Mr. Roberts shows how these men and their busy staffs overcame conflicting interests and coordinated strategy among the Western Allies to win the war. . . . Mr. Roberts thus captures not only the personalities of World War II's masters and commanders but the dynamics of their relations. . . . Among much else, Mr. Roberts demonstrates that, despite conflicts along the way, military relations among the Western allies during World War II worked far better than during other military engagements before or since."Wall Street Journal

"Compelling. . . . Roberts chronicles in novelistic detail the battles that the Americans and the British fought . . . among themselves. . . . Roberts takes the reader on an invigorating, intellectual march from North Africa and Italy to France and finally into Germany. . . . If Roberts has left a stone unturned, it would have to be a small pebble indeed." Christian Science Monitor

If you are interested in adopting either of these books for a class, you may order an exam copy. If you have already ordered either of these books for a class, please order a complimentary desk copy.

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