“The purpose of this study is to provide a detailed report on the book “The Rough Riders” which was written by Theodore Roosevelt and published in New York by Charles Scribner’s sons in the year 1899. The book provides a detailed version of the Rough Riders, the First United States Volunteer Cavalry that was involved in the Spanish American War. Theodore Roosevelt, the author of the book, participated in this war.
Additionally, the book is a nonfiction account of the Cuban war which was fought between the U.S.A. and Spain in Cuba and in which the Rough Riders, whose leader was Theodore Roosevelt, were active participants.
The review of this book would be incomplete without a look at the man responsible for the work. The author of the book, Theodore Roosevelt rose from being a sickly child to holding various prestigious posts in the land such as a commissioner of police, an assistant secretary of the navy and finally, he became the 26th president of the U.S.A. The author is a central character in the course of the events within the book and his role is not disputed. He is known to have resigned from the navy, where he had been working as an assistant secretary in 1898. These decisions was informed by his desire regroup and reorganize the Rough Riders who formed the bulk of the personnel in the Spanish American War.
Roosevelt mobilized an assorted group of miners, cowboys, Native Americans and law enforcement agents to join the outfit and some of their successes include the ultimate capture of Kettle Hill and the seizure of the San Juan Ridge. The author of the book was originally the deputy to the first commander of the unit, Colonel Edward Wood and upon the change of position for Wood to the lead commander of the second cavalry Brigade, Roosevelt took the reins and the Rough Riders became known as Roosevelt’s Rough Riders. The author has described the activities that he was involved in as the leader of the unit such as the preparation of the men and their horses through training, assembling and transportation to war besides a description of many who took part in the war alongside him.
The book generally consists of the descriptions of the everyday lives of soldiers that are at war in the year 1898 and it is remarkable how their experiences are the same as those of modern day soldiers while at war. The problems that face them in the year 1898 such as acquisition of material and resources, onerous red tape besides the logistical headache of transporting large groups of people are the same ones that are experienced by troops in battlefield today. The author constantly berated the waste, bureaucratic red tape and ineptitude exhibited by the regime and military leadership at Washington as attested to by his constant reference to it.
The book begins with Roosevelt himself talking of the possibility of war with Spain as well as his idea of assembling the volunteers.
He considered war with Spain to be inevitable although the approach of the author to this war seems more like an adventure and his various statements away from the book whereby he supported any war that the United States of America would have wanted to engage in reinforce this. In spite of the fact that the blowing up of a battleship Maine located at the Cuban harbor outraged Americans, there seems to be no reason that can justify this war to date but the author actively advocated for it and promoted it. In retrospect, the war seems to have been a platform or an avenue of the men to prove their worth and the author is full of praises for his men for so doing. In spite of the fact that the author seems to have embraced the war with child like excitement, he spends a significant amount of time narrating the tragedies of the war as well. This is seen in his narration of the men that were killed at battle which has been done in a sad and soulful way.
Other things that the author has dwelt on in the course of the book include the transportation of the men to Cuba, their stay while in Cuba and their journey out of Cuba. The author outlines his responsibilities as well as the difficulties that he encountered while carrying out these responsibilities, which included the provision of food supplies to his troops and the guaranteeing the wellbeing of his troops after battles. Over one sixth of the troops of the United States of America perished in the war according to the statistics in the book and the author keeps comparing his troops with those of the Spaniards. The book also has a detailed account of the men that were injured and those that were killed in the battle besides the changes in the leadership of the unit that saw him rise to head.
The language with which the book is written is typical of the time within which the author lived and within which the events narrated in the novel unfolded. Today, that kind of language is looked at as archaic but it still manages to bring out the desires and yearnings of Roosevelt and his companions at the time; world acclaimed personal and group achievement. The author constantly gives praise to other individuals that ate part of the book and it is obvious though that this praise is deserved.
The attitudes and opinions of the author towards various issues have been brought out well in the book such as the attitudes towards “colored” fighters and the opinions of the unit of itself. The perceptions held by most white Americans towards other races during those days have been captured in the book through the description of the behavior of “colored” soldiers as “well behaved but heavily dependent on their white officers”. In addition, the rare occurrence of the “colored” soldiers accepting responsibility and taking the necessary initiative was perceived as strange happening whose chance or likelihood of recurrence was very little…”
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