Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Forging a President by William Hazelgrove

   


Forging a President: How the Wild West Created Teddy Roosevelt by William Hazelgrove

“There are few sensations I prefer to that of galloping over these rolling limitless prairies, with rifle in hand, or winding my way among the barren, fantastic and grimly picturesque deserts of the so-called Bad Lands.”
—Theodore Roosevelt

He was born a city boy in Manhattan; but it wasn’t until he lived as a cattle rancher and deputy sheriff in the wild country of the Dakota Territory that Theodore Roosevelt became the man who would be president. “I have always said I would not have been president had it not been for my experience in North Dakota,” Roosevelt later wrote. It was in the “grim fairyland” of the Bad Lands that Roosevelt became acquainted with the ways of cowboys, Native Americans, trappers, thieves, and wild creatures–and it was there that his spirit was forged and tested. In Forging a President, author William Hazelgrove uses Roosevelt’s own reflections to immerse readers in the formative seasons that America’s twenty-sixth president spent in “the broken country” of the Wild West.

 
Praise for Forging a President

"A masterful evocation! Forging a President will have readers breathing the dust, chasing the steers, facing--and facing down--the many challenges of young Theodore Roosevelt in his cowboy years. An amazing tale of American synergy: TR's famous exploits as a rancher helped create the historical mythos of the Wild West...as the untamed cattle country turned the sickly dude from the East into the physical marvel of bravery and endurance that virtually were brands of the Roosevelt we know. William Hazelgrove illustrates what Theodore Roosevelt meant when he said he never would have become president if it were not for his time in the Badlands." -- RICK MARSCHALL, author of Bully! The Life and Times of Theodore Roosevelt and advisory board member of the Theodore Roosevelt Association  

Excerpt:

Prologue Teddy Roosevelt had just finished dinner at the Gilpatrick Hotel in Milwaukee and was walking to his car—he was to give a speech in the Milwaukee Auditorium. The election of 1912 had been vitriolic with Roosevelt bolting the Republican Party and forming his own third party, the Bull Moose Party. Roosevelt was sure he could beat the incumbent William Howard Taft and the Democratic candidate, the former Princeton President, Woodrow Wilson. He reveled in giving speeches and attacking Taft as incompetent, and Wilson as an egghead who had the demeanor of a “druggist.” He now planned to deliver another rousing speech and had the fifty-page manuscript stuffed in his coat pocket, folded twice behind his steel glasses case. John Schrank, a thirty-six-year-old psychotic and former New York saloon keeper, approached Theodore Roosevelt. Schrank believed that deceased President McKinley had spoken to him in his dreams, proclaiming that no man should run for a third term. Schrank had bought a fourteen-dollar Colt .38 and fifty-five cents worth of bullets, and had been following Roosevelt through New Orleans, Atlanta, Charleston, and Tennessee, ever since the dead McKinley had risen in his coffin and pointed to him and said, “Avenge my death.” While waiting to shoot Roosevelt in Milwaukee, he had passed the time drinking beer in a local bar and smoking Jack Pot cigars. Now his opportunity came. Roosevelt had just sat down in an open car in front of the hotel. Schrank approached him and Roosevelt rose to shake his hand when the assassin raised the .38 caliber pistol and fired. Roosevelt fell back into the car as the bullet entered his chest after piercing the steel glasses case and the folded manuscript pages of his speech. The bullet entered under his right nipple and lodged in his ribs. The ex-President immediately took out a handkerchief and dabbed his mouth to see if his lungs had been hit. He then proclaimed he wouldn’t go to the hospital, but would deliver his scheduled speech. Dr. Terrell, his physician, insisted he go to the hospital. Roosevelt would have none of it. “You get me to that speech. It may be the last one I shall deliver, but I am going to deliver this one!” Theodore Roosevelt went to the auditorium and spoke for more than ninety minutes while bleeding under his coat—thundering to the crowd the immortal line, “It takes more than a bullet to stop a bull moose!”1 The crowd loved it. And when Roosevelt went to the hospital, the doctors opted to leave the bullet lodged in his chest. He sent a telegram to his wife Edith, informing her that he was not nearly as badly hurt as he had been falling from a horse. He boarded a train for a Chicago hospital and changed into a clean shirt and asked for a hot shave. He hummed as he shaved and then climbed into the train compartment bed and fell asleep, sleeping like a child. In the press, people expressed astonishment that a man who had been shot at point-blank range could give a speech for an hour and a half. But they truly expected no less from Teddy Roosevelt. The sickly, asthmatic son of a rich man in Manhattan was born in the East; the Bull Moose who spoke for an hour and a half with a .38 caliber bullet lodged in his chest, well, he was born in the West.
  

Author William Hazelgrove

William Elliott Hazelgrove is the best-selling author of ten novels and four works of nonfiction. Ripples, Tobacco Sticks, Mica Highways, Rocket Man, The Pitcher, Real Santa, Jackpine, My Best Year, The Bad Author and The Pitcher 2, Hemingways Attic, Madam President The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson, Forging a President, How the Wild West Created Teddy Roosevelt, and Gangsters and Nymhs. His books have received starred reviews in Publisher Weekly and Booklist, Book of the Month Selections, Literary Guild Selections, History Book Club Selections, Junior Library Guild Selections, ALA Editors Choice Awards and optioned for the movies. He was the Ernest Hemingway Writer in Residence where he wrote in the attic of Ernest Hemingway's birthplace. He has written articles and reviews for USA Today and other publications. He has been the subject of interviews in NPR's All Things Considered along with features in The New York Times, LA Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Richmond Times Dispatch, USA Today, People, Channel 11, NBC, WBEZ, WGN. The Pitcher is a Junior Library Guild Selection and was chosen Book of the Year by Books and Authors. net. His next book Jackpine will be out Spring 2014 with Koehler Books. A follow up novel Real Santa will be out fall of 2014. Madam President The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson will be out Fall 2016. Storyline optioned the movie rights. Forging a President How the West Created Teddy Roosevelt will be out May 2017. He runs a political cultural blog, The View From Hemingway's Attic.


amazon or paypal  $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Giveaway

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Friday, May 5, 2017

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins

Notwithstanding the huge, huge weight of expectation which rests on her slender shoulders, bestselling author Paula Hawkins who rose to instant fame with her monstrous psychological debut thriller, The Girl on the Train, returns with a tousled thriller which may or may not receive the same adulation as her first outing but will still be lapped up by her millions of fans worldwide. In The Girl on the Train, the focus of the plot was on three women, with a dysfunctional protagonist taking centre-stage. Whittling down the number to two, but not necessarily the pace and suspense of the plot, Paula Hawkins’ Into the Water focuses on two sisters who have not seen each other for many years now. If the emotional turmoil of the characters are at the heart of her first novel, then expect her second novel to flow on a similar plane albeit in a very different direction.

Into the Water by Paula Hawkins is set in the fictional small town of Beckford, Northumberland, through which runs a river. There is a spot in the river called the Drowning Pool, which the folks of the town described as "infected by the blood and bile of persecuted women." Over the years, this bend in the river has become the graveyard for considerable number of women. And this sleepy town is home to a celebrated writer, photographer and single mom, Danielle “Nel” Abbott, and her fifteen-year-old daughter Lena. Under disturbing circumstances, Lena’s friend Katie killed herself by jumping into the pool. A few weeks after the death of Katie, Nel’s dead body was also found in the river. At the time of her death, Nel was working on a book about the Drowning Pool and had done extensive research on its history and the victims it claimed. She was convinced that something more sinister than a suicidal tendency was at work in the death of so many women in the pool. In another part of England Jules Abbot swore she'd never set foot in Beckford again, but the death of her sister, Nel, compelled her to return to the home town she fled years earlier and take charge of the niece she had never met before and find out the truth behind the mysterious death of her older sister. Jules find it difficult to believe that her sister who was writing a book on the pool and its victims would purposely kill herself there. An investigation headed by Det. Insp. Sean Townsend was also underway to probe the death of Nel. The author sets up the story nicely, pregnant with possibilities.

Unlike The Girl on the Train, Into the Water is mounted on a gigantic scale with an impressive cast. Readers who are familiar with The Girl on the Train will easily recall that the story was thinly populated, whereas, Into the Water is flooded with an eclectic cast of characters too numerous to mention. If The Girl on the Train was told from the perspective of a dishevelled and unstable narrator, Into the Water is told from a myriad of eleven perspectives. While it is certainly ambitious and extraordinary, there is every chance of the reader getting lost in confusion trying to make sense of the story in the labyrinth of narratives which constantly shifts from the first to third person. But this elaborate narration through different viewpoints with each chapter devoted to a different character will be most certainly appreciated by many readers as it added depth to the characters involved and lends credence to their roles in the story. While it would be too harsh to judge Into the Water on the scale of The Girl on the Train, this story of a small town with big secrets which explores the psychology of relationships and the unreliability of memory leaves me with the gut feeling that memory is just simply a storehouse of imagination and, sometimes, things do not appear as they really are.

If you expect another The Girl on the Train or The Girl on the Train II, you’ll be sorely disappointed. But if you read and judge Into the Water on its own merit, you’ve got yourself another winner from Paula Hawkins.

The Great Passage by Shion Miura

For many fiction lovers, a story based on the historical and cultural heritage of Japan may not be a great idea of an exciting getaway from the hustle-and-bustle of life. I was also in two minds about the book. Should I or should I not kept floating in my mind, until I finally decided that the other Kindle First selection for the month of May were too similar to other books that I have read in past and settled for Japanese author Shion Miura’s The Great Passage, which has been beautifully rendered into English by Juliet Winters Carpenter.

I’m sure many readers will agree with me if I say there is great reward when you dive into a book without any expectation. I did the same with this book. I just wanted to browse all over and see what it was all about. Whether it was a fine read or an enjoyable one was secondary. All I wanted with the book was to explore it and learn something new about Japanese history and culture, if there was any. In the end, I got much more than what I bargained for. I was richly rewarded in ways I least expected. My knowledge of Japanese culture was not only enriched, but I also got my share of fun and humor down through the pages of the book.

The Great Passage by Shion Miura is a story that follows three generations of publishing house staff working in the Dictionary Editorial Department of Gembu Books. It revolves around the making of a dictionary - The Great Passage, a comprehensive 2,900-page tome of the Japanese language. It has some very funny and quirky characters in Kohei Araki and Mitsuya Majime, complex yet well-developed. Both Araki and Majime are wholly dedicated to the creation of The Great Passage. The way they see and feel things will really resonate well with many readers.