14 hours ago
Wednesday, November 27, 2013
Today would be Teddy Roosevelt's birthday. The greatest showman of Roosevelt's time was Mark Twain. Twain hated TR, and took any available opportunity to rail against the president.
"Our people have adored this showy charlatan as perhaps no impostor of his brood has been adored since the Golden Calf, so it is to be expected that the Nation will want him back again after he is done hunting other wild animals heroically in Africa, with the safeguard and advertising equipment of a park of artillery and a brass band."
- Letter written 3/6/1908 (reprinted in The New York Times 5/31/1912)
Roosevelt in turn hated Twain, his tactic was to pose as the man of action versus the lounging critic. Their "battles" served them each very well.
I've been reading Philip McFarland's "Mark Twain and the Colonel: Samuel L. Clemens, Theodore Roosevelt and the Arrival of the a New Century"
The book is a dual biography of Twain and TR, filled with anecdotes and a long look back at the US's rise in the early 20th century from an agrarian backwater to international powerhouse. I'm finding the book inconsistent. The author does not take sides in the TR/Twain battle and tells his story well . Where he fails is in trying too hard to make facts, dates and his story fit.