Friday, December 3, 2010

A pair of my favorite People.

From Dweomera Lagomorpha

I just received in the mail today, copies of the 3rd volume of Edmund Morris's seminal Theodore Roosevelt Biography, If it is as good as the other two, I suspect I will be floored. If it's better than them I don't think I will be able to contain myself. The only U.S. President with both the Medal of Honor(Posthumous) and the Nobel Peace Prize(for mediating during negotiations to end the Russo-Japanese war of 1904-05) He's someone that for whatever reason, I've always liked. He was ahead of his time, and it was largely thanks to him that we have the National Parks, and the FDA. I understand that at some point, Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio are supposed to be producing a film series based on these three books. I'm not a person who feels that DiCaprio would be wrong for the part of TR, but he won't be able to replace Tom Berringer who played a wonderful representation of him in John Milius's "The Rough Riders".. Which is itself something of the middle chapter in a trilogy of Roosevelt movies, its "Sequel" being Milius's "Wind and the Lion".

I also received a copy of "Hero: The Life and Legend of Lawrence of Arabia" by Micheal Korda. I've previously read B.H. Liddel Hart's "Lawrence of Arabia" and John Mack's "A Prince of Our Disorder". I found both fascinating, especially in the parts surrounding his Archeological work. I'm hoping that Mr. Korda will refrain from too much supposition in regards Mr. Lawrence. All to frequently, as is the vogue these days it seems, every aspect of his personality must be dissected. It isn't enough to look at his accomplishments, or allow his actions to speak for him. One must endeavor to include as many scandalous details as possible.. even if they are largely unprovable or based on hearsay. I felt that, Mack's volume edged to close into that sort of territory a number of times, especially in regards to Lawrence's activities after the war. So I hope this will be better, as I would very much like an Authoritative Biography.

These are men from different parts of the English speaking world, who both influenced and indeed still exert influence on the world to this day. Roosevelt was instrumental in turning the USA into the military power that it is today with his insistence on having a powerful navy. His work on domestic issues, largely stemming from his 1912 Bull Moose platform and later enacted in some form by his cousin FDR also are still shaping the future of the US.

Lawrence, is much trickier. Its possible, and even likely, that eventually the Arabs would have thrown off the Ottoman yoke. But when or how is less certain. I hesitate to turn him into the Hero of the Arab Revolt, something he himself disliked having done to him by the world's press. But he if nothing else added a buoy to Prince Feisel(himself a remarkable person) which allowed him to keep the various disparate tribes together and march as far as Damascus.

There really is no telling how different the world would be had these two men's stories not ended as they did. Had Roosevelt won the 1912 platform and gone on to be President again. And had Lawrence not died in a fatal motorcycle accident. One can only imagine.

I'm now currently very much looking forward to the third volume of William Manchester's Biography of Winston Churchill.

No comments: