Studying RooseveltMEDORA — Whether it was the chance to meet an Pulitzer Prize-winning author or the desire to learn more about Theodore Roosevelt, fans of Roosevelt biographer Edmund Morris flocked Saturday into the Rough Riders Hotel here to get their copies of his latest book signed.
By: April Baumgarten, The Dickinson Press
MEDORA — Whether it was the chance to meet an Pulitzer Prize-winning author or the desire to learn more about Theodore Roosevelt, fans of Roosevelt biographer Edmund Morris flocked Saturday into the Rough Riders Hotel here to get their copies of his latest book signed.
Morris, originally of London, visited Medora to promote his third installment on the life of the 26th president. The new book, “Colonel Roosevelt,” delves into Roosevelt’s accomplishments after his time in office.
“I figured if I wrote a book about him I would learn a lot about the United States,” Morris said. “He’s just so American.”
Morris won the Pulitzer Prize for his first book, “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt,” which focused on Roosevelt’s life before his presidency.
“Nobody really wrote about his pre-presidential life in any detail,” Morris said. “Also, everybody knew he read a lot of books, but nobody really knew he could have spent his career as a writer.”
Morris said being selected by The Book of the Month Club was his first big accomplishment and it was exciting.
“In those days, being selected was a big deal,” Morris said. “That first thrill was intense.”
Sharon Kilzer, the Dickinson State University Theodore Roosevelt Center project manager, said Morris has a unique style that makes his books easy to read.
“He’s lucid in his writing,” Kilzer said. “It brings out different sides of Roosevelt.”
Many biographies of Roosevelt highlight his presidency and contribution to western North Dakota, but Morris describes Roosevelt’s life, said former North Dakota Gov. Ed Schafer.
“Not only is it a factual and historical presentation of Theodore Roosevelt’s life, but its colorful and readable,” Schafer said. “You get a sense of the man Roosevelt was.”
Schafer added Morris has a talent for thoroughly exploring any subject he writes about.
“The magic of Edmund Morris is his depth of research,” Schafer said. “He absorbs it and puts it on a page that really makes it come to life for the people reading his book.”
Morris said he plans to write on Thomas Edison for his next project. Though writing can get lonely, he said he wouldn’t do anything else in the world.
“If you are writer by nature, you live a life of solitude,” Morris said. “To most people it sounds like purgatory, but to a writer it is paradise.”
Morris was the keynote speaker at the Theodore Roosevelt Association’s 92nd Annual Dinner held in conjunction with the Theodore Roosevelt symposium. He received the Theodore Roosevelt Association’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal.