Review: Unreasonable Men

I was lucky enough to have Unreasonable Men: Theodore Roosevelt and the Republican Rebels Who Created Progressive Politics sent to me for free from St. Martin’s Press as part of The History Book Club, of which I am a member.  The opinions expressed below are my own.

Mike and Ben
Mike and Ben

Michael Wolraich moves you ten detailed and fascinating chapters, through the progressive politics of Theodore Roosevelt’s era.  In the story you will get to know the players like “Fighting Bob” La Follette and Teddy himself as well as a larger cast of personalities.  This well researched history takes you through a time in American politics that has been largely forgotten.

I found the book riveting and the story fun and education as my understanding of this period and the players was limited.

If you are interested in this topic I encourage you to browse through the discussion forms at History Book Club and read all the great information that club moderators put together as well as many comments from the author himself!

Unreasonable Men: Theodore Roosevelt and the Republican Rebels Who Created Progressive Politics Book Cover Unreasonable Men: Theodore Roosevelt and the Republican Rebels Who Created Progressive Politics
Michael Wolraich
Non-Fiction, History, Biography
St. Martin's Press
July 22nd 2014
Hardcover
310
Publisher

At the turn of the twentieth century, the Republican Party stood at the brink of an internal civil war. After a devastating financial crisis, furious voters sent a new breed of politician to Washington. These young Republican firebrands, led by "Fighting Bob" La Follette of Wisconsin, vowed to overthrow the party leaders and purge Wall Street's corrupting influence from Washington. Their opponents called them "radicals," and "fanatics." They called themselves Progressives.

President Theodore Roosevelt disapproved of La Follette's confrontational methods. Fearful of splitting the party, he compromised with the conservative House Speaker, "Uncle Joe" Cannon, to pass modest reforms. But as La Follette's crusade gathered momentum, the country polarized, and the middle ground melted away. Three years after the end of his presidency, Roosevelt embraced La Follette's militant tactics and went to war against the Republican establishment, bringing him face to face with his handpicked successor, William Taft. Their epic battle shattered the Republican Party and permanently realigned the electorate, dividing the country into two camps: Progressive and Conservative.

Unreasonable Men takes us into the heart of the epic power struggle that created the progressive movement and defined modern American politics. Recounting the fateful clash between the pragmatic Roosevelt and the radical La Follette, Wolraich's riveting narrative reveals how a few Republican insurgents broke the conservative chokehold on Congress and initiated the greatest period of political change in America's history.