Books: Foolish Grit

MORNINGS ON HORSEBACK by David McCullough

Simon & Schuster; 445 pages; $17.95

The family surrounding the childhood of Theodore Roosevelt seemed emblematic of all that was best in America:

energy, innocence, gilded charm.

First there was father, Theodore Sr.

From 6 in the morning until midnight, he attended to the family businesses —plate glass, real estate, banking. Simultaneously, he threw himself into philanthropy, rehabilitating New York's urchins with what his friend John Hay, later Secretary of State, described as "maniacal benevolence."

Floating like a swan in the wake of Theodore Sr. was his adoring wife...

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