Edward Luce at The Financial Times:
Most of all, Teddy was the progressive movement’s answer to the acute disparities of the gilded age. To his foreign contemporaries Roosevelt was larger than life. At a moment of incipient British decline, Roosevelt’s preternatural energy hinted at a new age to come. He had an Obamaesque ability to pull crowds. When he toured Europe more than a year after leaving the White House, tens of thousands thronged the streets of Paris, London and other cities to catch a glimpse of the “Rough Rider”. Even his enemies, notably Mark Hanna, who epitomised the corrupt Republican machine Teddy had sidelined, could not help but admire him – “that damned cowboy” was Hanna’s description.
The Bully Pulpit is more than just a biography of this most tireless of US presidents. It is also a tribute to America’s “golden age of journalism”. From early in his career, Roosevelt saw the benefit of having allies in the media. By the time he became president in 1902, they could be found mainly at the legendary McClure’s magazine, which housed the most talented stable of journalists in the US. Writers such as Lincoln Steffens, who chronicled the railroad barons, Ida Tarbell, who dissected Standard Oil, and Ray Baker, who exposed the rat-infested conditions of Chicago’s meat factories, became confidantes of the young president.