The advent of war with Spain was a glorious opportunity for forceful leadership not to be missed by the hotheaded young Theodore Roosevelt. He resigned his post as assistant-secretary of the Navy in April, 1898, and, despite the strong disapproval of family and friends, he joined the Army as Lt. Colonel of a regiment to be raised in the territories of Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma. He ordered a uniform from Brooks Brothers, a dozen pairs of steel spectacles, “a couple of good, stout, quiet horses,” and he was off to train his volunteers at San Antonio. The Rough Riders were a most unusual regiment. Informal, independent, made up of ex-cowboys, Western bad men, and Ivy League graduates, Roosevelt’s troops made a poor impression on Army regulars but provided excellent copy for the nation’s newspapers. On July 22, 1898, this motley cavalry regiment waded ashore in Cuba, and before the summer was over the Rough Riders and their impatient, dynamic leader were familiar to virtually every household in the nation. Roosevelt was being considered for nomination to the governorship of New York, and his march to the Presidency had begun. From the time he left Washington to join his regiment for training in Texas to their triumphant return from Cuba, Roosevelt kept daily records of his thoughts and experiences. These jottings formed the basis of this book, by far the best firsthand story of the Spanish-American War. Published in 1899 to instant acclaim, The Rough Riders is written with Roosevelt’s typical gusto. His writing is remarkable for his sure sense of personality and the spontaneity and directness of his prose. Reading the book, it is impossible not to sense the exhilaration of battle, or the moral purpose behind it all. The Rough Riders remains one of the great war stories of our time, and offers an invaluable look at one of the most colorful presidents of the United States.