Author Event: Laurence Jurdem, "The Rough Rider and the Professor"

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Darien Library is thrilled to welcome one of Darien's own, Laurence Jurdem, to discuss his new book, The Rough Rider and the Professor: Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, and the Friendship that Changed American History. The book chronicles the extraordinary thirty-five-year friendship between President Theodore Roosevelt and Senator Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts, and is a fascinating look at a personal relationship that was behind the making of modern politics and government at the dawn of the twentieth century.

Theodore Roosevelt was a uniquely gifted figure who employed his abilities to rise from an unknown New York legislator to become the youngest man ever to assume the presidency in 1901. His rapid success would not have occurred without the assistance of the powerful New Englander, Henry Cabot Lodge. Eight years older than Roosevelt, from a prominent Massachusetts family, Lodge was one of the most calculating, combative politicians of his age. From 1884 to 1919 Lodge and Roosevelt encouraged one another to mine the greatness that lay within each of them.

Despite the love and respect that existed between the two men, their relationship eventually came under strain. Following Roosevelt’s ascension to the presidency, T. R.’s desire to expand the social safety net—while attempting to broaden the appeal of the Republican Party—clashed with his older friend’s more conservative, partisan point of view. Those tensions finally culminated in 1912. Lodge’s refusal to support the former president’s independent bid for a third presidential term led to a political break-up that was only repaired by each man’s hatred for the policies of Woodrow Wilson.

Despite their political disagreements, Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge remained devoted friends until the Rough Rider took his final breath on January 6, 1919. Come meet the author and enjoy an evening of history surrounding this insightful and engaging book!

About the Author

Laurence Jurdem, Ph.D., is currently an adjunct professor of history at Fordham University's Lincoln Center campus in New York City. He is also the author of Paving the Way for Reagan: The Influence of Conservative Media on U.S. Foreign Policy. A frequent writer on American politics, his articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He lives in Connecticut.

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