Hunting Teddy Roosevelt

Written by James Ross
Review by Thomas j. Howley

In 1909, Teddy Roosevelt has already completed two successful terms as U.S. President and has almost reluctantly decided not to seek a third term. Still young enough to embark on yet another adventure, he decides to lead a safari to Africa to hunt native species and bring specimens back to the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. He is still wildly popular at home, but much power is yet retained by just a few business magnates whom Teddy has been targeting as part of his monopoly busting efforts. One oligarch, especially, does not want to risk a return of the fiery Republican president who might again threaten his economic empire. So the assassination plot begins.

The safari makes its way across an Africa which is split into various nations and tribes which are under the control of European colonial powers, who all know war may be coming soon. Teddy hates the thought of a coming war and is horrified to see how the Belgian king is treating the native people, and how the British treated the Boers not long before. He is being followed by a former love interest who is now a crusading journalist and unknowingly accompanied by a would-be assassin. And then there are the lions, hyenas, leopards, crocodiles, and pillaging bandits to add to the tale.

This is an interesting speculative story of what easily could have occurred. Both the time period itself and the dangerous venue are filled with foreboding. Adding Teddy Roosevelt, a force of nature in his own right, makes a good book even better.  The journalist, Maggie Ryan, is especially likable. Recommended.