Stepbrothers Jonathan Whelihan and Rocky Killebrew are jostling for new identities as they reach manhood on their father’s ranch. Then Theodore Roosevelt comes to Arizona’s high desert, seeking horses for his Rough Riders’ 1898 assault on Cuba, and the troopers to ride them. Young men who can already ride and shoot are perfect recruits.
On the opposite side of the country, Sister Mary Bonadventure and Nurse Clara Maas sign up to tend the wounded and ill in an Army hospital. African-American Minerva Trumbull joins them, recruited because she is immune from yellow fever and typhoid which plague Cuba.
Real-life American heroes, male and female, mingle with John C. Horst’s characters in Roosevelt’s Boys. Horst follows the careers of these disparate persons back home after the Spanish-American War, which makes for a slightly rambling end. Nevertheless, Roosevelt’s Boys is an entertaining read about a formative period of U.S. history.