The Rough Rider and the Professor

Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, and the Friendship that Changed American History

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Published by: Pegasus Books
Release Date: July 4, 2023
Pages: 464
ISBN13: 978-1639364411


Evoking the political intrigue of the Gilded Age, The Rough Rider and the Professor chronicles the extraordinary thirty-five-year friendship between President Theodore Roosevelt and Senator Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts.

Theodore Roosevelt was a uniquely gifted figure. A man of great intellect and physicality, the New York patrician captured the imagination of the American people with his engaging personality and determination to give all citizens regardless of race, color, or creed the opportunity to achieve the American dream.

While Roosevelt employed his abilities to rise from unknown New York legislator to become the youngest man ever to assume the presidency in 1901, that 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. As both men climbed the ladders of power, Lodge, focused on dominating the political landscape of Massachusetts, served as the future president’s confidant and mentor, advising him on political strategy while helping him obtain positions in government that would eventually lead to the White House.

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.


"A tale of two U.S. politicians and their struggles to obtain and keep power. Jurdem documents the decades long relationship between Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge, offering glimpses of both men at their best and worst as they made decisions that impacted American domestic and foreign policy. The author sheds new light on the intricacies of the Roosevelt-Lodge friendship."
Kirkus Reviews

“Friendships shape presidents. But those friends are often hidden in the shadows of history. With The Rough Rider and the Professor, Laurence Jurdem shines a bright light on a forgotten figure who shaped Theodore Roosevelt, and, therefore, modern America as well.”
—Amity Shlaes, New York Times Bestselling Author of Coolidge

"The impulsive and fiery Teddy Roosevelt would seem to have little in common with the stoic and cerebral Henry Cabot Lodge, but as Laurence Jurdem points out in this insightful and highly enjoyable book, the two men shared an unshakable belief in American exceptionalism and a progressive faith in using government to tame the excesses of unrestrained capitalism. Jurdem skillfully highlights how their thirty-year friendship offers a window into understanding American society in the first decades of the twentieth century. Highly recommended!”
—Steve Gillon, author of America's Reluctant Prince: The Life of John F Kennedy Jr.

"Theodore Roosevelt stunned members of the Progressive Party in 1916 by recommending that they nominate Henry Cabot Lodge for president—a man they considered the antithesis of their reform movement. Laurence Jurdem unravels this seeming contradiction, judiciously reexamining the friendship between the impulsive Rough Rider and the cautious professor that shaped so much of the political history of their time.”
—Donald A. Ritchie, U.S Senate Historian Emeritus

"Few political friendships have been as consequential as that of Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge. The two wrote or spoke to each other almost daily for decades, exchanging ideas, reading each other's books, promoting shared policies. As a congressman and senator, Lodge worked to advance TR's career; then an assassin's bullet made TR president, and the strains began to grow. By focusing on this pair, Laurence Jurdem shrewdly illuminates not only a fascinating personal relationship, but the making of modern politics and government at the dawn of the American century."
—T.J. Stiles, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Custer's Trials and The First Tycoon

"Few American leaders have had as long and consequential a friendship as the rambunctious Rough Rider and the reserved Bay State Brahmin that Laurence Jurdem explores in this impressive new volume."
Karl Rove, author of The Triumph of William McKinely