Becoming Teddy Roosevelt

A sickly Harvard student. A Maine Guide. And a friendship that changed a man – who changed a nation.

Today we think of Theodore Roosevelt as a larger-than-life figure, but before he became a legendary outdoorsman, Badlands rancher, Rough Rider, trust buster, and political maverick, he was a “thin pale youngster with bad eyes and a weak heart,” in the words of William Wingate Sewall, the upcountry Maine woodsman who would become Roosevelt’s mentor and lifelong friend. The two met at a crucial time in Roosevelt’s life, and Sewall exerted a quiet but profound influence on the man who would become America’s twenty-sixth President.

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BTR now recommended reading by the Smithsonian. I’ll take that.

Boothbay’s Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens – called the best public garden in the nation on TripAdvisor – started a program designed to get kids outside and into the natural world inspired by Becoming Teddy Roosevelt. The Lunder New Naturalists Program had 19 middle schools and more than 600 kids involved, from Sanford to Fort Fairfield, with teachers using the story of TR and his visits to Maine as a way to explore biodiversity and conservation.

Becoming Teddy Roosevelt was just listed on the Best USA History Books webpage!

A spate of reviews at Amazon lately by some of the bookseller’s top reviewers: “A stellar work of historiography,” writes one. “[W]onderfully written,” says another. ” “A remarkable book about two remarkable men,” says one more. “Probably the best book I’ve read in the past twelve months,” says yet another. If you enjoyed Becoming Teddy Roosevelt, please write a review yourself.

Another great print review. In the Parker Pages spring issue they call BTR: “intriguing reading . . . [a] wonderful insight into a young Theodore. . . Vietze is a good storyteller.”

Check out the BTR book trailer at YouTube!

Another great notice from Midwest Book Review:

Becoming Teddy Roosevelt: How a Maine Guide Inspired America’s 26th President tells the story of one William Wingate Sewall, a Maine woodsman who became Roosevelt’s mentor and lifelong friend. This offers a fine account of that friendship of men of completely different backgrounds: an unusual association between a lumberman and a politician, and shows how that bond changed Roosevelt and had a lasting impact on the nation’s direction. A ‘must’ for any political or biography collection strong in Presidential histories.”

“I’ve been doing the show 10 years, 400 authors, and I’m going to put this in the top ten. It’s a classic page-turner.” Johnny Kosnow, WRFR’s Open Book, on Becoming Teddy Roosevelt.

Part two of my Book Life interview.

A new interview on the fine writing blog, Book Life.  Check it out.

Becoming Teddy Roosevelt is a 2010 Book of the Year Award finalist!

And again! Another week on the Bestseller List! Maine Sunday Telegram, 12/26/10.

Back on the Bestseller List! Maine Sunday Telegram 12-19-10 – #7 hardcover non-fiction between 6. Jon Stewart and 8. Glenn Beck!

New feature about Becoming Teddy Roosevelt in the Bangor Daily News:

“(M)eticulously researched. . . remarkable. . . reading this book really brings you into every setting the two men shared, from the lumber camps of Maine to the White House.”

Great new review in the Times Record:

“(W)ell crafted and entertaining . . . These two men genuinely liked, respected, and trusted each other, and Andrew Vietze makes us like them, too.”

Becoming Teddy Roosevelt honored by the Maine State Legislature!

Say the good men and women of the state’s 124th Congress: “We congratulate him upon his award-winning book, so symbolic of the spirit and unique character of Maine, and wish him well for future contributions to the literary world of the Pine Tree State.”

New review in Working Waterfront:

“(H)ighly readable and entertaining. . . Vietze’s excellent story-telling skills revive the life of a remarkable Mainer who left an indelible mark on his state and the nation.”


Great new review in the Kennebec Journal:

“Vivid and dramatic. . . a fascinating story of a famous American hero and an unassuming Mainer, and how each man positively affected the life and career of the other.”

Moving up the bestseller list! #8 in nonfiction, Maine Sunday Telegram, 7/18/10

Another mention in the Bangor Daily News.

New reviews!

“Andrew Vietze’s new book Becoming Teddy Roosevelt is a gift to all TR fans. . . ” –Wellesley Free Library blog, where librarians blog about their favorite books.

“It’s easy to see why the author has won awards for his historical writing, the narrative never feels strained or contrived as so many biographies often do, but it flows at times like a good novel. . .Becoming Teddy Roosevelt is crucial reading for anyone interested in TR.” –Big Sky Journal

“Don’t miss Becoming Teddy Roosevelt. . . There seems to be a lot of writing about and public interest in TR’s legacy to America (River of Doubt, Wilderness Warrior and In Trace of TR) . . . Becoming Teddy Roosevelt is the perfect sequel. – Lewiston Sun Journal

Check out the new interview at Art of!

Yipee we won an IPPY! BTR takes a Silver at the Independent Publisher Book Awards in New York!

Now a Bestseller! Maine Sunday Telegram, 5/9/10

Great new review in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

New mention in the Boston Globe.

Reviews are coming in:

“In Becoming Teddy Roosevelt, Vietze celebrates the extraordinary qualities of two men: the one largely unsung, the other well-known, larger than life, but rarely shown in so intimate and human a light. It is a joy to read.” Maine Sunday Telegram

“(An) amazing, true-life tale of lasting camaraderie between great men of strikingly different backgrounds and stations. Highly recommended.”         Midwest Book Review

“I really enjoyed reading about the Sewalls and the history of Maine in this book.  It was very interesting to learn of this friendship with my family.”   Elizabeth Roosevelt

“I highly recommend the book. You will be heartened and moved by the stirring tale it tells. The subtitle is “How a Maine Guide Inspired American’s 26th President.” That is the story Vietze tells, and he has done it well. As the author himself notes at the end of his Introduction, “We could all use a guide like Bill Sewall.” So true.”

John Neff, author of  Katahdin: An Historic Journey

“Now the friendship between Roosevelt and Sewall is fully explored. . .” Boston Globe


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