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The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King Summary and Reviews

The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King

A Novel of Teddy Roosevelt and His Times

by Jerome Charyn

The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King by Jerome Charyn X
The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King by Jerome Charyn
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About this book

Book Summary

Raising the literary bar to a new level, Jerome Charyn re-creates the voice of Theodore Roosevelt, the New York City police commissioner, Rough Rider, and soon- to-be twenty-sixth president through his derring-do adventures, effortlessly combining superhero dialogue with haunting pathos.

Beginning with his sickly childhood and concluding with McKinley's assassination, the novel positions Roosevelt as a "perfect bull in a china shop," a fearless crime fighter and pioneering environmentalist who would grow up to be our greatest peacetime president.

With an operatic cast, including "Bamie," his handicapped older sister; Eleanor, his gawky little niece; as well as the devoted Rough Riders, the novel memorably features the lovable mountain lion Josephine, who helped train Roosevelt for his "crowded hour," the charge up San Juan Hill. Lauded by Jonathan Lethem for his "polymorphous imagination and crack comic timing," Charyn has created a classic of historical fiction, confirming his place as "one of the most important writers in American literature" (Michael Chabon).

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Reviews

Media Reviews

BookBrowse Review - Rory Aronsky
The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King is an admirable attempt by Jerome Charyn to completely adopt the voice of Teddy Roosevelt. The problem he faces, however, is the presidential memoir trap.

Granted, this is a novel, but it plays like a memoir. I don't blame a president for wanting to tell his side of the story. Every president certainly has that right. But they include EVERYTHING – descriptions of train cars they were on, streets they knew so well, and courtships and political maneuverings. They're slow-going. Really slow-going. And so is Cowboy King. I sat down today intending to read it all but after a while, I got up. I washed the dishes from lunch, and the tray and the scissors and the scoop from my mom portioning out the dog food from the new bag, noodled around some more online, debated whether to order a "Back to the Future" comic book, put a few more books on hold at my local library, browsed the usual job listings and so on. If The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King had grabbed me, I wouldn't have left it. There are a few interesting historical characters, some that feel like they're straight out of Dickens, but it's not enough to lift the gloom. I got to page 82 before I decided to leave it, and then skimmed the rest to see if it picked up. It didn't seem to pick up.

History can be interesting, and Theodore Roosevelt's life most certainly was. But while this is an intriguing approach, it doesn't ultimately work.


Other Reviews
"Starred Review. Charyn makes artful use of historical fact and fiction's panache to capture the man before he became one of the great U.S. presidents and a face on Mount Rushmore." - Kirkus

"Marked from beginning to end by restlessness and adventure... A ripping, enjoyable yarn." - Booklist

"Warning: don't turn to the first page of Jerome Charyn's remarkable new work of fiction The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King unless you have time to be utterly swept away for the next ___ hours." - Joyce Carol Oates

"Jerome Charyn has long been one of our most rewarding novelists, and he has upped the ante in The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King, his frolic about Teddy Roosevelt in the West." - Larry McMurtry

"Jerome Charyn is a one off: no other living American writer crafts novels with his vibrancy of historical imagination. If you think his novels about Dickinson and Lincoln are virtuosic works of art, The Cowboy King will astonish you anew. Here is Teddy Roosevelt as you've never before experienced him, and as you won't soon forget him." - William Giraldi, author of American Audacity: In Defense of Literary Daring

"No one rewrites America's strange history - or its maverick characters - with more flair, sharp-shooting wit, and compassion than the many-sided Jerome Charyn. And in The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King, he's done it again: he's written a raucous, poignant, charming novel about a raucous, poignant, charming Teddy Roosevelt, a man of his time, and ours. Don't miss it." - Brenda Wineapple, author of Ecstatic Nation: Confidence, Crisis, and Compromise, 1848-1877

"Charyn, like Nabokov, is that most fiendish sort of writer - so seductive as to beg imitation, so singular as to make imitation impossible." - Tom Bissel

This information about The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Jerome Charyn Author Biography

Jerome Charyn was born May 13, 1937 and is the author of more than fifty works of fiction and nonfiction, including Cesare: A Novel of War-Torn Berlin; The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King: A Novel of Teddy Roosevelt and His Times; In the Shadow of King Saul: Essays on Silence and Song; Jerzy: A Novel; and A Loaded Gun: Emily Dickinson for the 21st Century. Among other honors, his novels have been selected as finalists for the Firecracker Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Charyn has also been named a Commander of Arts and Letters by the French Minister of Culture and received a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award for Fiction from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in New York.

Link to Jerome Charyn's Website

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