Mornings on Horseback

  • by David McCullough
  • Narrated by Nelson Runger
  • 19 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

From the number-one New York Times best-selling author of John Adams
Winner of the 1982 National Book Award for Biography, Mornings on Horseback is the brilliant biography of the young Theodore Roosevelt. Hailed as a masterpiece by Newsday, it is the story of a remarkable little boy - seriously handicapped by recurrent and nearly fatal attacks of asthma - and his struggle to manhood.
His father - the first Theodore Roosevelt, "Greatheart" - is a figure of unbounded energy, enormously attractive and selfless, a god in the eyes of his small, frail namesake. His mother - Mittie Bulloch Roosevelt - is a Southerner and celebrated beauty.
Mornings on Horseback spans 17 years, from 1869, when little "Teedie" is 10, to 1886, when he returns from the West a "real life cowboy" to pick up the pieces of a shattered life and begin anew, a grown man, whole in body and spirit.
This is a tale about family love and family loyalty... about courtship, childbirth and death, fathers and sons... about gutter politics and the tumultuous Republican Convention of 1884... about grizzly bears, grief and courage, and "blessed" mornings on horseback at Oyster Bay or beneath the limitless skies of the Badlands.


What the Critics Say

National Book Award , Biography, 1982

"We have no better social historian." (The New York Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

This book is a scalpel

This is my second David McCullough book and they just get better and better. Here we have a story that will surprise you: not the biography of the TR that we know from history, but the shaping of him into that man. His father and mother were truly exceptional people, she a wonderful story teller coming from an eccentric southern family and he a patriot and charity-driven socialite. This book tells the story, as McCullough says in the afterward, of what formed the frail, asthmatic boy into the larger than life President. The books ends when he is finally the man we know.

And the journey there is amazing. He struggled throughout his childhood with sickness, his family lived a lifestyle that has long since vanished, he deals with amazing victories at an unprecedented early age and he survives the most devastating of losses. His character changes and grows and we watch with amazing precision as a new man emerges. This book is wonderful history, fantastic detail, an intimate character study, and ripping good fun. Enjoy it!
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- Joe


What would have made Mornings on Horseback better?

A focus on Roosevelt’s more interesting exploits. Well over an hour of this 19 hour tome is dedicated to every nuance of asthma. We get a detailed account of what asthma suffers experience along with a collection of historical & contemporary opinions on its causes. I get it was an important aspect of his character development but please... The book also suffered from horrible narration. Highly recommend you double the speed as it will make the narration cadence appear normal. If nothing else it cuts the pain in half. When they get to asthma turn it up to 3x.

Has Mornings on Horseback turned you off from other books in this genre?

No I really enjoy historical biographies.

Would you be willing to try another one of Nelson Runger’s performances?

Not if I can help it. Unfortunately he seems to narrate many of the books I gravitate to.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

It was good to get an inside look at one of America's legendary families. Just wished the author spent more time on the entree and less time on the appetizer

Any additional comments?

I was deeply disapointed in this book. I have enjoyed many of McCulloughs other works; John Adams, 1776 but can't recommend this one. He has managed to make one of our more influential and dynamic presidents a complete bore. Need to think long and hard about that Runger narrated 54 hour Truman book on my wish list...

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- Brian

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-21-2011
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio