Politics makes strange bedfellows, or so the saying goes. For Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919) and Henry Cabot Lodge (1850–1924), a shared antipathy to James G. Blaine—the presumptive Republican candidate for president in 1884—was the beginning of a lifelong professional and personal friendship, and it serves as the subject of Laurence Jurdem’s new and ambitious book The Rough Rider and the Professor: Theodore Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, and the Friendship that Changed American History.

At first glance, there was nothing strange about their rapport. Both Harvard graduates, the two were intellectually gifted men from backgrounds of privilege in the old Northeastern monied elite. Both were firm believers in noblesse oblige; both were ardent nationalists with moderate reformist views and a commitment to...


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