Book Review: Teddy's more interesting friend

Posted on March 26 2016, by Nick Taggart

Teddy Roosevelt is considered one of America's most fascinating characters: statesman, author, explorer, soldier, naturalist, and reformer. From his South America expedition to his charge up San Juan Hill, Teddy was larger than life and held court everywhere he went. 

Which makes Frederick Russell Turnham that much more incredible. He has been described as "one of the only people who could turn....Theodore Roosevelt into a listener." And for good reason. Turnham was a scout, prospector, and adventurer who managed to lead an even more colourful life than his Presidential friend. As a teen, he tracked Apaches in the Arizona Territory. He struck it rich in the gold fields. He fought the  Boers in South Africa, slipping behind enemy lines over 100 times. One of his commanders exclaimed: "Any one of Major Burnham's adventures would provide an ordinary man with conversation for the rest of his life!" (And he clearly knew how to dress for the field.)

This biography by Steve Kemper, "A Splendid Savage" is a gripping read, and we've been passing it around the lodge. Kemper does a great job describing the Yukon gold rush, the African veldt, and the man himself. You can find it on Amazon. We strongly recommend it.  


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