Roosevelt’s Rough Riders are iconic in our country’s history. Primarily recruited from the West, these “cowboy soldiers” exemplified the rich tradition of the western experience: independence, self-determination, and liberty. With a cast of vibrant characters, John Horst weaves a tale that highlights the personal impact of these cowboy soldiers and others recruited to assist in the war effort in 1898. Theodore Roosevelt called America’s intervention in Cuba, known as the Spanish-American War, “a splendid little war,” but as Horst explains, “no war is little, or splendid.”
His novel gives evidence to this in a way that is honest, realistic and compelling. Fictional characters interact with historic personages, such as Theodore Roosevelt, whose idiosyncratic personality shines through like a ray of light, illuminating for his men what it means to lead. The stories of the nurses who volunteered and who suffered along with their charges offers another glimpse of sacrifice and self-denial.
Roosevelt’s Boys is a war drama, a love story, and an historical adventure: it is a splendid novel and a compelling read.