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Spotlight: The Perilous Adventures of the Cowboy King: A Novel of Teddy Roosevelt and His Times by Jerome Charyn


Publishing on the centenary of Teddy Roosevelt’s death, THE PERILOUS ADVENTURES OF THE COWBOY KING is a rousing, raucous literary take on the already outsized figure who seemed to barrel through American history.

In THE PERILOUS ADVENTURES OF THE COWBOY KING, Charyn turns his attention to the flesh and blood version of the chiseled Mount Rushmore head.  Like “the perfect bull in a china shop” TR overcame a sickly, asthma-wracked childhood of privilege to be an adrenaline-junkie equally at ease both in the rough-and-tumble atmosphere of 19th century New York, as in the company of rowdy cowboys, ranchers, mining prospectors, and gamblers charging up San Juan Hill.  

All of it comes hysterically to life and is vividly interpreted by Charyn, who gives new dimension to Manhattan’s swampy underbelly after the Civil War, the farcical expeditions to the Dakota Badlands, and the personal anguish of TR losing his mother and wife on the same day.  Like the best of E.L. Doctorow, historical detail is supported by a keen grasp of language and vernacular of the day, and marked by a lack of sentimentality or over-romanticization of the past.

With a colorful supporting cast—including Buffalo Bill Cody, Eleanor Roosevelt, Leon Czolgosz (assassin of McKinley), the Rough Riders themselves, and one mountain lion named Josephine (seen depicted on the cover)—THE PERILOUS ADVENTURES OF THE COWBOY KING is historical fiction at its very best.

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About the Author

Photograph of Jerome Charyn by Jorg Meyer.jpg

Jerome Charyn, a master of lyrical farce and literary ventriloquism, published his first novel in 1964. A columnist for Charlie Hebdo, and the author of Johnny One-Eye, The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson, and dozens of other acclaimed novels and nonfiction works, he lives in New York.

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