The Rough Riders, by Theodore Roosevelt, is the authors memoir of his experiences as part of the First United States Volunteer Cavalry during the Spanish-American War. The books title comes from the nickname earned by the unit. Originally published in 1899, the book is Roosevelts account of the recruitment and training of the Rough Riders, their voyage to Cuba, their battles, and their return home.
Much of the book concerns what, in Roosevelts opinion, makes for good soldiers and good leaders. Although the book first appeared over a century ago, many of Roosevelts observations are startlingly relevant to contemporary warfare; he discusses wartime refugees, guerrilla warfare, wartime atrocities, and battlefield news correspondents. Other topics covered include illness among the troops and the impact of weather and terrain on warfare.
He also discusses occasional humorous material, such as the nicknames some soldiers earned. Roosevelt includes fascinating technical details about the weapons of this era. Although he frankly discusses the violence, wounds, and deaths of the battlefield, the book gives the impression that Roosevelt saw war as a grand adventure-even fun on a certain level.
The writing style is very engaging and has a clear, matter-of-fact quality. Roosevelts admiration and love for his troops ultimately gives the book a real warmth and humanity, making Rough Riders truly a landmark in the rich canon of American military memoirs.