In Command


In Command

Theodore Roosevelt and the American Military

Matthew Oyos

456 pages
13 photographs, index


June 2018


$36.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

June 2018


$36.95 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

June 2018


$36.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

2019 Theodore Roosevelt Association Book Prize

Although Theodore Roosevelt was not a wartime president, he took his role as commander in chief very seriously. In Command explores Roosevelt’s efforts to modernize the American military before, during, and after his presidency (1901–9). Matthew Oyos examines the evolution of Roosevelt’s ideas about military force in the age of industry and explores his drive to promote new institutions of command: technological innovations, militia reform, and international military missions. Oyos places these developments into broader themes of Progressive Era reform, civil-military tensions, and Roosevelt’s ideas of national cultural vitality and civic duty.

In Command focuses on Roosevelt’s career-long commitment to transforming the military institutions of the United States. Roosevelt’s promotion of innovative military technologies, his desire to inject the officer corps with fresh vigor, and his role in building new institutions for command changed the American military landscape. His attempt to modernize the military while struggling with the changing nature of warfare during his time resonates with and provides unique insight into the challenges presented by today’s rapidly changing strategic environment.

Author Bio

Matthew Oyos is a professor of history at Radford University. He has published articles on Theodore Roosevelt in the Journal of Military History, Presidential Studies Quarterly, and the Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era.


"Oyos . . . delivers a convincing portrait of Theodore Roosevelt as a feisty war hero turned chief executive—first as New York governor and then as the 26th president. . . . Oyos also takes stock of Roosevelt's missteps, including his disgraceful treatment of African-American soldiers after the 1906 Brownsville, Tex., riot. Roosevelt buffs and hardcore fans of 20th-century military history will sink their teeth into this."—Publishers Weekly

"In Command investigates Roosevelt's determination to modernize the military during his tenure as president and his reason for doing so."—David Luhrssen, Shepherd Express

"In Command is a valuable read not only for those interested in T.R., but also for its insights into how military reform comes about."—A. A. Nofi, Strategy Page

"Beautifully written and meticulously researched, In Command offers an exceptional analysis of Theodore Roosevelt’s efforts to improve American military readiness during the early years of the 20th Century."—Roger D. Cunningham, Journal of America's Military Past

"Theodore Roosevelt's relationship with the American military extended well beyond his crowded hour in Cuba. In Command is an astute exploration of a many-sided commander in chief. Its author's thorough research and evenhanded portrayal should make this book the standard treatment of a president who revered the nuances of military management, weaponry, and strategic thinking."—Michael Patrick Cullinane, Michigan War Studies Review

"Matthew Oyos has produced an excellent addition to the historical literature on Theodore Roosevelt and on the American military."—William P. Leeman, New England Journal of History

“Matthew Oyos has made an informed, balanced, and provocative contribution to the field of civil-military relations. With great clarity and insight he reveals the contributions of this most activist of presidents in the making of American global military power.”—Brian McAllister Linn, Ralph R. Thomas Professor in Liberal Arts at Texas A&M University

“This sound, thoughtful, engaging, and persuasive book offers the first comprehensive portrait of Theodore Roosevelt’s involvement with the military. It deepens our understanding of Roosevelt as the first modern American commander in chief and the way his persona drove his interests and shaped his activities. Matthew Oyos makes an indispensable contribution to the scholarship on the presidency, on Roosevelt, and on the modernization of the American military establishment.”—Richard H. Kohn, professor emeritus of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hil

Table of Contents

1. Beginnings
2. In the Arena
3. The New Hand on the Helm
4. Arms and the Men
5. The Institutions of Command
6. In the Fullness of It All
7. Battles without Blood
8. Looking beyond the White House
9. The Last Crusade


2019 Theodore Roosevelt Association Book Prize

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