So beloved was Theodore Roosevelt by the American people
that he disappeared into the jungles of Africa for one year immediately upon leaving office. This was done to ensure that the incoming president, William Howard Taft, would be recognized as the leader of the nation.
Roosevelt, a prodigious reader, had his 60 favorite books
bound in pigskin so that he might take them with him into the jungle.
“I almost always had some volume with me, either in my saddle-bag or in the cartridge bag…. Often my reading would be done while resting under a tree at noon, perhaps beside the carcass of a beast I had killed, or else while waiting for camp to be pitched; and in either case it might be impossible to get water for washing. In consequence the books were stained with blood, sweat, gun oil, dust, and ashes; ordinary bindings either vanished or became loathsome, whereas pigskin merely grew to look as a well-used saddlebag looks.” – Theodore Roosevelt
Don Quixote, of course,
was one of Roosevelt's 60 favorites.
On his way home from Africa, Roosevelt stopped in Norway to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his part in ending the Russo-Japanese War.
He returned to the U.S. in June, 1910.
This was Roosevelt's pigskin library:
Cervantes: Don Quixote (Ormsby's translation)
Shakespeare: [Comedies. Histories and Poems. Tragedies.]
Spenser: Faerie Queene.
Mahan: Sea Power.
Macaulay: History. Essays. Poems.
Homer: Iliad. Odyssey.
Chanson de Roland. (The French epic Song of Roland)
Nibelungenlied. (an epic German poem that tells of the dragon-slayer Siegfried)
Carlyle: Frederick the Great.
Lowell: Literary Essays. Biglow Papers (pleas for the abolition of slavery)
Poe: Tales. Poems.
Milton: Paradise Lost (Books I and II)
Dante: Inferno (Carlyle's translation)
Holmes: Autocrat. Over the Teacups.
Bret Harte: Poems. Tales of the Argonauts. Luck of Roaring Camp.
Crothers: Gentle Reader. Pardoner's Wallet.
Mark Twain: Huckleberry Finn. Tom Sawyer.
Bunyan: Pilgrim's Progress.
Euripides (Murray's translation): Hippolytus. Bacchae.
Scott: Legend of Montrose. Guy Mannering. Waverley. Rob Roy. Antiquary.
Cooper: Pilot. Two Admirals.
Thackeray: Vanity Fair. Pendennis.
Dickens: Mutual Friend. Pickwick.
Zingali. Lavengro. Wild Wales. The Romany Rye. (Borrowed in Spain)