Review: Carry a Big Stick & Go-Alongs

Review: Carry a Big Stick & Go-Alongs

Carry a Big Stick: The Uncommon Heroism of Theodore Roosevelt by George Grant is part of the Leaders in Action Series published by Cumberland House.

Courage, humor, a love of family, faith, and “the Strenuous Life” are just a few of the characteristics that define Theodore Roosevelt in this easy-to-read biography.

Theodore Roosevelt was not a slacker. He served “as a New York state legislator, the under-secretary of the navy, police commissioner for the city of New York, U.S. civil service commissioner, the governor of the state of New York, the vice-president under William McKinley, a colonel in the U.S. Army, and two terms as the president of the United States” — all before he was 50. Meanwhile, he also ran a cattle ranch in the Dakota Territories, was an editor, reporter, writer, taxidermist, astronomer… and the list goes on.

He held wide and varied interests, read prodigiously, and accomplished many big things; but it was his faith lived out in actions that defined the man.

The most dangerous form of sentimental debauch is to give expression to good wishes on behalf of virtue while you do nothing about it. Justice is not merely words. It is to be translated into acts.

Each book in the Leaders in Action series is structured by breaking the book into three parts covering the life, the character, and the legacy of the individual. A summary of the individual’s ideas on leadership are listed in the back. Chronological timetables, bibliographies, and extensive footnotes are also included.

Theodore Roosevelt thought young people should have heroes. This was his impetus in authoring Hero Tales from American History with Henry Cabot Lodge. His own greatest hero was his father, who invested himself in young Theodore, teaching him that “all leaders must first be led,” and that “every hero must have his own heroes.” And so it was that he became a hero for those who followed.

Every great nation owes to the men whose lives have formed part of its greatness not merely the material effect of what they did, not merely the laws they placed upon the statute books or the victories they won over armed foes, but also the immense but indefinable moral influence produced by their deeds and words themselves upon the national character.

  • The Leaders in Action series lends itself well to notebooking.
    • After reading the biography in part one, give a written narration of the main points. What stands out to you? What traits would you, as a student, emulate? Where do you think Theodore Roosevelt could have made better decisions?
    • Make a notebook page for each character trait discussed in part two, listing examples given in the book. Add a few of your own examples. Where do you see this trait in your own life? Where can you do better? Is this a character trait you aspire to? Why or why not?
    • Summarize the legacy of Theodore Roosevelt. If you had to boil down this legacy to one sentence, what would it be?
    • Copy each leadership quote (perhaps only a few a day when you start reading the book). Which ones stand out to you?
  • Ready to learn more? Follow up with one of the books listed in the bibliography.
  • Theodore Roosevelt wrote definitive books of his own. Many are in the public domain. Read another.


Additional Resources

Theodore Roosevelt
Biography at

Books Written by Theodore Roosevelt
Most can be found in the public domain.

14 Forms of Writing for the Older Student: Character Sketch
Helps for writing a character sketch of Theodore Roosevelt.

Theodore Roosevelt
Official White House portrait for notebook.

Drawing & Writing Notebooking Paper {Free Download}
Room at the top for illustrations and room at the bottom for copywork, narrations, or wrapping up.