Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Book Tour + #Giveaway: Hunting Teddy Roosevelt by James A. Ross @JamesARoss10 @RABTBookTours


Historical Fiction

Date Published: 7/31/2020

Publisher: Regal House Publishing



It’s 1909, and Teddy Roosevelt is not only hunting in Africa, he’s being hunted. The safari is a time of discovery, both personal and political. In Africa, Roosevelt encounters Sudanese slave traders, Belgian colonial atrocities, and German preparations for war. He reconnects with a childhood sweetheart, Maggie, now a globe-trotting newspaper reporter sent by William Randolph Hearst to chronicle safari adventures and uncover the former president’s future political plans. But James Pierpont Morgan, the most powerful private citizen of his era, wants Roosevelt out of politics permanently. Afraid that the trust-busting president’s return to power will be disastrous for American business, he plants a killer on the safari staff to arrange a fatal accident. Roosevelt narrowly escapes the killer’s traps while leading two hundred and sixty-four men on foot through the savannas, jungles, and semi-deserts of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Congo, and Sudan.



Interview with James A. Ross

    For those interested in exploring the subject or theme of your book, where should they start?

    Start with Roosevelt’s book about his 1909 African safari, AFRICAN GAME TRAILS. Then any biography of JP Morgan and the other “robber barons” of that era. Finally, King Leopold’s Ghost, by Adam Hockschild is a must read about the exploitation of the Congo Free State and the large-scale atrocities committed there at the turn of the century by King Leopold II of Belgium. It’s a horrific and largely unknown story.


    How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?

    Quite by accident, I ran across a blurb in a1909 Italian newspaper which reported that a German ship carrying Roosevelt to Africa had docked in Naples where the police took off an alleged anarchist accused of attacking Roosevelt with a knife. While I was familiar with the assassination attempt on Roosevelt when he was giving a speech during the presidential campaign of 1912, I had never heard of any prior attempt on his life. As far as I know, there is no mention of the 1909 shipboard attack appears in any of the history books, nor in the many Roosevelt biographies.


    What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

    I wrote the book to answer two questions: (1) Was the shipboard attempt on Roosevelt’s life suppressed? If so, by who, how and by why? And (2) While in the last sixty years, the world has become all too familiar with assassinations of political office holders and candidates, in 1909 the fifty year old Roosevelt was out of power and on his way to an isolated and dangerous part of the world that might have killed him anyway. Who would want to make an attempt on his life then, and why? HUNTING TEDDY ROOSEVELT is my attempt to answer these questions.


    Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

    Well, first, please visit my website: https://jamesrossauthor.com and sign up for my newsletter for more information about my books as well as links to my live story telling performances and short fiction

    More importantly, I hope that readers of HUNTING TEDDY ROOSEVELT come away with the understanding that the world was every bit as complex and dangerous at the beginning of the 20th century, as it is today. Had Teddy Roosevelt won the election of 1912, my view is that WWI might have been avoided. Without WWI, there would have been no WWII. Without the two world wars, the Middle East would not be as irrationally and horrifically Balkenized as it is today, and Japan not China would likely be the dominant power in Asia. The modern world would look very different, as would the place of the U.S. in it. Then, as now, tragically or fortuitously, political leadership is often the crucial difference between peace and global disaster.

    Finally, while I’ve done my best to provide a credible answer to the questions that prompted me to write HUNTING TEDDY ROOSEVELT, I’m a fiction writer, not a trained historian. None of the Roosevelt biographies or any of the history books that cover the period make any mention of the 1909 shipboard attempt on his life. That’s a mystery that deserves scholarly attention. For any of your readers looking for a blockbuster Phd thesis, I offer this one on a platter.


    What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

    Possibly, the research. Roosevelt wrote an account of his1909 safari in a series of articles for Scribners Magazine, later compiled into a book, African Game Trails. The action in Hunting Teddy Roosevelt adheres closely to the chronology in Roosevelt’s book, adding only the untold story of the hunter Roosevelt being himself hunted. The research included reading almost everything ever written by and about Roosevelt, as well as several trips to antiquarian book shops in New York and London to purchase out of print explorers journals in order to research turn of the century African travel. It was a fascinating journey.


    Can you tell us a little bit about your next books or what you have planned for the future?

    My debut mystery novel, COLDWATER REVENGE, released in April of this year by Level Best Books, is the story of two brothers involved with the same woman, and the chaos that ensues when when one begins to suspect the other of helping her cover up a murder. It won the American Book Festival Fiction Award for mystery/suspense: hardboiled crime and the Firebird Book Award for legal/thrillers. The second book in the series, COLDWATER CONFESSION, is scheduled for release in April 2022. I’ve got a lot of writing to do in the coming months.


    How long have you been writing?

    I wrote my first book while still in college. I published my first one, HUNTING TEDDY ROOSEVELT, the same year that I started collecting social security. It’s been a long apprenticeship.


    Can you tell us a little bit about the characters in HUNTING TEDDY ROOSEVELT?

    It’s 1909, and Teddy Roosevelt is leaving office in a funk.  Much of what he had hoped to accomplish as president remains undone and his controversial decision to follow George Washington’s example and not to run for a third term seems now like the biggest mistake of his life.  But he leaves in spectacular fashion—assembling the largest safari ever undertaken and leading it on a year-long expedition through East and Central Africa. His account, African Game Trails, becomes an international bestseller. But it only tells part of the story. HUNTING TEDDY ROOSEVELT tells the rest.

    Roosevelt is not only hunting in Africa, he’s being hunted. JP Morgan, the most powerful private citizen of his era, wants Roosevelt out of politics permanently. Afraid that the trust-busting ex-president’s return to power would be disastrous for American business, he plants a killer on the safari to arrange a fatal accident while the former president is out of touch with the outside world.

    The safari is also a time of discovery, personal and political. While leading two hundred and sixty-four men on foot through the savannas and jungles of Central Africa, Roosevelt encounters Sudanese slave traders, Belgian colonial atrocities and German preparations for war. In his personal life, he struggles to help his teenage son and safari companion deal with the Roosevelt family curse of depression and alcoholism. He also reconnects with a childhood sweetheart, now a globe-trotting newspaper reporter, sent by Roosevelt’s enemy, publisher William Randolph Hearst, to chronicle the safari adventures and uncover the former president’s future political plans. Defying Hearst’s instructions and resisting a rekindled chemistry with Roosevelt, she helps her long ago love evade the assassin’s traps and persuades him to run again for president and use the power of the American presidency to stop colonial atrocities in the Congo and prevent war in Europe.


About the Author

James A. Ross has at various times been a Peace Corps Volunteer, a CBS News Producer in the Congo, a Congressional Staffer and a Wall Street Lawyer. His short fiction has appeared in numerous literary publications and his short story, Aux Secours, was nominated for a Pushcart prize. His debut historical novel, HUNTING TEDDY ROOSEVELT won the Independent Press Distinguished Favorite Award for historical fiction, and was shortlisted for the Goethe Historical Fiction Award. His debut mystery/thriller, COLDWATER REVENGE, launched in April 2021 and is available wherever books are sold. Ross's on-line stories and live performances can be found at: https://jamesrossauthor.com.



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