The Lion and the Journalist
The Unlikely Friendship of Theodore Roosevelt and Joseph Bucklin Bishop
Lyons Press 2011
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in BiographyNew Books in HistoryNew Books in JournalismNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network January 15, 2013 Oline Eaton
It’s a great advantage of a dual biography that one can draw attention to a significant life that might otherwise be unexamined by linking it to the life of someone famous. Such is the case with Chip Bishop‘s biography, The Lion and the Journalist: The Unlikely Friendship of Theodore Roosevelt and Joseph Bucklin Bishop (Lyons Press, 2011), which charts the simultaneous rise of the former President and the author’s own great-granduncle.
The author does an excellent job illustrating the dynamics of the relationship between Roosevelt and Bishop. For it was to Bishop’s benefit to know Roosevelt, but it was also advantageous for Roosevelt to cultivate an ally in the press like Bishop. Theirs was a mutually beneficial relationship, and the author does an exceptional job of showing how it strengthened and altered with the passage of time, changes in status, increased physical distance, etc. These are the external forces that shape long-term friendships, but they’re seldom explored so intimately and eloquently in biographies of men.
The Lion and the Journalist covers a lot of ground. There’s publishing, politics, PR, and the Panama Canal. It’s an unusual historical melange, but it’s riveting. The Lion and the Journalist is also an especially rich entry into the genre of biographies about biographers and their subjects. For it was Bishop who penned the first biography of Roosevelt, laying the foundation from which all future biographers would begin.