In the Gay Nineties, no place so fully embodied the outrageous lawlessness of turn-of-the-century America as New York City - until a thirty-seven-year-old political reformer named Theodore Roosevelt emerged as president of the New York City Police Commission. How did Roosevelt transform an association of slackers, bullies, thieves, and ...Read MoreIn the Gay Nineties, no place so fully embodied the outrageous lawlessness of turn-of-the-century America as New York City - until a thirty-seven-year-old political reformer named Theodore Roosevelt emerged as president of the New York City Police Commission. How did Roosevelt transform an association of slackers, bullies, thieves, and blackmailers into one of the first truly professional law enforcement agencies in the world? H. Paul Jeffers skillfully recreates the era to illuminate Roosevelt's vision, toughness, and political savvy. By hiring the first woman in the department's history, and opening admission to ethnic minorities, the new commissioner tore down the old guard and ushered in the new. Firearms training, undercover detectives, a physical typing system that was the precursor of fingerprinting, annual physical exams for all officers, bicycle patrols, and a host of other modern innovations all became tools to build a new urban institution. It was a crucial turning point in Roosevelt's political career. As New York's rough-riding crime czar, he earned the national attention that eventually led to two terms in the White House. In the sensational headlines and tributes that appeared regularly in newspapers around the nation and Europe, Jeffers discovers the first signs of the mature Teddy Roosevelt, the flamboyant, two-fisted, and wholly incorruptible man of action. As Jeffers shows, it was during this momentous period in his career, in partnership with famed journalists and social reformers Jacob Riis and Lincoln Steffens, that Roosevelt developed the "square deal" philosophy behind the historic social and economic reforms that would distinguish his presidency.Read Less
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Publishers Weekly, 1994-07-25 In 1884 Roosevelt shepherded seven bills through the New York Assembly designed to reform the NYC police department; his subsequent performance on the U.S. Civil Service Commission added to his reputation for probity. Thus, when the Republicans won City Hall in 1895, TR was named to the board of police commissioners, where he was elected president. With the help of reformers and rising young journalists Jacob Riis and Lincoln Steffens, he converted a graft-ridden force into a constabulary run on the principles of promotion through merit and enforcement of all laws, no matter how unpopular. His innovations included hiring the first woman on the force and creating the first police fingerprint department. TR served for just two years, but even his enemies conceded that his performance had been spectacular. Jeffers (Bloody Business) captures the public-spirited TR in all his pugnaciousness. For a fictionalized account, see Caleb Carr's bestselling The Alienist. Photos not seen by PW. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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