Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense

The Courtroom Battle to Save His Legacy

by David Fisher, Dan Abrams

On Sale: 05/21/2019

Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense

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Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense

The Courtroom Battle to Save His Legacy

by David Fisher, Dan Abrams

On Sale: 05/21/2019


About the Book

Look for Dan Abrams and David Fisher’s new book, Kennedy’s Avenger: Assassination, Conspiracy, and the Forgotten Trial of Jack Ruby.


2020 Audie Finalist — History/Biography

A Mental Floss Book to Read in Summer 2019

“Gripping.… Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense is a must-read.” —NPR

A President on Trial. A Reputation at Stake.

ABC News legal correspondent and host of LIVE PD Dan Abrams reveals the story of Teddy Roosevelt’s last stand—an epic courtroom battle against corruption—in this thrilling follow-up to the New York Times bestseller Lincoln’s Last Trial.

“No more dramatic courtroom scene has ever been enacted,” reported the Syracuse Herald on May 22, 1915 as it covered “the greatest libel suit in history,” a battle fought between former President Theodore Roosevelt and the leader of the Republican party.

Roosevelt , the boisterous and mostly beloved legendary American hero, had accused his former friend and ally, now turned rival, William Barnes of political corruption. The furious Barnes responded by suing Roosevelt for an enormous sum that could have financially devastated him. The spectacle of Roosevelt defending himself in a lawsuit captured the imagination of the nation, and more than fifty newspapers sent reporters to cover the trial. Accounts from inside and outside the courtroom combined with excerpts from the trial transcript give us Roosevelt in his own words and serve as the heart of Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense.

This was Roosevelt’s final fight to defend his political legacy, and perhaps regain his fading stature. He spent more than a week on the witness stand, revealing hidden secrets of the American political system, and then endured a merciless cross-examination. Witnesses including a young Franklin D. Roosevelt and a host of well-known political leaders were questioned by two of the most brilliant attorneys in the country.

Following the case through court transcripts, news reports, and other primary sources, Dan Abrams and David Fisher present a high-definition picture of the American legal system in a nation standing on the precipice of the Great War, with its former president fighting for the ideals he held dear.

Critical Praise

Praise for Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense

“This beautifully-wrought story of Theodore Roosevelt’s defense of his claims of corruption in New York State politics has intense echoes today. Abrams and Fisher do a superb job of clearly presenting the issues in this remarkable and intensely dramatic trial.” —SCOTT TUROW

"Growing up on Long Island just miles from Teddy Roosevelt’s historic home I thought I knew just about everything about our 26th President. I was wrong. Using Roosevelt's eight days of testimony, Dan Abrams and David Fisher present a fascinating window onto the former President Roosevelt that is fresh and often surprising. This trial and Roosevelt's defense of his reputation on the stand, often under fierce questioning, is truly mesmerizing." —BRIAN KILMEADE

“Maintaining suspense about the jury's verdict, Abrams and Fisher deliver a fine and timely legal drama.” Booklist

“Many of the questions the trial raised about the effects of money in politics, the dangers of blind allegiance to party politics, and oversize corporate political influence will resonate with contemporary readers. Legal eagles and history buffs will enjoy this one.” Publishers Weekly

“A feisty Roosevelt takes center stage.” Kirkus Reviews

“Dan Abrams and David Fisher have penned a thrilling account of a nationally important trial that had profound consequences for both parties, one of whom happened to be Teddy Roosevelt. Abrams and Fisher have sifted through the archives to give us a courtroom seat to witness T.R. at his “bully” best in this high stakes, high drama, high profile, yet so far relatively unknown, trial from our nation’s history.” —GREGG TRIPOLI, Executive Director, Onondaga Historical Association

“Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense reads like a blow-by-blow radio account of a prizefight between two heavyweights, although the arena is a courtroom, not a boxing ring.” New York Journal of Books

“Dan Abrams and David Fisher prove that the story of a libel case can indeed make for gripping reading.… Abrams and Fisher are gifted writers, and their prose is neither overly spare nor showy; they're clearly fascinated by the trial, and their enthusiasm for their subject matter shows. Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense is a must-read for anyone with a deep interest in the 26th president, or in First Amendment law, but any reader with an affection for American history will find something to admire in this book.” —NPR

“Meticulously chronicles what happened during the four-week trial, at which over 100 witnesses, including the governor of New York and many members of the state Legislature, were called to testify. The reader gets to know the lawyers, the judge, the jurors, the witnesses, the arguments and the rulings—and above all, the indomitable TR.… All are brought vividly to life by Abrams and Fisher.” —Law360


"The greatest strength of Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense is the detailed play-by-play account of the trial. All of Roosevelt's charm and bluster is on display.... Abrams and Fisher have succeeded in their goal of reestablishing the importance of Barnes v. Roosevelt in American jurisprudence. ... Students of American legal history and general audiences with an interest in learning more about Theodore Roosevelt will both find "Theodore Roosevelt for the Defense" an engaging read."
–Bowling Green Daily News -

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781335016447
  • ISBN 10: 1335016449
  • Imprint: Hanover Square Press
  • On Sale: 05/21/2019
  • Pages: 400
  • List Price:34.99 CAD
  • BISAC1 : HISTORY / United States / 20th Century
  • BISAC2 : POLITICAL SCIENCE / American Government / Executive Branch
  • BISAC3 : BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Presidents & Heads of State

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