For an amateur history nerd like myself, nothing quite brightens up yet another dreary day quite like lunch with Teddy Roosevelt. Alright so someone may think they've figured out what the Mona Lisa sounded like, but unfortunately all the technology in the world can't bring back T.R. for soup and a sandwich. So I had to settle for a read through Time Magazine's annual "Making Of America" series, which focuses this year on the larger-than-life presidential figure.
For anyone hasn't read the riveting two books on "Theodore Rex" by Edmund Morris, Time's package is a solid and thorough look at what makes Roosevelt one of our nation's most compelling figures. It's even a good refresher course for those who are familiar with the history. But it's what the magazine's new managing editor, Rick Stengel, wrote to readers about the importance of this annual series that I wanted to point out:
One of the great missions of TIME since we started 83 years ago has been explaining the challenges of the moment. That's why we started the series in the first place – to explore how America has grown and evolved through a long struggle with many of the same issues we're grappling with today. Our jobs as writers and reporters and editors has always been to put the news in perspective for our readers, and few things do that better than history.Newsmagazines like Time and Newsweek are often on the receiving end of criticism for what they sometimes put on their covers (remember the "Year Of The Shark?"). But when they give you a chance to spend a few minutes renewing your acquaintance with a true American icon, they deserve a little credit as well.