Hot Time in the Old Town:
The Great Heat Wave of 1896 and
the Making of Theodore Roosevelt
by Edward Kohn
F128.47 .K76 2010
New Book Island, 2nd floor
After heading down to the city [Chicago] this weekend and having to take along a heavier coat, I realized that winter is coming. And it’s coming fast. Wanting it to snow to hold off a little bit longer, I thought that this week’s featured title would provide a distraction to the inevitable freeze that awaits us.
Kohn, American history professor at Bilkent University [Turkey], describes how the weather played an integral role in altering the outcome of a presidential election, as well as provided a stage for a future President. The intense heat that overcame New York City in the summer of 1896 claimed the lives of 1,500 people and according to the author, one politician’s election campaign. William Jennings Bryan, a Presidential hopeful, stormed into NYC on positive momentum during the middle of the smoldering conditions and couldn’t take the pressure. However, Theodore Roosevelt, police commissioner at the time, rose to the challenge, displaying the leadership characteristics that would later benefit the entire country. The reviewers praise Kohn’s new insights into a much-studied individual.