The Cowboy President: The American West and the Making of Theodore Roosevelt reveals how Roosevelt's time spent in the Western Dakota Territory helped him recover from an overwhelming personal loss, but more importantly, how it transformed him into the man etched onto Mount Rushmore, a man who is still rated as one of the top five Presidents in American history. Unlike other Roosevelt biographies, The Cowboy President details how the land, the people and the Western code of honor had an enormous impact on Theodore and how this experience influenced him in his later years.
Michael F. Blake is the author of three books on silent film actor Lon Chaney (which served as the basis for a 2000 documentary for Turner Classic Movies cable channel), and two books on the Western film genre. He has also written several magazine and newspaper articles, as well as made numerous appearances on documentaries. He has worked in the Film and TV industry for the past 38 years as an Emmy-winning makeup artist. Additionally, he spent spent three years researching Theodore Roosevelt's time in the Dakota Territory, which includes actual hikes and rides over the same land where he rode 132 years ago. Unlike other authors who have written about Roosevelt's time in the saddle, he has real-world experience in herding cattle and crossing rivers on horseback.