Douglas Brinkley on the nation's 'first conservation president'

Bison with calf at Theodore Roosevelt National Park
Baby bison — called calves — are a distinct orange color when born. A calf will stay with its mother for up to two years.
Jeff Zylland | National Park Service

As a result of the government shutdown, most of the national parks are operating with greatly reduced services.

If he were still alive, former President Theodore Roosevelt would be one of the most disappointed about this. His appreciation for nature and his efforts to protect public lands and wildlife are legendary.

This is the subject of a book by historian Douglas Brinkley, who was interviewed in 2009 by MPR Executive Editor Mike Edgerly, who sat in for Gary Eichten occasionally to host the Midday program. Mike Edgerly is leaving MPR next week after a 27-year career here, and this hour you can hear one of his most interesting programs.

Brinkley was on a book tour with his newest book, "The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America," in July 2009. Brinkley calls Theodore Roosevelt "the nation's first conservation president" and said the former president called wilderness and wildlife America's "heirlooms."

Brinkley is a professor of history at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Since 2009, he's written many more books, including "The Quiet World: Saving Alaska's Wilderness Kingdom," "Cronkite," "Rightful Heritage: Franklin Roosevelt and the Land of America," "American Moonshot," "JFK: A Vision for America" and "The Nixon Tapes."

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