Perhaps you may remember the 1980’s TV detective Thomas Magnum, who used to step out of character and say this voice-over at the change of a scene: “I know what you’re thinking”.
“Yet another (yawn) piece about Quentin Roosevelt”. Indeed, there have been quite a few – I’ve even written one myself, posted about two years ago in another venue.
Quentin’s story is a central part of the lore of WW1. He was as close as we get to ‘royalty’; President Theodore Roosevelt’s youngest and probably favorite son, he grew up in the White House and in the public eye. He became a very young, dashing fighter pilot who lasted only nineteen days at the front (nine of them in the air). In his 1919 best-seller Fighting the Flying Circus (Wings of War), Captain Eddie Rickenbacker devoted a whole chapter to Quentin’s story although they weren’t friends and never served together.
In his recently published book My Fellow Soldiers: General John Pershing and the Americans who Helped Win the Great War, historian Andrew Carroll gives readers glimpses into the Roosevelt archives that I for one haven’t seen before. You can read about it in this Smithsonian magazine feature.