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The River of Doubt: Theodore…

The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey (original 2005; edition 2005)

by Candice Millard

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Title:The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
Authors:Candice Millard
Info:Doubleday (2005), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Tags:owned, read

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The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard (2005)

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Wow! What a story!

I'm not as familiar with former U. S. president Theodore Roosevelt as I probably should be. From what I do know of the Rough Rider Bull Moose naturalist, the fact that he journeyed down an unexplored Amazon River tributary is not surprising. What is surprising - after reading this book - is that he survived.

A last-minute decision to explore the unknown Rio da Dúvida (the River of Doubt, today's Rio Roosevelt) combined with poor planning by expedition members unfamiliar with the area, nearly spelled disaster. Roosevelt's team included his son Kermit, the Brazilian explorer Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon, American naturalist George Cherrie, and numerous Brazilian "camaradas" who did all the heavy work. They battled insects, excessive rain, rapids, unmanageable dugouts, disease, insufficient supplies (and the inexplicable carrying of unnecessary gear), near starvation, the threat of attack by animals and natives, and even death among their ranks.

This was a perfect topic for the first book by Candice Millard (who has a fabulous three-screen setup for her work computer), a former writer and editor for National Geographic. She weaves in information about the flora and fauna of the Amazon basin and the natural and political history of the area. Even better, she writes well, and the story flows and compels the reader.

The book is well-researched: its 353 pages of text are followed by 38-plus pages of endnotes, eight pages each of bibliography and index, and photo credits for 16 pages of photo inserts. There are maps on the end pages - it would be helpful though if they were larger.

Since the publication of this book, Millard has written one about the assassination of U. S. President James Garfield, and her third book, about Winston Churchill, will be published on Tuesday, September 20. I plan to read them all, and anything else she writes. She ranks up there with Erik Larson for narrative nonfiction.

© Amanda Pape - 2016

[This book was borrowed from and returned to my university library.] ( )
1 vote riofriotex | Sep 18, 2016 |
Certainly a story about Teddy Roosevelt I knew nothing about--his post-presidency expedition to explore an unmapped portion of the Amazon rain forest. The journey no doubt played a role in shortening his life. The author tells it straight, not enhancing the drama as much of the story is dramatic enough in itself.

T.R. is a president about whom I carry mixed feelings, but he truly shines here. ( )
  kvrfan | Aug 19, 2016 |
Remarkable attempt by the ex-president to explore an unknown Amazon River tributary. The ill-prepared expedition reminds me of Scott's ill-fated attempt to conquer the South Pole. Fortunately, the co-leader of the expedition is part Indian and is the glue that holds the expedition together. TR's son Kermit is also on the expedition. ( )
  jerry-book | Jul 30, 2016 |
Exciting and interesting. I read it because my dad did. I've not read enough other similar books to judge it objectively or say anything really, but I did really like it. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Jun 6, 2016 |
Excellent reading; highly suspenseful. ( )
  Jerry_Sonenblick | Feb 25, 2016 |
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The line outside Madison Square Garden started to form at 5:30 p.m., just as an orange autumn sun was setting in New York City on Halloween Eve, 1912.
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Teddy takes a trip
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Sloop John B was right

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0767913736, Paperback)

At once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait, The River of Doubt is the true story of Theodore Roosevelt’s harrowing exploration of one of the most dangerous rivers on earth.

The River of Doubt—it is a black, uncharted tributary of the Amazon that snakes through one of the most treacherous jungles in the world. Indians armed with poison-tipped arrows haunt its shadows; piranhas glide through its waters; boulder-strewn rapids turn the river into a roiling cauldron.

After his humiliating election defeat in 1912, Roosevelt set his sights on the most punishing physical challenge he could find, the first descent of an unmapped, rapids-choked tributary of the Amazon. Together with his son Kermit and Brazil’s most famous explorer, Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon, Roosevelt accomplished a feat so great that many at the time refused to believe it. In the process, he changed the map of the western hemisphere forever.

Along the way, Roosevelt and his men faced an unbelievable series of hardships, losing their canoes and supplies to punishing whitewater rapids, and enduring starvation, Indian attack, disease, drowning, and a murder within their own ranks. Three men died, and Roosevelt was brought to the brink of suicide. The River of Doubt brings alive these extraordinary events in a powerful nonfiction narrative thriller that happens to feature one of the most famous Americans who ever lived.

From the soaring beauty of the Amazon rain forest to the darkest night of Theodore Roosevelt’s life, here is Candice Millard’s dazzling debut.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:15 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

Chronicles the 1914 expedition of Theodore Roosevelt into the unexplored heart of the Amazon basin to explore and map the region surrounding a tributary called the River of Doubt, detailing the perilous conditions they faced.

(summary from another edition)

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