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The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's…
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The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Candice Millard

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,3971093,752 (4.16)318
Member:hreilly
Title:The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
Authors:Candice Millard
Info:Anchor (2006), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:chapter book, biography, theodore roosevelt, amazon, adventure, danger, south america

Work details

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

  1. 70
    The Lost City of Z by David Grann (VaterOlsen)
  2. 00
    The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston (rakerman)
    rakerman: The River of Doubt is a dangerous jungle expedition to explore a river in 1913–14. The Lost City of the Monkey God is a dangerous jungle expedition to explore a lost city in 2015. Although separated by a century, some similar challenges are encountered.
  3. 00
    Jungle of Stone: The True Story of Two Men, Their Extraordinary Journey, and the Discovery of the Lost Civilization of the Maya by William Carlsen (rakerman)
    rakerman: River of Doubt tells the tale of a difficult exploration of an Amazonian river. Jungle of Stone tells the story of challenging explorations of Mayan sites.
  4. 00
    In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette by Hampton Sides (davesmind)
  5. 00
    The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris (CSL)
    CSL: Those looking for more about the most remarkable Theodore Roosevelt couldn't do better than to consult this first volume of Edmund Morris' (hopefully) three volume biography of the 26th President.
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» See also 318 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
I had read "Roosevelt's Beast" by Louis Bayard, which is a fictionalization of Theodore Roosevelt's expedition to the River of Doubt in the Amazon. I didn't love that book, but it intrigued me enough to want to read the true account (minus the mythical creature). I was not disappointed by "River of Doubt". It was an excellent adventure story and history lesson.

After losing his bid for a third presidential term, Roosevelt was looking for distraction. As originally planned, his trip to South America was going to be pretty tame and was sponsored by the Museum of Natural History. However, the trip morphed into a dangerous expedition to map the River of Doubt and explore the surrounding territory. Both the preparation for, and the organization of, this expedition were flawed, to say the least. They had to split off some of the original intended explorers, losing both their expertise and a share of the provisions. An elderly priest (who had planned the original trip) was shunted off when he decided that he would explore from the comfort of a sedan chair. The remaining group of just over 20 men included Roosevelt, one of his sons Kermit, Brazilian soldiers, indians and others. Some were experienced explorers, but not always successful ones. They had to lighten their load in order to get to the river, so much of their food had to go. (A lot of it was impractical anyway. Really, you need a crate of mustard or applesauce?) Unfortunately, their boats had to go too, leaving them to forage for makeshift, leaky canoes once they reached the river. I was really surprised to learn that they brought their pet dogs (and books) with them. The actual river part of the trip took about 2 months, but I'm sure it felt like longer to them. Both of the Roosevelts were adventurers and daredevils, but they had not had to cope with the number of adversities that plagued them in the Amazon, including gruesome parasites, venomous snakes, insects, accidents, diseases, hostile indians, impassable rapids and murder. This was a really fascinating story and very well written. ( )
1 vote fhudnell | Sep 8, 2018 |
What an astounding man Theodore Roosevelt was! After reading a review by my amazing GR friend, LeAnne, I decided this was a book I needed to read sooner instead of later.

I knew quite a bit about Mr. Roosevelt, including a bit about this final adventure in the Amazon. All my information came from a PBS special I saw a few years back on Theodore and Eleanor and Franklin. It was definitely enough to peek my interest in this American icon. He was far from anything we would expect to find in the White House these days. He was an adventurer who took his outdoor skills seriously, set standards very difficult to live up to, and held himself to a standard above anything he would have expected of anyone else.

The trip down the Amazon is described in enough detail to make you squirm in your seat and wonder how anyone came out the other side, let alone a man of Roosevelt's age and physical condition. He managed to make an exploration that garnered the admiration of explorers of the caliber of Robert Peary, the first man to reach the North Pole, and to exit the Amazon jungle with the respect and goodwill of all the men who made the trip with him.

In tribute to him, these are the words of Cherrie, a famed naturalist who was with Roosevelt on his trip down the River of Doubt: "I have always thought it strange," Cherrie said quietly, "since I had the opportunity to know him and know him intimately--because I feel that I did know him very intimately--how any man could be brought in close contact with Colonel Roosevelt without loving the man." What a statement that makes about the character of Roosevelt, that he could win the heart of such a man when the both of them must have been at their worst humor and suffering from hunger, illness and unimaginable discomforts.

I couldn't help thinking how much we need a man of his conviction and confidence today. I don't think you would have worried about insincerity, or indecision, or dishonesty, or a president engulfed in fear, when Roosevelt was at the wheel. I'm guessing that even in a state of peril, Roosevelt would have made you feel safe. He was larger than life, because he was not afraid of it.

[final thought: I tried to imagine a modern day president taking an assassin's bullet and standing up with the bullet still in him and making a speech, or any of our current former presidents heading off on such a dangerous adventure without having their security details in tow to clear the paths through the jungle for them. Nope can't do it.] ( )
  phantomswife | Jul 6, 2018 |
Roosevelt's last adventure, the trip that likely shortened his life... The real star of the adventure is Candido Rondon, the Brazilian explorer who was light-years ahead in relating to indigenous peoples. The chief casualty, alas, was probably poor Kermit Roosevelt, charged with accompanying his egomaniac, larger-than-life father in his ultra​-manly pursuits.(Trump offspring, take note!) ( )
  LaurelPoe | Dec 25, 2017 |
Longest Nat'l Geo Article
Theo Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
1912 after defeat Populist Party — 2 term pres. — physical challenge — unmapped tributary in Amazon — son Kermit — Brazil's famous — explore Candido — Rondon — changed map of West Hempisphere
Hardships — canoes, lost supplies — rapids
starvation — Ind attack — disease
3 men died — Teddy brink suicide
Pg 252 — same man after in wild w/o food / sleep — show true colors — Rules of camping — never 1st — everything fair

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.
  christinejoseph | Oct 3, 2017 |
The River of Doubt, or Rio da Dúvida, was the actual, dramatic name of a river in Brazil's Amazon region that is now called the Roosevelt River. Fresh off his failed attempt to return to the Presidency as the Progressive "Bull Moose" Party candidate, Theodore Roosevelt conducted a scientific expedition for the American Museum of Natural History to explore this remote river in 1913-14. Brazil's greatest explorer Cândido Rondon joined Roosevelt as leader and were accompanied as Roosevelt's son Kermit, a naturalist, and 15 porters. This book describes the adventure along the river that was plagued by waterfalls and rapids that required frequent portages, disease, loss of food and supplies, and the threat of the indigenous peoples, the Cinta Larga, tracking the expedition. One member of the party drowned, one was murdered, and the murderer was abandoned by the party in the jungle. Roosevelt himself suffered injuries and illness that brought him close to death and expressed the wish to be left behind. It's a harrowing story that despite happening in modern times seems to be from a more distant era. ( )
  Othemts | Sep 8, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 108 (next | show all)
"The River of Doubt" spins these events into a rich, dramatic tale that ranges from the personal to the literally earth-shaking... "Ms. Millard succeeds in taking a broad, humbling view of one man's place in the natural scheme of things. She juxtaposes Roosevelt's larger-than-life persona with the rules of the jungle."
added by danielx | editNew York Times, Janet Maslin (Jan 20, 2017)
 
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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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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)

The true story of Theodore Roosevelt's harrowing 1914 exploration of one of the most dangerous rivers on earth, 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 tributary of the Amazon. He 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. Yet he accomplished a feat so great that many at the time refused to believe it.--From publisher description.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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