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The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
 
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The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey [Kindle Edition]

Candice Millard
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

Print List Price: CDN$ 19.00
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Sold by: Random House Canada, Incorp.
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Ferrone's gravelly, stentorian, hushed voice sounds downright presidential in reading the story of this little-known event from ex-Commander-in-Chief Theodore Roosevelt's postpolitical life. After losing his third-party run for the 1912 presidential election, Roosevelt agreed to accompany a Brazilian explorer on a trip along the Amazon, hoping to map the river's uncharted path. Expecting an uneventful trip, Roosevelt and his party barely managed to escape with their lives. Ferrone adopts a strange tone when providing Roosevelt's voice, attempting to echo his famously brusque boom and sounding oddly strangled in the process. His reading is on steadier ground in conveying the sweep of Millard's prose, uniting the personal drama of the Roosevelt family with the naturalist investigations of the voyage. Ferrone carries the narrative along on the waves of his own raspy, gruff instrument, shuttling readers through Millard's book with a steely self-assurance reminiscent of its subject. Simultaneous release with the Doubleday hardcover (Reviews, July 11). (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Anacondas, huge snakes found in the Amazon River and its tributaries, can weigh up to 500 pounds. That fact and many others embedded in this marvelously atmospheric travel narrative are here for the reader's asking and edification in Millard's important contribution to the complete biographical record of the great, dynamic Teddy Roosevelt. TR, it will be remembered, attempted a third term as president in 1912, only to make certain of a Democratic victory. Licking his wounds, and reverting to his typical method of "seeking solace from heartbreaks and frustration" by testing his physical endurance, he embarked on an Amazon exploration adventure. A set of odd circumstances led to the River of Doubt as the choice of venue, a large tributary of the giant river that up to that point had been little explored. What with suffering from fever and infection, Roosevelt nearly died on the trip; but live through it he did, and readers of both American history and travel narratives will take delight in living through these exciting pages. Brad Hooper
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Final Triumph of a Maginficent Life! Feb. 11 2010
By James Gallen TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD
I had often heard of Theodore Roosevelt's exploration down through the Amazon Jungle, but had never read the details of this great adventure. "The River of Doubt" gave me that opportunity. Recoiling from his defeat in the 1912 election, invitations to undertake a lecture tour of South America grew into a "Last chance to be a boy." More than that, this journey of exploration down the uncharted River of Doubt, enabled Roosevelt to add his name to the list of great explorers of the earth, along with Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, Hernando DeSoto and others who filled in blank spaces on the map.

It takes a book like this, totally devoted to the great exploration, to really convey the enormity of the challenge which met the Roosevelt expedition. Accompanied by his son, Kermit, and Brazil's most renowned explorer this voyage of discovery began by lightening its load at the expense of discharging food and equipment which it would later need. The River of Doubt was a thousand mile ribbon of water snaking through the densest jungle on earth. Challenged by waterfalls and rapids, heat and insects, deadly predators and watchful Indians, the expedition gradually weakened as it raced to reach the outside world before its supplies were exhausted. Drowned and murdered members had to be buried, crush canoes replaced, water hazards bypassed and elusive game hunted as the explorers struggled to complete the journey alive. Toward the end, little more than raw courage kept the men going.

For Theodore Roosevelt, this was a most unusual undertaking for an ex-President. Weakened by disease and infection resulting from a leg injury, TR almost died on several occasions and begged his companions to leave him behind so that the expedition would not be jeopardized.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The President's Real Men Dec 27 2013
By David Wineberg TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
There are two starring roles in The River of Doubt. One is the Amazon Basin and the other is Colonel Candido Rondon. Theodore Roosevelt clearly plays a minor, supporting role. Which is ironic, considering his outsized personality. And the fact that the book tries to be about him.

Hard to imagine today, but just a hundred years ago, no one knew what the Amazon interior looked like. There were no planes, satellites, four wheel drives or GPS. Explorers used oxen to carry their life support needs. There was no way to prepare in advance for what might be encountered. You could still discover rivers and mountains and name them yourself. That is the adventure Roosevelt set for himself after losing the presidential election by splitting his own party’s vote with a third party of his own. He was out, he was ignored, he was bored and he was depressed. And like many another, when in that state of being, the solution was: Road Trip!

The miracle of the trip (other than making it home at all) was that he was able to engage Candido Rondon to lead it for him. The Brazilian Rondon was experienced in the area because as head of the telegraph commission, he had been leading teams of men stringing wire over an 800 mile stretch of roadless interior, cutting trees for poles and planting them by hand as they went. He also headed the bureau protecting Indians (though they did not know it, there being no communications), which was his lifelong passion. He had come from total poverty to the military (as his only chance out) and drove himself relentlessly and flawlessly to positions of respect. Despite his small size, slight stature, country accent, lack of education, or friends. He instituted logic, common sense and zero hypocrisy in his leadership style.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read Dec 27 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It is one of the best true stories I've read, an exciting adventure and believable in many ways. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys adventure stories.

gord harris
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of my favorites! July 20 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was my first introduction to the exciting days of exploration! I loved Millard's writing voice. You could tell she put a lot of detailed research into this. It was expertly spun together in a great piece that delivers context, biography, and field notes from an amazing expedition. I will read this more than once for sure. If you are thinking about buying...do it!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars RIVER TOO LONG Nov. 23 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Candice Millard has written about an extraordinary adventure taken by Theodore Roosevelt after he left the presidency of the USA. Of the many outstanding things Roosevelt did during his lifetime, this journey into the heart of Brazil with his son Kermit, as the world was plunging into a global war, was possibly the most foolish. The joint expedition he led with Marshall Candido Rondon, did discover a new river that flowed 1000 km through an unexplored region of Brazil that reached the Amazon. However, he nearly died doing so, and the damage done to his health probably led to his early death.
Unfortunately this is not an easy read. The prose is uninspiring and pacing as slow as the progress made by the Expedition through the hot, insect infested jungle. A great opportunity is missed here to tell of an incredible achievement by two incredible men, both famous in their own right. One wishes to learn more about Rondon and his soldiers, and less about Kermit and his socialite fiancee Belle.
For a more satisfactory account of this story, I recommend reading chapters 15 & 16 of Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris, the third and final volume of his biography of Theodore Roosevelt. In 42 pages Morris condenses what Millard requires 353 to tell in mind numbing detail. Sometimes less is better.
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