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The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey Paperback – Oct 10 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; 1st edition (Oct. 10 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767913736
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767913737
  • Product Dimensions: 20.3 x 13.4 x 2.4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #82,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By James Gallen TOP 100 REVIEWER on Feb. 11 2010
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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I really couldn't put this book down. It is historic adventure at it's best and one of the best books of its kind I have ever read. The Characters are well drawn; Roosevelt's genuine and prinicpled courage, shared by his son, Kermit, and the remarkable Colonel Rondon, explorer, surveyer and friend to the very hostile tribes of the region. Even the infamous, Julio, murderer and thief emerges as a real person. Candice Millard has done a terrific job with this book; her prose is flawless and she captures the claustrophobic horrors of the deep jungle, both inhospitable and very alive. Her forays into history, anthropology and biology are also quite welcome. Highly recommended!
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By David Wineberg TOP 100 REVIEWER on Dec 27 2013
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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