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The River of Doubt Audiobook

The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey

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Audible Editor Reviews

Why we think it's Essential: It's a rare audiobook of any genre that keeps me on the edge of my seat. But a history book? Yet, as I listened to this impeccably researched biography/adventure, I could feel death around every bend of the Amazon. I really didn't know whether TR's quest for glory would be his last. —Steve Feldberg

Publisher's Summary

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, Candido 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.

©2005 Candice Miller; (P)2005 Books on Tape

What the Critics Say

"Millard...nails the suspense element of this story perfectly, but equally important to her success is the marvelous amount of detail she provides on the wildlife that Roosevelt and his fellow explorers encountered on their journey, as well as the cannibalistic indigenous tribe that stalked them much of the way." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (3105 )
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4.5 (1981 )
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Performance
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  •  
    LucyLu 12-28-13
    LucyLu 12-28-13 Member Since 2010

    Non-fiction, fiction--I read widely. Except bodice rippers. I'd rather pull my own eyelashes out than read romance. Avid, happy reader.

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    "Great Adventure with a Side of Fascinating Facts"

    Just buy it. If you're even reading reviews, you likely enjoy a good, well-written history, and this fits the bill. I bought this on the strength of loving the author's book, "Destiny of the Republic", and wasn't disappointed. Millard has a knack for injecting historical information that's flat fascinating without it interrupting the pace of the story. Here, the information about the Amazon and the family life of the Roosevelts is amazing, and blends effortlessly with the action of this expedition. Pretty sure this is the first book I've experienced with narration by Michael, and he was very good. No fancy accents and the like--which can be great at times (think Shantaram), but when there isn't much to do, it's nicer when the narrator doesn't get in the way of the story. You aren't thinking about what an amazing actor he is--you're just engrossed in the book, and definitely not thinking that he's annoying you in any way. Really liked it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Dan Ontario, CA, United States 12-17-13
    Dan Ontario, CA, United States 12-17-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Excellent performance"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The River of Doubt to be better than the print version?

    I had not read the print version


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Theodore as he provides inspiration in the face of adversity


    What does Paul Michael bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    The voice and inflection given to the various characters provided a sense of reality as if I was present during the conversations.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I found several points in the journey note worthy but the decision to lance Theodare's infections in such dismal conditions lend credibility to the hardships they faced


    Any additional comments?

    I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys listening and learning about the great explorers of the past

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dignan East Walpole, MA 12-15-13
    Dignan East Walpole, MA 12-15-13 Member Since 2011
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    "A great mix of history, science and characters"
    What made the experience of listening to The River of Doubt the most enjoyable?

    The historical accounts mixed with the science and ecology of the amazon was well intertwined.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Candice Millard? Why or why not?

    Yes, this historical account was told so that it felt like an adventure novel.


    What three words best describe Paul Michael’s voice?

    Expressive, clear


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I was amazed of the horrific conditions and the amazing wildlife in the amazon.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean Greenwich, NY, United States 11-26-13
    Sean Greenwich, NY, United States 11-26-13
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    "One Part Adventure, One Part History"
    Where does The River of Doubt rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    If one enjoys adventure and wilderness nonfiction as well as historical nonfiction this is a choice book. We get a good taste of the Amazon at the turn of the century, combined with a unique view of the man that was Theodore Roosevelt.


    Which character – as performed by Paul Michael – was your favorite?

    Paul Michael again hits the mark in the performance here.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    eedgirl 11-22-13
    eedgirl 11-22-13
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    "The Teddy Story I Never Heard Til Now?!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I have recommended this book to several people in conversation as a little known story of the charismatic President Teddy Roosevelt. This story would make a great movie! The story is fraught with detail about the wilderness of the Brazilian region, wonderful characters, dangers abound and Millard captures both the vulnerable side of TR and that which makes him truly "BULLY" indeed.


    What other book might you compare The River of Doubt to and why?

    The real story of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SJM-NJ Westfield, NJ United States 10-05-13
    SJM-NJ Westfield, NJ United States 10-05-13 Member Since 2011

    SJM - NJ

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    "Fascinating - true story of courage and adventure"

    What a great story about Teddy Roosevelt. The writing was excellent and the narrator did an excellent job. Hard to believe this is a true story - really provides some depth of character around one of our most interesting presidents. This is the second book by Candice Millard that I've listened to and they are both very well done. The book will take you on a wonderful journey.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deilsie Marie Heath Greenfield, PA USA 09-14-13
    Deilsie Marie Heath Greenfield, PA USA 09-14-13 Member Since 2011

    boldly goer

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    "Candice Millard Does It Again"
    What did you love best about The River of Doubt?

    This is another historical piece that I would recommend to anyone looking at past American leadership. Although TR was not president at the time, Candice Millard shows us why this man was revered and despised. Millard brought me closer to understanding another one of my American heroes. The ease of listening to the narrator was quite soothing. He did an excellent job reading. I am now on my second listening.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The flow of the story cannot be overlooked. I took that journey with TR and Rondon, Kermit and everyone else on the expedition. Candice Millard gives you history as a novel. It is no way boring and no way sensationalized. I never tired of listening. I wanted to know what was around the next bend on the River of Doubt.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My favorite scene was when TR wanted to "take out" the lazy, conniving fellow who killed one of his fellow workers. After Rondon explained to TR, the fellow could not be killed, but must be tried by their law. I felt as TR, yet I knew TR's way was the American mindset. It was not his place. It was Rondon's decision.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I had no problems with the narrator's performance. There were no over the top theatrics, just historical deliverance. Bully for him, as an adjective, not a noun.


    Any additional comments?

    By all means, the printed copy will be added to my family library. I am now interested in more about TR and others of his era. I recommend this to any TR enthusiast, audible or printed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas anaheim hills, CA, United States 07-04-13
    Douglas anaheim hills, CA, United States 07-04-13 Member Since 2014
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    "Great Book"
    What did you love best about The River of Doubt?

    I loved the adventure of this book and that a former US President would take such a journey...and survive.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    My favorite seen is when Roosevelt had given himself up for dead and chose not to go on so he would not harm the group from their chances of getting out alive.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Courage beyond measure


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    amazonman 06-01-13
    amazonman 06-01-13

    I love to learn and share whatever excellence I discover in the process

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    "RIVETING. DO NOT MISS THIS BOOK"
    Would you listen to The River of Doubt again? Why?

    If you have any interest whatsoever in Theodore Roosevelt and the Amazon region, this book will inform and amaze you.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynn 06-01-13
    Lynn 06-01-13 Member Since 2010
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    "needed an editor"
    Would you try another book from Candice Millard and/or Paul Michael?

    Possibly, depending on the topic.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    The story was very interesting and gave me a new perspective on Teddy Roosevelt and his family. But the book was filled with so much natural history and detail about every living creature in the Amazon that there were hours when I was incredibly bored and had to turn off the narrative. I only kept turning it back on because I wanted to see how Roosevelt emerged from this nightmare journey.

    The book was well researched but there were many passages and possibly, pages, that I would have cut if I were her editor.
    She presents historical and well researched information in a personal way as if she were living at the time. She provides lots of details about other events of the time, political and otherwise that put things into perspective and bring them to life. This was both a strength and a weakness when carried to extreme.


    Have you listened to any of Paul Michael’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    He was very good. His pronunciation of the South American names sounded really authentic, although I wouldn’t know.


    What else would you have wanted to know about Candice Millard’s life?

    If you mean Teddy Roosevelt, not in this book.


    Any additional comments?

    This is worth reading, but I think I would recommend buying the actual paper book so you can skim through the boring parts.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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