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
"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)
This is a book with many good features but perhaps the best is the author's seamless weaving of the geography into the narrative. The rain forest comes alive but it is not the rain forest of hippie bumber stickers. The law of the jungle prevails from the mightiest of flora and fauna to the most insignificant. What appears to be an overabundance of life masks a vicious struggle to survive. And into this seething cualdron is cast one of our greatest presidents.
This book was so interesting and entertaining. I felt like I was in South America with Teddy Roosevelt. The imagery is wonderful and each charter is well developed.
First let me say, that I love true stories of adventure and people who face adventure and overcome. The title and synopsis of this book told me that it fit this genre. What I wasn't told was how many wild tangents and detours I would have to listen to in order to hear what really happened on the journey. The author takes quite a break to describe Amazon vegetation, Amazon reptiles, Amazon natives, and on and on she went taking me out of the story and into needless jaunts into trivial facts which add little or nothing to the story. Although I must admit some information on these topics needed to be presented, the author seemed to belabor the points and I would find my mind wondering away from the story. I could not force myself to finish the story. I know that Roosevelt lived through the adventure, but due to the fact that I was continually frustrated by these "wild tangents" I wasn't willing to endure the last three and a half hours of content to explore how he did it. I would not make this purchase again.
Good, but not great, historical 'listening'. Could have used a more observant editor. Great promise...so-so delivery. Wish characters had been better drawn...though it did bring me back to my experiences visiting the Amazon.
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