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)
I'm not one to read non fiction all that frequently, but this is a book that was recommended to me time and time again. My god, I am so glad that I finally took up that recommendation. This is an extraordinary adventure about extraordinary men, told with an extraordinary narrative. Listen, read, whatever your medium of choice, River of Doubt is not to be missed.
The narrator of this book is excellent. His voice is smooth and strong depicting the character of the men on this journey--smooth Rough Riders.
The human spirit prevails against all odds in this amazing story of Roosevelts expedition. Never a boring moment, whether the actual events while traversing the jungle or when the author is describing various flora and fauna of the jungle. The narrator was terrific. I love that he uses different voices for the various character in the story. Bravo. A favorite that we have told everyone about.
The most incredible tale of any Journey to any place by any person of all time. Best yet, the tale is true. Griping saga, tragic heroes and national icons. Should be #1 on anyone's outdoor endurance reading list. 10 stars on a scale of 5.
An outstanding book, masterfully narrated that tells the fascinating story of Roosevelt's exploration of one of this planet's most inhospitable environs. I couldn't put it down...and I'm confident that you will be drawn into the story in similar fashion.
Middle of the pack
When the expedition finally got on the river.
No extreme reaction
I enjoyed this audiobook, I've definitely heard/read better adventure books, but this one wasn't bad. I would recommend it to friends.
I first heard about TR's journey down the River of Doubt in the last volume of Edmund Morris' monumental biography of TR. I had never known about this part of his life. Edmund Morris devoted a few chapters to the journey and I became very interested. I saw a recent interview with the author and I became even more intrigued.
If I say anything about the story I will give away all the action, but I will give you the following tid-bits:
TR was supposed to go to Brazil and Argentina for a speaking/lecture tour at some universities. He did it primarily to make money: he was broke in 1913 and he needed to raise some money so that he could pay the tuition at Harvard for his two youngest sons Archie and Quentin.
After the speaking tour was over, he planned on taking a river cruise down the Amazon to collect nature samples for the Museum of Natural History. The Museum agreed to finance the trip and pay for his supplies, and he negotiated a deal with Scribner's magazine to write articles about his journey. All in all, it was supposed to be a vacation.
In Brazil, TR immediately fell in with a bunch of adrenaline junkies and adventurers, most notably Colonel Rondon, a Brazilian military officer, telegraph engineer, and conservationist who convinced TR that he would gain more glory if he agreed to travel with him to an uncharted tributary of the Amazon called "The River of Doubt".
The things that happen after that are so unbelievable, you have to listen to this book to realize what an accomplishment this was: Drownings, suicide attempts, Piranha attacks, murder, cannibalistic natives, flesh-eating bacteria, disease, and a host of other perils so extreme they are almost indescribable befall the expedition.
Through this, you will learn about TR, about his son Kermit (who is a fascinating person) and especially about Colonel Rondon, who is even today a Brazilian national hero that has a whole province in Brazil (Rondonia) named after him, and was one of the first people to champion the protection of Brazilian native peoples.
The narrator reads with pathos and energy, does the voices for all the characters, and narrates the especially harrowing scenes with such emotion that I cried a few times.
Millard's descriptions of the jungle are both detailed and terrifying.
This book was so good, I would sit in my car after I got home for 20 minutes to continue listening.
Listen to this book!
Non-fiction, fiction--I read widely. Except bodice rippers. I'd rather pull my own eyelashes out than read romance. Avid, happy reader.
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.
I had not read the print version
Theodore as he provides inspiration in the face of adversity
The voice and inflection given to the various characters provided a sense of reality as if I was present during the conversations.
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
I would recommend this book to anyone that enjoys listening and learning about the great explorers of the past
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