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 recently reread this book and it is fantastic. The narrator is excellent and the story is enthralling. I disagree with the reviewers who did not like the "tangents" about Belle and the endless detail. I think the "tangents" humanized the characters and gave some context. The detail is fascinating and allows learning. It also piques my interest and I would look up what happened to Kermit and Kermit's son (CIA agent in charge of overthrowing the elected leader of Iran and installing the Shah).
I highly recommend this book to history buffs, and people who like true stories.
Very interesting account. Being a Brazilian myself, it was sometimes hard to hear the terrible pronunciation of the several Portuguese names throughout the book, but nothing that damaged it's great story.
It's almost cliche to say 'this non-fiction reads like fiction', but this non-fiction is as fast-paced as fiction.
It's interesting throughout, exploring not only Teddy Roosevelt, but also Roosevelt's son Kermit, and Brazilian explorer Candido Rondon.
The narrator is unobtrusive and pleasant voiced.
The sheer danger and adventure that Roosevelt and his men sought in the Amazon was amazing to learn about. I have not "read" much biography and it made me feel closer to such an interesting president and fascinating man.
The details of the trip began to bore me however, and it was difficult to listen to for more than an hour at a time. I don't know how many times the author listed the numbers of boats, how much they weighed, etc. Maybe that's the genre or maybe it's lack of editing. I had a hard time getting through but am the better for it.
I knew nothing at all about this expedition prior to this book. It is one of the most fascinating tales I've read, is easy to listen to (time passes quickly, except when the writer deliberately slows things down so you "feel their pain" and despair). The wrap-up at the end gives important closure to this amazing true-life adventure that beats anything on the Discovery Channel. It is suitable for family listening, and my 15-year-old nephew loved it as well. I will admit, though, I am no longer in such a hurry to visit the rain forest of South America!
This was a very interesting book and despite the fact that several times I found that my mind was wandering, I never really seemed to miss anything that took away from the story. Interesting history.
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