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The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey | [Candice Millard]

The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey

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.
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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 (2310 )
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4.5 (1251 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Tracy 02-02-09
    Tracy 02-02-09 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazon meets TR. Wow!"

    Marvelous adventure punctuated by terrific background data about the rainforest and its history. Non-fiction at its best. I'm going to use it in a college course on the Amazon.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lee 03-08-08
    Lee 03-08-08
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    "great for history buffs!"

    This was a joy to listen to. For fans of history, and TR especially, but it also gives great detail of Brazil and the natural as well as political and cultural landscape. But most of all, it is a great tale of adventure and travel from almost 100 years ago. Highly recommended!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Boulderite 02-12-08
    Boulderite 02-12-08 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What history should be"

    This is a great story, for its own sake, and for what it teaches us about struggles with nature, with others, and with ourselves. It is not heavy in tone -- just a story -- but it is deep with insight and adventure. This is my best read of the year.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marc Port Ewen, NY, USA 05-10-07
    Marc Port Ewen, NY, USA 05-10-07
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    "A great read!"

    This book has everything: history of an relatively unknown adventure by a former US president, a naturalist's adventure in the strange, fascinating and beautiful world of the deepest parts of the Amazon rain forest, a psychological study of a father/son relationship during the most harrowing of times, an eye opening account of Brazil in the early 20th century, a thriller few novelists could match, and much more. I don't doubt it will be made into a movie. Well read and superbly written. Incredible.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sabrina Mililani, HI, United States 04-28-06
    Sabrina Mililani, HI, United States 04-28-06
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    "My all time favorite"

    I loved this book on so many levels. It's well-researched, well-written, well-narrated, educational, and can't-put-it-down enthralling. I listened to it twice. My favorite kind of book is nonfiction that reads like fiction, and this is the best of that kind. It flows like an adventure novel - it's almost unbelievable that it's a true story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carrie O'Donnell 03-16-06
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Don't miss this one"

    Excellent...so interesting. He's such an indomitable character and it shows in this book, but its about more than just Theodore Roosevelt, its about exploration, courage, teamwork, and courage.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James Grapevine, TX, United States 12-24-05
    James Grapevine, TX, United States 12-24-05
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    "A Glorious Listen"

    This is the story of Teddy Roosevelt's trip through the Amazon rain forest to explore the newly discovered River of Doubt in 1913. If I were teaching school I would use this book for almost any subject: science, geography, political science, history, etc. Lots more fun than textbooks.

    The narrator is Paul Michael, who is as good as Scott Brick or George Guidall. Audible indicates it is read by Richard Ferrone, but that applies to the abridged version. This is one of those rare non-fiction books that reads like the best novel. I find it very hard to believe that this is by a first time author.

    One nit I have to pick is that there is no mention of Tweed Roosevelt, Teddy's great grandson, who repeated the trip in 1992 (finding that the cannibals by then were watching satellite TV!).

    This is a book I would never have opened in paper, and I would have been much the poorer for it.

    This is not a biography, but an exploration of a region that even today we don't know much about, incidentally undertaken by a former US president.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    JohninMaine Maine, United States 04-21-08
    JohninMaine Maine, United States 04-21-08
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    "Interesting and Bizarre Adventure"

    Interesting little piece of history brought to life. The reader does a great job. I liked learning a lot about the men on the journey and about the Amazon jungle.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    William Silver Spring, MD, USA 01-20-08
    William Silver Spring, MD, USA 01-20-08
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    "Fantastic voyage"

    Excellent narration and compelling writing. Millard mixes an epic adventure narrative with corrective insights on biodiversity and the sad, inevitable encounter of indigenous peoples with technologically advanced, resource exploitive civilizations. Even so, it never goes overboard, and the detail serves to build suspense for the main story - the dangerous adventure of the Roosevelt-Rondon expedition on the River of Doubt.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kelly 01-30-11
    Kelly 01-30-11 Member Since 2010
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    "Wanted and Expected to Love This"

    I'm a big fan of the survival/exploration/overcoming adversity type of non-fiction books and of Mr. Roosevelt, so after reading the glowing reviews here I was very excited to listen to this and learn something new about TR.

    After finishing the story I'd have to say I was disappointed. I found my mind wandering and was disinterested at times when the author goes on long tangents about vegetation, reptiles, natives and insects. I realize that's necessary to establish the environment and the dangers these people were facing, but most of it felt like it was filler because they didn't have enough content to fill the book as it related to TR and the traveling party. Most of what was mentioned was never actually encountered by the traveling party. I never felt any momentum or tension building-up.

    Seeing all these other reviews puzzles me, maybe I expected too much but I never felt I was at the "edge of my seat" or felt I couldn't go to bed until I heard what happened next. I still admire the men for what they accomplished and endured but I'd recommend other books in this genre to friends before this one (Undaunted Courage, Into Africa, Down the Great Unknown etc.). I guess I'll give 3 stars because it clued me into something else in TR's amazing life.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful

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