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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 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"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 listeners say about The River of Doubt

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great portions if this wonderful book were skipped.

I was not aware that Audible would leave out huge portions of a book. Very disappointing. I think that it should be noted up front that you are not purchasing the entire book.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Couldn't put it down!

This is a wonderfully written book about an amazing adventure - a journey down an uncharted and unexplored river of the Brazilian rain forest, led by the middle-aged ex-president of the United States. The explorers encountered privation, injury, disease and death in seeking the river's outlet to the Amazon; the two-month journey was nearly Roosevelt's last.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Terrific Story

This is an account of Teddy Roosevelt's search for adventure after leaving the White House. He decides to tackle the charting of "The River of Doubt" an unexplored tributary of the Amazon. This is just a great story which fleshes out the biography of TR that I have carried in my head for so long. The former President, his son, and a partner set out on this "adventure" and all sorts of things happen along the way.

In addition to enlightening the listener about the post-presidential activities of TR, this book is wonderful for two reasons. First, the narration is some of the best that Richard Ferrone has recorded. Second, I purhcased the Abridged version. I usually avoid abridgements because they read like "cut and paste." This abridgement made me wish I had rented the full version.

The final section of the book informs the reader of what happened to TR and his son after the South American exploration. That is quite touching and informative as well.

Hooray for Candic Millard. I hope that she authors much more to come.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

River of Doubt

Usually I do not write reviews, but in this case I felt an obligation to tell all who would like a suspense filled biography from beginning to end, that this is it. Betond the suspense there are bits and pieces of human interaction that Candice Millard picks up. This was the best book that I have ever heard or read and one that I didn't want it to end. Beyond the drama of the event (exploration of an Amazon tributary) the writing style and narration was key to keeping my interest. I cannot wait for the next Millard book.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting true story

What you never knew about Teddy Roosevelt framed in an impressive story. It was well told in the sense that it had a great deal of detail to help dramatize it but it could have been edited and enhanced to bring it more to life. All in all, anybody that is the least bit curious what this amazing man was like should read or listen to this.

2 people found this helpful

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Rainforest — 1, Great White Hunter — 0

Teddy Roosevelt was a privileged man who always challenged himself, so it’s no surprise that he took on an uncharted river in an uncharted forest peopled by unfriendly natives. It may have once been seen as a rip roaring adventure story (especially if you’re a guy), but I see it as a clueless self-created “hero” biting off more than he could chew. His greatest success in this venture was in escaping with his life. The rainforest pretty much erased his expedition with a rapidity unmatched by his feat. Sure, it’s a good thing to map the Unknown, but at what price? I especially mourn the dogs, who didn’t deserve their “glorious” fate. The narrator droned on and on, effectively subduing whatever may have been exciting. Even author Candice Millard’s description of the piercing wail of a howler monkey fell flat in the hands of the narrator.

I’ve read Millard’s most excellent Destiny of the Republic, a fascinating story with larger-than-life characters who were as real as T.R. but a heck of a lot more interesting. Listen to Destiny of the Republic — that’s my heartfelt recommendation.

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Interesting

Truth stranger than fiction. Hard to believe but true. Ted Roosevelt quite a man of his time!

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Excellent book

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the story of the treacherous travels on the river of doubt. I learned so much more about Teddy Roosevelt and was so pleased to do so!

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TR, Indy, and Lost City of Z

Anyone fascinated with Theodore Roosevelt, Indiana Jones, or The Lost City of Z will like this story of TR's research trip for natural history. Millard is as good as David McCullough.

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Excellent Adventure

Would you listen to The River of Doubt again? Why?

Yes, because the story is riveting.

Who was your favorite character and why?

My favorite character was Rondon. I admired his discipline and the way this book described the events in his life that led him to such an extraordinary life. I also thought Kermit was an incredibly complex character, and was sad to hear he later succumbed to his inner demons after so many personal accomplishments.

What about Richard Ferrone’s performance did you like?

Easy listening voice.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes. But I did have to break it up.

Any additional comments?

After numerous technical difficulties on my mac laptop, I finally just had to use my phone app to listen to the whole thing, The mac laptop could not remember where I left off, and I could never figure out how to start up in the same spot after hitting pause.