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The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey Hardcover – October 18, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; First Edition edition (October 18, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385507968
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385507967
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (799 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,965 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a gripping account, Millard focuses on an episode in Teddy Roosevelt's search for adventure that nearly came to a disastrous end. A year after Roosevelt lost a third-party bid for the White House in 1912, he decided to chase away his blues by accepting an invitation for a South American trip that quickly evolved into an ill-prepared journey down an unexplored tributary of the Amazon known as the River of Doubt. The small group, including T.R.'s son Kermit, was hampered by the failure to pack enough supplies and the absence of canoes sturdy enough for the river's rapids. An injury Roosevelt sustained became infected with flesh-eating bacteria and left the ex-president so weak that, at his lowest moment, he told Kermit to leave him to die in the rainforest. Millard, a former staff writer for National Geographic, 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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Bookmarks Magazine

Every critic enjoyed Millard’s yarn about an ex-president’s fervent desire for adventure and self-acceptance. By focusing on the vivid details of Roosevelt’s journey to the Amazon as well as his relationship with his son, Millard creates much more than your typical ho-hum adventure. The beauty of this story is not just that Roosevelt’s rich history could spawn a thousand adventure stories, but that Millard’s experience with National Geographic is evident in her beautiful scenic descriptions and grisly depictions of the Amazon’s man-eating catfish, ferocious piranhas, white-water rapids, and prospect of starvation. A story deep in symbolism and thick with research, Millard succeeds where many have not; she has managed to contain a little bit of Teddy Roosevelt’s energy and warm interactions between the covers of her wonderful new book.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.


More About the Author

Candice Millard is a former writer and editor for National Geographic magazine. Her first book, The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey, was a New York Times bestseller and was named one of the best books of the year by the New York Times, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Christian Science Monitor, and Kansas City Star. The River of Doubt was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and a Book Sense Pick, was a finalist for the Quill Awards, and won the William Rockhill Nelson Award. It has been printed in Portuguese, Mandarin, and Korean, as well as a British edition.

Millard's second book, Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine & the Murder of a President, rose to number five on The New York Times bestseller list and has been named a best book of the year by The New York Times, Washington Post, Kirkus Reviews, The Kansas City Star, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Destiny of the Republic won the 2011 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime, the PEN Center USA award for Research Nonfiction, the One Book--One Lincoln Award, the Ohioana Award and the Kansas Notable Book Award.

Millard's work has also appeared in Time Magazine, Washington Post Book World, and the New York Times Book Review. She lives in Kansas City with her husband and three children.

You can follow Candice Millard on Twitter at @candice_millard and on Facebook at both Candice Millard and Destiny of the Republic.

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#74 in Books > History
#74 in Books > History

Customer Reviews

Candice Millard tells the story very well.
R. E. Mansfield Jr.
I found it awesome to read of the adventures of Teddy Roosevelt in THE RIVER OF DOUBT by Candice Millard.
Larry Rochelle
For those who enjoy a good adventure story, this book is a great read and highly recommended.
Robbie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

317 of 323 people found the following review helpful By John D. Sherwood on December 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anyone who enjoyed Stephen Ambrose's Undaunted Courage or any other tale of exploration and hardship will love River of Doubt. Candice Millard's new book chronicles the expedition of Theodore Roosevelt and his Brazilian co-commander, Candido Mariano da Silva Rondon, down one of Amazon's last unexplored tributaries in 1914-the River of Doubt. The 400-mile river trip tested every ounce of the ex-president's intellect, courage, and physical stamina. Millard's book, therefore, is more a tale of survival than adventure.

Roosevelt and his American companions were woefully unprepared for their journey. They brought boats too large to be of use on a shallow river, and had to rely instead on Indian-made dugouts-canoes designed more for local transportation on flat water than long-distanced descents through rapids. The American and Brazilain members of the group often had to portage these heavy, waterlogged boats around rapids, which cost the group both time and precious food supplies.

Food proved to be one of the most vexing problems of the journey. Much of the canned food shipped from the United States was too heavy to be carried to the expedition's launching point in the Brazilian highlands, and had to be discarded. Instead, Roosevelt hoped to augment his increasingly meager rations with game shot along the way. Unfortunately, the rain forest did not offer much bounty and the group ended up eating monkeys and piranhas to survive-creatures far more difficult to kill than deer and antelope.

If that were not enough, disease plagued the expedition at every corner. Kermit, the son of President Roosevelt, fought malaria for most of the trip and Theodore almost died when he contracted a deadly bacterial infection from a small flesh wound.
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276 of 288 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 27, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I saw River of Doubt it struck me as a fascinating story and I immediately put in my order with Amazon. As I waited for it to arrive, I began to worry that I might have been too impulsive. Afterall, a fascinating story can be as limp as milk toast in the hands of a mediocre writer. I wondered if the author would bring Roosevelt's Amazon journey to life without adding so many extraneous details about Roosevelt himself that the real adventure was lost. Or, on the other hand, not supplying enough details about the central characters to allow me to understood the true context in which the adventure occurred.

After I got the book and started to read, all of my concerns were put aside. Completely. I know next to nothing about T. Roosevelt. Millard gave me what I needed to know to understand why he would take such a dangerous trip, at such a late age, in the first place.

She was equally masterful with all the other participants (many fascinating characters in their own right). I think Millard was near perfect in giving the background of people and why they ended up on this diasterous adventure while keeping the story moving at a fascinating and absorbing clip. One really gets a sense of how people were feeling when they started with what they thought would be a casual adventure and found themselves descending into one of Earth's strangest hells. It's a spellbinding story delivered by a very competent writer and researcher.

I've always enjoyed true stories of the Amazon River. Miller's River of Doubt is fascinating, informing, and gripping and stands with the best of them.
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98 of 102 people found the following review helpful By C. Hutton on October 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
There is a spate of books concerning Theodore Roosevelt's life: his New York years and first marriage, his cowboy days in the Dakota's, the Spanish-American War phrase and his presidency. Until last year, there were few books about his retirement decade until Patricia O'Toole's "When Trumpets Call." His dangerous exploration of the Amazon rain forest covers a mere 7 pages in Ms. O'Toole's biography. That exploration is the subject of "The River of Doubt."

Does this brief three month trip of discovery on the Rio da Duvida (River of Doubt) warrent a full scale book? In Ms. Millard's superb account of the near fatal expedition, the answer is yes. The former president was an adrenaline junkie who needed to forget his loss in the 1912 campaign for the White House. He found all the adventure he would ever crave on the Rio da Duvida, for he was way in over his head. If not for their guide, Colonel Candido Rondon, no one would have made it out alive -- Roosevelt's disappearance would have top Amelia Earhart as the mystery of the century. This adventure yarn focuses, not on the political animal, but on a man who would never quit and never did.
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80 of 83 people found the following review helpful By Alex L. Silva on July 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a fascinating account of Theodore Roosevelt's expedition through the Brazilian wilderness in The River of Doubt. This book was especially interesting for me as my great great grandfather is Candido Mariano da Silva Rondon, the co-commander of the Roosevelt-Rondon Scientific expedition which put the Rio de Duvida, later renamed the Rio Roosevelt, on the map.

The author is a former writer and editor for National Geographic magazine and brings that adventurous spirit and knowledge into her writing. She did extensive research for the book into not only the history of the region but also the biology. But this information isn't just tossed into the book for the sake of trivia. Instead she weaves each piece of info into the story. For example, she discusses Roosevelt's foreign policy specifically as it relates to South America while, in the story, Roosevelt's ship is steaming toward Brazil. At other points she discusses fish as large as sharks in order to explain the type of psychological pressures the men were up against as they went along their journey. Also, when helpful for the story, she details relevant biographical information for the purpose of character development.

The story reads like a fiction novel though it is a well-documented and footnoted true story. The suspense involved makes it a page-turner that you don't want to put down. All in all, she fits a broad range of biography, history, and biology into a fascinating true story that reads like a suspense fiction. If you are into to nature, adventure travel, history, or even just quality books, this is the one for you.

I didn't know much about my great great grandfather, Rondon for short, until I read the book. Today he is national icon in Brazil. Kind of like a Lewis & Clark type of figure.
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