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The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey Paperback – October 10, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Ferrone's gravelly, stentorian, hushed voice sounds downright presidential in reading the story of this little-known event from ex-Commander-in-Chief Theodore Roosevelt's postpolitical life. After losing his third-party run for the 1912 presidential election, Roosevelt agreed to accompany a Brazilian explorer on a trip along the Amazon, hoping to map the river's uncharted path. Expecting an uneventful trip, Roosevelt and his party barely managed to escape with their lives. Ferrone adopts a strange tone when providing Roosevelt's voice, attempting to echo his famously brusque boom and sounding oddly strangled in the process. His reading is on steadier ground in conveying the sweep of Millard's prose, uniting the personal drama of the Roosevelt family with the naturalist investigations of the voyage. Ferrone carries the narrative along on the waves of his own raspy, gruff instrument, shuttling readers through Millard's book with a steely self-assurance reminiscent of its subject. Simultaneous release with the Doubleday hardcover (Reviews, July 11). (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Bookmarks Magazine
Every critic enjoyed Millards yarn about an ex-presidents fervent desire for adventure and self-acceptance. By focusing on the vivid details of Roosevelts 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 Roosevelts rich history could spawn a thousand adventure stories, but that Millards experience with National Geographic is evident in her beautiful scenic descriptions and grisly depictions of the Amazons 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 Roosevelts energy and warm interactions between the covers of her wonderful new book.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Millard's style is to take a major figure in history and focus on a single, often obscure slice of the figure's life. In her book on Churchill, it was his early adventures and the Boer Wars in South Africa. Here, she takes an historical look at Theodore Roosevelt's adventures in the Amazon Basin after his two terms as President and his devastating loss for a third term in the three-way race in 1912.
River of Doubt is a wonderful story of adventure and misadventure. Its backdrop is a tributary, previously unexplored by Westerners, of the Amazon. It has everything a reader would want: the mysteries and terror of the jungle, the incredible and deadly complexity of the river, the inept preparations for the adventure, the wild and unknown Indians of the region, needless deaths, murder, history, and the bigger-than-life story of the aging Teddy, his son, Kermit, and the rest of the exploration party.
I enjoyed it totally. Millard's Churchill book was good, but it suffered from often static setting, mostly in a Boer prison. This book has a built-in momentum, as the ill-prepared group make their way down the river into the unknown. It is the perfect story for Candice Millard, and she tells it perfectly.
I found it ironic that Rondon, Roosevelt et al, suffered diseases and near-starvation during their 8 weeks or so in the wilderness. Yet the area was inhabited by an indigenous people, the Cinta Larga, who had adapted to the rainforest and lived out their lives there.