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Through the Brazilian Wilderness Paperback – June 4, 2009
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An exceedingly fascinating story of adventure. IT is the best story...that the many-sided former president of the United States has produced. (The Boston Transcript) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Roosevelt's other works, including "The Rough Riders", are better known, and this one is not great literature. Instead, it is a remarkable adventure story by an interesting man. The book is essentially Roosevelt's trip diary, colored by his great enthusiasm for adventure and the natural world. Even before reaching the Amazon, Roosevelt stops at a Brazilian snake research lab that so captures his attention that he writes seventeen pages about it. At all times, he makes careful note of the wildlife he encounters, not quite with the depth of a professional scientist, but with the trained eye of a dedicated and experienced hobbyist. He squeezes in some amusing stories about piranha fish that he heard --and apparently believed.Read more ›
Science's loss was politics gain. However, T.R. never lost his interest in nature. Following his presidency, he set out on an expedition to explore and map unknown regions of Paraguay and Brazil on the 950-mile River of Doubt, a previously unexplored tributary of the Amazon River. The scientific endeavor became an ordeal to test the expedition's courage and stamina as it faced overpowering heat, dangerous rapids, wild animals, devouring ants, endless insects, fever, dysentery and more. The expedition collected thousands of species of birds and mammals, but Roosevelt would die a few years after completing the expedition. Roosevelt admired those who lived life with passion and for what he called "the Great Adventure." This story chronicles one of T.R.'s last great adventures in his typical inimitable style.
TR is mildly annoying when he rants about how awful it is to equate exploration with expedition. He's talking about the folks who journeyed down known rivers, tramped over known ground, and called themselves adventurers. This happens several times in the book. Once you know to expect it, though, it's more amusing than irritating.
TR has a poetic flair when describing Brazilian flora and fauna, and he is pretty funny when explaining how so-and-so got the map wrong. I enjoyed this book very much. It's long, so be warned.
The trip fulfilled two purposes. The naturalists collected specimens for the museum: 2,500 birds and 500 mammals. (Amazing in light of the many laws in place to preserve Brazilian wildlife today.) The other purpose was for Rondon and company to travel up the unexplored river and chart it on a map for the first time. Roosevelt wrote:
We did not know whether we had one hundred or eight hundred kilometers to go, whether, the stream would be fairly smooth or whether we would encounter waterfalls, or rapids, or even some big marsh or lake. We could not tell whether or not we would meet hostile Indians, although no one of us ever went ten yards from camp without his rifle. We had no idea how much time the trip would take. We had entered a land of unknown possibilities.
The first half of the book was a bit dull, but the action picked up as canoes were lost, a man is killed, Kermit almost drowns, and Teddy becomes ill with a life-threatening fever. I really wished for a map (maybe the non-Kindle version has one) to help me trace their steps. All in all, a very interesting read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
What a surprise that TR was such an author. I have been to some of the areas he visited nearly a century ago. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Hickory
I'm a fan of Theodore Roosevelt. HIs writing is clean, crisp, and straightforward. It's a great adventure told by a master story teller.Published 2 months ago by Heavy Ed
An interesting book, particularly his descriptions of interior Brazil (because I grew up there) but, honestly, River of Doubt is better written and more interesting.Published 4 months ago by Boise Bookworm
I have read other books about this trip but this is the first time I have read the first hand account. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Retired 2006
I've only read a couple of chapters into this book, but I'm enjoying it so far. I certainly cannot complain about the price (free).Published 9 months ago by Me