The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey

The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey[KINDLE] ❆ The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey By Candice Millard – Varanus.us 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 river At once an incredible of Doubt: Kindle Ò 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 earthThe River of Doubt it is a black, uncharted tributary of the that snakes through one of The River PDF \ 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 cauldronAfter his humiliating election defeat in , Roosevelt set his sights on the most punishing physical challenge he could find, the River of Doubt: eBook ´ first descent of an unmapped, rapids choked tributary of the Together with his son Kermit and Brazil s most famous explorer, C ndido 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 foreverAlong 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 livedFrom the soaring beauty of the rain forest to the darkest night of Theodore Roosevelt s life, here is Candice Millard s dazzling debut.

The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
    The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey western hemisphere foreverAlong 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 livedFrom the soaring beauty of the rain forest to the darkest night of Theodore Roosevelt s life, here is Candice Millard s dazzling debut."/>
  • Hardcover
  • 416 pages
  • The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
  • Candice Millard
  • English
  • 05 September 2018
  • 0385507968

    10 thoughts on “The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey

    The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey western hemisphere foreverAlong 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 livedFrom the soaring beauty of the rain forest to the darkest night of Theodore Roosevelt s life, here is Candice Millard s dazzling debut."/>
  1. says:

    In Xanadu did Kubla KhanA stately pleasure dome decree Where Alph, the sacred river, ranThrough caverns measureless to manDown to a sunless sea Samuel Taylor Coleridge Roosevelt wrote articles for Scribners while he was on this trip Notice that he had to cover up his hands and face to keep the constant barrage of biting insects at bay.As Theodore Roosevelt lay on his cot in the ian jungle burning up with fever, yellow pus leaking from his leg, and his mind wandering aimlessly thr In Xanadu did Kubla KhanA stately pleasure dome decree Where Alph, the sacred river, ranThrough caverns measureless to manDown to a sunless sea Samuel Taylor Coleridge Roosevelt wrote articles for Scribners while he was on this trip Notice that he had to cover up his hands and face to keep the constant barrage of biting insects at bay.As Theodore Roosevelt lay on his cot in the ian jungle burning up with fever, yellow pus leaking from his leg, and his mind wandering aimlessly through the corridors of his memories he would recite over and over the opening stanza of Kubla Khan I can only imagine how terrifying that was to his traveling companions, especially his son Kermit, to see the Bull Moose nearly at the end of his tether So how did Teddy end up in such circumstances Well it all starts with the Republican primaries for the 1912 Presidential election Roosevelt had finished up William McKinley s term after McKinley was assassinated at the World s Fair in 1901 Roosevelt had then won the presidency as the top man at the ticket in 1904 In 1908 he graciously decided to step down and not run for another term as president He supported his good friend William Howard Taft for the presidency Taft won Teddy had a falling out with Taft probably havingto do with personality conflicts than political differences He went to the party and asked them to replace Taft with himself for the 1912 election They refused, but they assured him he would be their candidate in 1916 Teddy is not one to wait He formed the Bull Moose Party and decided he was going to run against everyone His own party, the Democrats, and anyone else who wanted to jump in the race While campaigning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin he was shot by a saloonkeeper named John Schrank John Schrank the man who shot Roosevelt.Roosevelt decided that since he wasn t coughing up blood that instead of going to hospital he would deliver his campaign speech in his blood soaked shirt Roosevelt x ray showing the bullet in his chest.If you just heard a CLANK that was Roosevelt s brass balls The 1912 election turned out to be an unusual one with four candidates splitting up the vote Woodrow Wilson Democrat 6,296,284 votes 41.8% of the vote.Theodore Roosevelt Progressive 4,122,721 votes 27.4% of the voteWilliam Howard Taft Republican 3,486,242 votes 23.2% of the votesEugene V Debs Socialist 901,551 votes 6% of the votesRoosevelt frankly couldn t believe he lost Whenever anything goes wrong he has to figure out a way to hit the reset button to keep from going into funk, and one of the best ways for him to do so is to do something dangerous like take a trip down to South America and see if thecould kill him or make him whole again He was 55 years old in 1913.CLANK Kermit Roosevelt on the His son Kermit had just become engaged to a young socialite, so he wasn t thrilled at the prospect of a long excursion into the jungle, but he could not let his father go without him Kermit was already suffering from malaria when the trip began and fought it all the way down the river Initially they were supposed to take a relatively easy trip down a known byway, but when Colonel Rondon came to Roosevelt and presented an alternative idea, surveying an unknown river, can t you see the brimming excitement in those myopic eyes and the big smile with all those tombstone teeth CLANK CLANK He hopped up and down thus the double clank.Everything went wrong They brought too much stuff They brought the wrong stuff They hired the wrong people On top of all thatCompared with the creatures of the , including the Indians whose territory they were invading, they were all from the lowliest camarada to the former president of the United States clumsy, conspicuous preyThey named the river after Roosevelt He insisted that The River of Doubt was a much better name, but showing diplomacy graciously accepted the honor With him is Captain Rondon What I m struck by in this picture is how thin Roosevelt looks.The River of Doubt turns out to be a nemesis capable of swallowing them all without leaving a single trace It is beautiful though, and certainly majesticIf Roosevelt and his men could have soared over the rain forest like the hawks that wheeled above them, the River of Doubt would have looked like a black piece of ribbon candy nestled in an endless expanse of green Here, at the start of its tortuous journey northward, the river was so tightly coiled that at times it doubled back on itself, and in every direction the jungle stretched dense, impenetrable, and untouched to the horizon Hidden beneath the canopy and beneath the roiling waters of the river are hazards that are just waiting, patiently, for someone or something to make a mistakeOf the approximately twenty piranha species, most prefer to attack something their own size or smaller, and they are happy to scavenge, especially during the rainy season, when there isto choose from However, their muscular jaws and sawlike teeth, which look as if they have been filed to tiny spear points, can make quick work of a living creature of any size and strength, from a waterbird to a monkey, to even an ox During telegraph line expeditions, Rondon and his soldiers regularly offered up their weakest ox to a school of piranha so that the rest of their herd could safely cross the riverAnybody for a quick swim Rondon lost a good friend who was attacked by piranhas When they found him all that was left on his skeleton was the feet in his boots There are Indian tribesmen of course, not friendly These blundering explorers stirring up the jungle probably were perceivedas an irritation than a real threat, but still they were other which could also mean that they were on the menuThe most important rule of cannibalism within the tribe was that one Cinta Larga could not eat another The tribe drew a clear distinction between its own members and the rest of mankind, which they considered to be other and, thus, edibleTry not to look sooo hungry when you are looking at me.The survey expedition soon becomes low on food The river demands carbs as they have to negotiate brutal rocky rapids that require their canoes and their supplies be hand lowered down to a calmer section of the river When they neededfood for energy is when they had the least to eat Teddy cuts his leg trying to help with the canoes and it happens to be the leg that was crushed in a traffic accidentthan a decade before I would assume that blood flow was not the best through that leg which makes it harder for the body to fight infection On top of the infection that quickly starts oozing from his leg is the assassin s bullet still in his chest It is not completely healed and continues to pull down his immune system He is perfectly positioned to die He offered to pull the trigger, Hemingway style.CLANK He wouldn t be carried He was going to walk out of that jungle.CLANKRoosevelt realized that if he wanted to save Kermit s life he would have to allow his son to save him It came to me, and I saw that if I did end it, that would only make itsure that Kermit would not get out For I know he would not abandon me, but would insist on bringing my body out, too That, of course, would have been impossible I knew his determination So there was only one thing for me to do, and that was to come out myselfCould you toss your hair Candice Beautiful Now look over here Lovely.Candace Millard is not only lovely, but also a wonderful writer She placed me there in the jungle with Teddy and his camaradas I didn t trail my hands in the water and in generally just kept all my digits as close to my body as possible I could feel the desperation as one thing after another continued to go wrong, stacking the deck against them It was an adventure too arduous for a 55 year old man, but Teddy needed a victory A victory that would sooth the pain of his defeat in 1912 He needed something larger than life that would put the sparkle back in his eye when he came home and told everyone just how close to death he came Thenever did let go of him in fact, when he died in 1919 it was from complications associated with his trip down The River of Doubt I also highly recommend Millard s book on President Garfield Destiny of the RepublicIf you wish to seeof my most recent book and movie reviews, visit also have a Facebook blogger page at


  2. says:

    The ordinary traveler, who never goes off the beaten route and who on this beaten route is carried by others, without himself doing anything or risking anything, does not need to show muchinitiative and intelligence than an express package He does nothing others do all the work, show all the foresight, take all the risk and are entitled to all the credit Theodore RooseveltThis is the trip that Teddy Roosevelt deserved Candice Millard s The River of Doubt is about TR getting exactly The ordinary traveler, who never goes off the beaten route and who on this beaten route is carried by others, without himself doing anything or risking anything, does not need to show muchinitiative and intelligence than an express package He does nothing others do all the work, show all the foresight, take all the risk and are entitled to all the credit Theodore RooseveltThis is the trip that Teddy Roosevelt deserved Candice Millard s The River of Doubt is about TR getting exactly what he wished for in the most Confucian sense Theodore Roosevelt is a person that I totally admire and respect and also kind of hate He makes me feel the most intense kind of inadequacy that a modern person can experience Teddy chased outlaws and roped cattle and killed a Spaniard and won a Nobel Peace Prize and once delivered a speech with a fresh bullet in his body He was an exceptional man The irritating thing, though, is that he truly believed that everyone who was less exceptional than him was lacking in some vital moral fiber His smug assurance that all a person had to do was say bully and press on to victory gets a little grating.It also in my opinion makes him less interesting than a lot of other historical figures Teddy lacks nuance, subtlety, and vulnerability He swaggers across the pages of history Except in The River of Doubt In the The River of Doubt he poops all over himself More than anything else, Millard s account of Teddy s misbegotten vacation brings a titanic figure down to human dimensions This is not the puffed chest Roosevelt who, at the Sorbonne, elegantly sneered at the critic who does not enter the arena, who is a cold and timid soul who knows not victory nor defeat Instead, this is a Roosevelt starving and wracked with fever and dysentery, lying in a sweltering jungle, contemplating suicide The River of Doubt recounts Roosevelt s 1913 14 expedition down an unexplored South American river the titular River of Doubt The thousand mile river, preceded by a months long overland journey, was fraught with dangers Indians, snakes, rapids, piranhas, insects, disease and starvation All this was compounded by poor planning, dubious food selection, faulty assumptions that, for one, the expedition would be able to supplement its rations by hunting , and unwieldy dugout canoes The environment these men entered was almost impossibly lethal Even a scrape on the leg could lead to a life threatening infection The heat, the rains, the mud the exhausting portages the lingering malaria the gross bugs the incessant mosquitoes Every step in the journey was like every scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.Teddy s expedition was borne out of his disappointing electoral defeat in 1912, when he d run as a third party candidate against William Howard Taft his former mentee and Woodrow Wilson As Millard points out, Roosevelt s prescription for crushing personal setbacks was vigorous physical activity As I intimated above, he was not the kind of man who could simply talk about his feelings Three months after handing the keys of the White House over to Wilson, Roosevelt was invited to give a series of lectures in Argentina He used this trip as an opportunity to indulge his passion for naturalism With the help of the American Museum of Natural History, Teddy put together a modest trip This was to be a chance to put some bugs in a jar, blast away at unsuspecting wildlife with a shotgun, and sit beneath the stars However, once Roosevelt arrived, his plans changed Instead of poking around the , Teddy and his expedition would attempt to be the first white people to descend the unmapped River of Doubt.Traveling with Roosevelt was his son, Kermit, a lovesick young man of exceptional energy and endurance Father Zahm, a racist old priest who wanted the porters to carry him along the trail George Cherrie, an explorer and naturalist and Colonel C ndido Mariano da Silva Rondon, Brazil s most famous explorer, a man so devoted to peace between Brazilians and Indians that he refused to let his men defend themselves if attacked Of these characters, we learn the most about Kermit This is due to his prolific writing, especially his lovesick letters to his fianc , Belle Unlike his father, Kermit wasn t stingy about expressing his feelings in the most maudlin manner possible Kermit had had a challenging childhood Teddy Roosevelt was something of a Tiger Mother, except instead of forcing his son to play the piano, he made Kermit endure various wilderness challenges without complaint Millard does a fine job shading Kermit, and showing his many sides the Kermit who wrote silly love notes the Kermit who carefully watched over his father and the darker Kermit who caused a man s drowning without batting an eye We learn a bit less of Roosevelt himself, whose own personal writings wereabout the landscape than his interior monologue Roosevelt s arc is mostly seen secondhand, by the other men in the expedition In the spirit of transparency, I will acknowledge feeling a bit of satisfaction at seeing the blustering Roosevelt brought to his knees and forced to accept that some of life s challenges requirethan a can do attitude Colonel Rondon, the co leader of the expedition, shares the stage with Roosevelt for most of the trip He is a colorful character in his own right and my favorite part of The River of Doubt iron willed, supremely disciplined, thoughtful and driven Teddy Roosevelt is a pretty interesting guy, and it means something to say that Rondon does not wilt in Roosevelt s shadow The real character, though, and let me just slip into my clich pants is South America s fatal environment In Millard s telling, the whole of the jungle is a living creature, each thing each plant, tree, insect, and blade of grass engaged in an epic battle for survival Millard spends a lot of time describing the symbiotic relationships that web the South American jungle She also devotes ample time to all the terrifying beasts that awaited the expedition Wild boar Jaguar Coral snake And a tiny transparent catfish called the candiru When it comes to parasitizing people, a very rare occurrence, the candiru s modus operandi is to enter through an orifice from a vagina to an anus The potential danger for the men on the River of Doubt came not just when they swam in the river but even when they urinated in its shallow waters Instances of candirus parasitizing people are rare, but in the one case in which a doctor fully documented his removal of a candiru from a young man, the victim s explanation of how the fish had entered his urethra was nearly as shocking as the fact that it was there at all In this case the victim reported that, just before the attack, he had been standing in a river urinating, but the water had reached only his upper thighs, and his penis had not even touched the river, much less been submerged in it The candiru, he claimed, had abruptly leapt out of the water, shimmied up his urine stream, and disappeared into his urethra.To which I might add OWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW Millard is a brisk, engaging writer who has carved herself a nice niche with moderately sized narrative histories about moderately unknown events She has a journalist s ability to explain and describe with utmost clarity, and to highlight interesting factoids Her greatest achievement is melding the main story of the expedition with the many secondary and tertiary topics such as ferocious fish, lurking cannibals, Brazilian history, and of course, candiru slipping into bodily orifices For the most part, she manages to insert these illuminating, fascinating, sometimes gross discussions into the main narrative, without slowing things down, or making you feel like you re reading filler Obviously you know, or should know, that Teddy Roosevelt doesn t die alongside the River of Doubt Yet Millard maintains a thriller s tension, so that you are flipping pages as fast as you can read The surprise isn t who lives or dies, but how these men were able to survive at all Millard mostly avoids the temptation to paint Roosevelt s expedition as some exalted event Yes, he mapped an unmapped river, and did so at great personal risk however, in the scope of Roosevelt s life not to mention the sweep of history this is a footnote Of course, it say a lot about Teddy that this journey is only one of the top ten things he did Just a few years later, following the death of his son Quentin in World War I, and with his health broken from the River of Doubt, Roosevelt died in bed I don t know if Roosevelt drew any lessons from his time on the river In spirit, he was the same man after that he was before When World War I broke out, he even pestered Woodrow Wilson to give him a combat command Still, the journey down the River of Doubt a metaphor so obvious is doesn t need explanation must have given him some inkling that life was a precarious balance, and he could not strut along it forever But who can really say Even if Teddy didn t learn anything, I sure did I learned about survival, endurance, and humanity And I learned one big fat lesson about not canoeing down an unmapped South American river infested with piranhas and transparent catfish that can end up in your urethra


  3. says:

    What a wonderful, adventurous journey Candice Millard takes us on with Teddy Roosevelt s amazing and disastrous expedition down an uncharted ian river called the River of Doubt Troubled by his defeat in 1912 s election, the 55 year old Teddy needed a victory, and what better way but a new expedition this time taking him through the rain forest Joined by his son, Kermit, Teddy sets out to explore a charted Brazilian river, but gets talked into trying the River of Doubt by his co lead in t What a wonderful, adventurous journey Candice Millard takes us on with Teddy Roosevelt s amazing and disastrous expedition down an uncharted ian river called the River of Doubt Troubled by his defeat in 1912 s election, the 55 year old Teddy needed a victory, and what better way but a new expedition this time taking him through the rain forest Joined by his son, Kermit, Teddy sets out to explore a charted Brazilian river, but gets talked into trying the River of Doubt by his co lead in the expedition Disorganized and poorly planned from the start, the team runs into piranha,Indians, treacherous white water rapids, dense jungle, insects, infection and disease, and starvation Amazing that any of them came out alive.Highly recommend this book and Candice Millard s Destiny of the Republic A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President.4.5 out of 5 stars


  4. says:

    Candice Millard is one of those writers I like so much that I ll read anything she puts out, though I own but have yet to read her tale of Churchill s adventures during the Boer War I loved her book about President Garfield and the bungled job American physicians did that probably hastened Garfield s death after he was shot by Charles Guiteau I love Millard because she has a knack for giving us little nuggets of knowledge about people and events that one would be unlikely to read in a conventi Candice Millard is one of those writers I like so much that I ll read anything she puts out, though I own but have yet to read her tale of Churchill s adventures during the Boer War I loved her book about President Garfield and the bungled job American physicians did that probably hastened Garfield s death after he was shot by Charles Guiteau I love Millard because she has a knack for giving us little nuggets of knowledge about people and events that one would be unlikely to read in a conventional history book Garfield, for example, was able even at age 50 to perform a standing flip, and was the first President to address a group of citizens in a foreign language speaking German to a German American audience in what apparently was an extemporaneous effort.She continues her series of interesting books involving famous people with this tale of Theodore Roosevelt s ill starred expedition down anRiver tributary in The River of Doubt As reviewer Max has noted, Roosevelt would have made for an interesting psychological study He is not alone in this belief H.L Mencken says of him There is also room for a study by some competent psychologist if one exists upon the character of Roosevelt He was, by long odds, the most interesting man who ever infested the White House, not excepting Jefferson and Jackson Life fascinated him, and he knew how to make his own doings fascinating to others He was full of odd impulses, fantastic ideas, brilliant phrases He was highly intelligent, and, for a politician, very widely read.Unfortunately, Roosevelt s extraordinary mentality was not supported by character of equivalent voltage He was, on occasion, a very slippery fellow, and he knew how to sacrifice principle to expediency His courage, which he loved to display melodramatically, was largely bluster he could retreat most dexterously when ballot boxes began to explode On many of the capital questions which engaged the country in his time he seems to have had no settled convictions he was, for example, both for a high tariff and against it He belabored the trusts publicly, but granted them favors behind the door He was a Progressive for votes only, and had little respect for most of his followers I suspect that even the most perspicacious of psychologists could have done nothing with Roosevelt T.R., as he was called, was not the sort of person who spent his time lying down, especially on a psychologist s couch He was by all accounts a loving father, yet after his wife and mother died on the same day he never spoke of his wife ever again This was to cause problems for his baby daughter Alice, born two days before Roosevelt s wife succumbed Roosevelt never mentioned his wife s name again, which was Alice, and did not even include her in his autobiography can someone say the word denial here He also created a new sobriquet for his infant daughter Alice and never addressed her by that name A man who won t even utter his late wife s name is unlikely to open up to a therapist.Roosevelt, instead, was a man of action One of my favorite tales about him is how he corralled a couple of wanted outlaws somewhere out West and marched them at gunpoint for forty miles through heavy snow, all the while reading Anna Karenina as he led the pair to justice.This journey down an uncharted tributary of the , then, is much in keeping with Roosevelt s personality and past history, as when he joined the school boxing team at Harvard and became a scrappy brawler, or when he ventured West to frontier America to work as a ranch hand and again during the Spanish American War when he led his troops, the Rough Riders, up San Juan Hill.This South American adventure appears to have been undertaken for the money, as T.R was offered speaking engagements in Buenos Aires that paid 13,000 a sum well over 100,000 in today s dollars The speaking engagement trip, and visitation to see Roosevelt s son, Kermit, who was working in Brazil, somehow transmogrified into yet another Rooseveltian escapade of derring do and test of human endurance Roosevelt was fortunate that the expedition was c0 led by the great Brazilian explorer Candido Rondon, a formidable man in his own right who had traveled extensively in the Brazilian rain forests and backwaters.Theodore Roosevelt was a very smart man He wrote over thirty books, could recite the entire Song of Roland in Medieval French and was capable of reading several books per day This is to say that he did not enter into this expedition blindly He was no doubt aware of the perils that lay ahead.Here I ll do some amateur psychoanalyzing forgive me It is a dangerous thing to start believing one s own legend It is dangerous because it causes a person to lose site of the dangers and perils of life and gives them a false sense of invincibility Believing in one s legend has taken the lives of many, ranging from boxers to skiers to adventurers of every stripe.Over the years, Roosevelt had built up and promulgated his legend as an invincible man, a character, almost, out of a Walter Scott novel a man who delivered a long speech after being shot with a.38 caliber bullet by a would be assassin The additional problem with concocting an aura of invincibility is that it robs the person of living an authentic life This is not to say that there is always something pathological about great adventurers and explorers, though perhaps there may be Perhaps it is the very pathology that is the prime mover in their exploits I ll leave that up to a real psychologist to ponder I think, though, that the person risks becoming a caricature of the hero they have set themselves up to be The feeling of invincibility, common to most youth, can also lead to great hubris, especially in a man of Teddy Roosevelt s accomplishments.What is clear, as Clint Eastwood said, is that A man s got to know his limitations Hubris and a sense of invincibility stifle insight, and though Roosevelt was a brilliant man and crafty politician who knew how to utilize other brilliant men like his Secretary of State Elihu Root, he was not a mangiven to deep personal insight He was also a man given to intransigence and a feeling, similar to Woodrow Wilson, that he was always right This had caused him in 1912 to run for President as a 3rd party candidate against his old protege William Howard Taft due to his feeling that Taft had not carried out the agenda Roosevelt had crafted for him Roosevelt s disastrous river journey, where he did end up feverish and very near death, serves as an example of what can happen to a person who refuses to alter his life patterns and lacking the insight to realize that the strenuous life he advocated perhaps needs to be adjusted to less life threatening adventures as one ages.A man of insight, fifty four years old and swollen to 220 pounds 100 kilos would have thought twice and maybe a third time about undertaking an unnecessary and potentially deadly trip, endangering his own life, his son s life and the lives of many others on the expedition Roosevelt s hubris along with his inability to find a path that did not involve extreme risks served as his comeuppance and likely shortened his life since he died in ill health at the age of sixty from a stroke Thankfully, Candice Millard is around to chronicle his folly in her usual engaging style I highly recommend The River of Doubt as a work of history and an account of some fascinating individuals undertaking a seemingly senseless journey I cannot help but be reminded of the movie Burden of Dreams, which is a documentary of the making of Werner Herzog s film Fitzcarraldo Fitzcarraldo is about an opera company s insane attempt to set up an opera in thejungle In one scene in Burden of Dreams, Herzog, dissatisfied with the location for filming, has ventured either 1000 miles or kilometers downriver scouting a better location Herzog is interviewed by the documentary director Les Blank and asked why in the hell he has come so far and why he is so determined to make this movie His reply, If I don t do this, I ll become a man who has lost his dreams Though I think Herzog may be as warped as Theodore Roosevelt, somehow I can identify with his ferocious striving to achieve his vision far better than I can reconcile Roosevelt s seemingly aimless journey


  5. says:

    What an astounding man Theodore Roosevelt was After reading a review by my amazing GR friend, LeAnne, I decided this was a book I needed to read sooner instead of later I knew quite a bit about Mr Roosevelt, including a bit about this final adventure in theAll my information came from a PBS special I saw a few years back on Theodore and Eleanor and Franklin It was definitely enough to peek my interest in this American icon He was far from anything we would expect to find in the Whi What an astounding man Theodore Roosevelt was After reading a review by my amazing GR friend, LeAnne, I decided this was a book I needed to read sooner instead of later I knew quite a bit about Mr Roosevelt, including a bit about this final adventure in theAll my information came from a PBS special I saw a few years back on Theodore and Eleanor and Franklin It was definitely enough to peek my interest in this American icon He was far from anything we would expect to find in the White House these days He was an adventurer who took his outdoor skills seriously, set standards very difficult to live up to, and held himself to a standard above anything he would have expected of anyone else.The trip down theis described in enough detail to make you squirm in your seat and wonder how anyone came out the other side, let alone a man of Roosevelt s age and physical condition He managed to make an exploration that garnered the admiration of explorers of the caliber of Robert Peary, the first man to reach the North Pole, and to exit thejungle with the respect and goodwill of all the men who made the trip with him.In tribute to him, these are the words of Cherrie, a famed naturalist who was with Roosevelt on his trip down the River of DoubtI have always thought it strange, Cherrie said quietly, since I had the opportunity to know him and know him intimately because I feel that I did know him very intimately how any man could be brought in close contact with Colonel Roosevelt without loving the manWhat a statement that makes about the character of Roosevelt, that he could win the heart of such a man when the both of them must have been at their worst humor and suffering from hunger, illness and unimaginable discomforts.I couldn t help thinking how much we need a man of his conviction and confidence today I don t think you would have worried about insincerity, or indecision, or dishonesty, or a president engulfed in fear, when Roosevelt was at the wheel I m guessing that even in a state of peril, Roosevelt would have made you feel safe He was larger than life, because he was not afraid of it final thought I tried to imagine a modern day president taking an assassin s bullet and standing up with the bullet still in him and making a speech, or any of our current former presidents heading off on such a dangerous adventure without having their security details in tow to clear the paths through the jungle for them Nope can t do it


  6. says:

    This is one of those books that I both loved and hated I loved it because it s an exciting outdoor adventure, it s interesting history, and it s an impressive survival tale.But at times I also hated it because the disaster story is so frustrating I got really irritated with Teddy Roosevelt I mean, the guy was a stubborn, egotistical ass and I repeatedly wished I could travel back in time just to yell at him to GIVE IT UP AND GO HOME Not that he would have listened.A quick summary After T This is one of those books that I both loved and hated I loved it because it s an exciting outdoor adventure, it s interesting history, and it s an impressive survival tale.But at times I also hated it because the disaster story is so frustrating I got really irritated with Teddy Roosevelt I mean, the guy was a stubborn, egotistical ass and I repeatedly wished I could travel back in time just to yell at him to GIVE IT UP AND GO HOME Not that he would have listened.A quick summary After Teddy Roosevelt left the American presidency in 1909, he went on an African safari In 1912, he tried to run for president again, but he lost the nomination Frustrated at home, he was looking for a new adventure and seized on an idea to cruise down theRiver And this is where the problems started First, Roosevelt did none of the planning for the trip He left that to an incompetent priest, Father Zahm, who then farmed out the task to a store clerk named Anthony Fiala, who had never been to theand who was also famous for a disastrous North Pole expedition.So, right from the start, the expedition was not prepared to head to theWhen they landed in South America, they had way too much baggage, much of it ill suited for the rainforest And then, Teddy Roosevelt got the terrible idea that instead of taking a pleasant boat trip down theRiver, which was a known route, it would be muchexciting to explore an unknown area, such as the River of Doubt.The arrogance The ignorance The na vet I could exhaust a thesaurus describing how stupid this plan was There were too many men, not enough proper supplies and not enough proper boats The entire expedition was doomed to be a failure the moment Roosevelt changed his mind.The book follows the group s overland march through the jungle to the River of Doubt, and then their slow and dangerous river descent It s one of those stories where everything that could go wrong, did go wrong There were some truly terrifying descriptions of the different ways the jungle can kill a person, such as malaria, poisonous snakes and insects, piranhas, and a hundred other predators And don t forget the indigenous tribes of the region, who knew how to survive in the jungle and could have easily attacked and killed Roosevelt s group One of the Brazilians guiding the expedition, Rondon, left peace offerings for the tribes whenever possible, which the author thinks is why the expedition was allowed to pass through the region relatively unharmed So, did Roosevelt make it out of the jungle alive Yes, but barely He was injured and diseased, and he was so weakened by the journey that he died just a few years later The book has a good epilogue, explaining that after everything Roosevelt had been through in the jungle, few believed his story when he got home I would recommend this book to anyone who likes adventure, survival stories or the history of theThere are also some great stories about what a manly man Roosevelt was, and even though he comes across as an ass, I can understand why he was so admired and revered But I wouldn t follow him into the jungle I don t have a death wish.Funniest Line If you are shot by a man because he is afraid of you it is almost as unpleasant as if he shot you because he disliked you Theodore RooseveltFavorite Quote Within such an intricate world of resourcefulness, skill, and ruthless self interest, refined over hundreds of millions of years, Roosevelt and his men were, for all their own experience and knowledge, vulnerable outsiders Most of the men were veteran outdoorsmen, and many of them considered themselves masters of nature They were stealthy hunters, crack shots, and experienced survivalists, and, given the right tools, they believed that they would never find themselves in a situation in the wild that they could not control But as they struggled to make their way along the River of Doubt, any basis for such confidence was quickly slipping away Compared with the creatures of the , including the Indians whose territory they were invading, they were all from the lowliest comrade to the former president of the United States clumsy, conspicuous prey


  7. says:

    I had read Roosevelt s Beast by Louis Bayard, which is a fictionalization of Theodore Roosevelt s expedition to the River of Doubt in theI didn t love that book, but it intrigued me enough to want to read the true account minus the mythical creature I was not disappointed by River of Doubt It was an excellent adventure story and history lesson After losing his bid for a third presidential term, Roosevelt was looking for distraction As originally planned, his trip to South Amer I had read Roosevelt s Beast by Louis Bayard, which is a fictionalization of Theodore Roosevelt s expedition to the River of Doubt in theI didn t love that book, but it intrigued me enough to want to read the true account minus the mythical creature I was not disappointed by River of Doubt It was an excellent adventure story and history lesson After losing his bid for a third presidential term, Roosevelt was looking for distraction As originally planned, his trip to South America was going to be pretty tame and was sponsored by the Museum of Natural History However, the trip morphed into a dangerous expedition to map the River of Doubt and explore the surrounding territory Both the preparation for, and the organization of, this expedition were flawed, to say the least They had to split off some of the original intended explorers, losing both their expertise and a share of the provisions An elderly priest who had planned the original trip was shunted off when he decided that he would explore from the comfort of a sedan chair The remaining group of just over 20 men included Roosevelt, one of his sons Kermit, Brazilian soldiers, indians and others Some were experienced explorers, but not always successful ones They had to lighten their load in order to get to the river, so much of their food had to go A lot of it was impractical anyway Really, you need a crate of mustard or applesauce Unfortunately, their boats had to go too, leaving them to forage for makeshift, leaky canoes once they reached the river I was really surprised to learn that they brought their pet dogs and books with them The actual river part of the trip took about 2 months, but I m sure it felt like longer to them Both of the Roosevelts were adventurers and daredevils, but they had not had to cope with the number of adversities that plagued them in the , including gruesome parasites, venomous snakes, insects, accidents, diseases, hostile indians, impassable rapids and murder This was a really fascinating story and very well written


  8. says:

    Teddy Roosevelt is a MAN I was a big TR fan before and an even bigger one now which is a nice surprise considering that I wasn t expecting much from this book.There is one scene that I think sums up how impressive TR was It comes when they are slightlythan half way through their journey, although the exploration party has no way of knowing that TR has an infected leg, a fever, and has already stated that he should be left behind for certain death because he is a burden on the others He Teddy Roosevelt is a MAN I was a big TR fan before and an even bigger one now which is a nice surprise considering that I wasn t expecting much from this book.There is one scene that I think sums up how impressive TR was It comes when they are slightlythan half way through their journey, although the exploration party has no way of knowing that TR has an infected leg, a fever, and has already stated that he should be left behind for certain death because he is a burden on the others He s been giving most of his rations, which were already below sustenance levels to the native porters because they needed the nutrientsthan he did And with all this going on, not to mention the bugs, he s borrowed a book of French poetry from his son Kermit because he already read everything he bought and he is complaining about the book but nothing else because he doesn t like French This is a great book for illustrating really how much of the world was still unexplored even up to a 100 years ago


  9. says:

    River of Doubt is a well spun tale for those who enjoy adventure, history and nature Packed with suspense and unnerving descriptions of therainforest and its wildlife, Millard turns Roosevelt s journey into a compelling story as you are pulled from one chapter immediately into the next The style isentertaining than Millard s very interesting but drier Destiny of the Republic about James Garfield.I remember a saying from my Navy days referring to the sailors of old, When ships we River of Doubt is a well spun tale for those who enjoy adventure, history and nature Packed with suspense and unnerving descriptions of therainforest and its wildlife, Millard turns Roosevelt s journey into a compelling story as you are pulled from one chapter immediately into the next The style isentertaining than Millard s very interesting but drier Destiny of the Republic about James Garfield.I remember a saying from my Navy days referring to the sailors of old, When ships were wood and men were steel This aptly describes Roosevelt and his party as they descended an uncharted jungle river in their dugout canoes I found myself torn between admiring their bravery, endurance and perseverance on the one hand and shaking my head at their bullheadedness, fatalism and indifference to how their risks, disappearance or death would impact their loved ones back home.I began to wonder, was Teddy Roosevelt s bravado overcompensation for an underlying emptiness He always had to prove himself Millard cites the development of his toughness to overcome his frailty as a child Teddy went on to shape his children to be like himself, to take on and face danger He encouraged them to enlist in WWI where one was killed He took his son Kermit on hisadventure where both could have easily died Did his emptiness run in the family Kermit, the strong silent type who though admired while young, went on to succumb to alcoholism He ended up committing suicide Teddy Roosevelt s brother Elliott also was highly respected in his youth only to die young from alcoholism Having recently read Goodwin s No Ordinary Time, I realized Elliott s daughter Eleanor was another Roosevelt self driven to over achieve Were these closely related Roosevelt s separated by a thin dividing line between greatness and self destruction One of the best things about reading history is looking for such patterns and the psychologies and interplay of personalities that make great and impactful people This is the third really good book I have read this year where adventure is cast in the context of nature and each takes a different tack Of these, Charles Frazier s Cold Mountain is most remarkable for being able to bring out his reverence of the North Carolina Mountains directly through his story and characters Rather than treat nature as a separate topic or force Frazier skillfully portrays the interdependence and unity of nature and man Peter Mathiessen s Shadow Country reflects an environmentalist s concerns for the decline of the Everglades, inserting frequent ecological facts using the adventure story as a point of departure, resulting in a book with two separate stories Millard uses her sensationalist depictions of nature to add a sense of foreboding, danger and suspense and thus as an embellishment to the adventure story In addition to disparate styles each book shows a different attitude towards nature by man Frazier s is one of man s need to be close to nature, Matheissen s is one of man s utilitarian view of nature and indifference to the consequences, and Millard s is one of man s attempt to conquer nature Comparing and contrasting the styles and themes of the books we like is one of the joys of reading


  10. says:

    In the early morning light, the scene that Roosevelt beheld was a breathtaking tableau of timeless nature tranquil and apparently unchanging That impression, however, could hardly have beendangerous,deceiving For, even as the men of the expedition gazed at the natural beauty surrounding them, creatures of the rain forest were watching them, identifying them as intruders, assaying their potential value, surveying their weakness, preparing to take whatever they had to give I put o In the early morning light, the scene that Roosevelt beheld was a breathtaking tableau of timeless nature tranquil and apparently unchanging That impression, however, could hardly have beendangerous,deceiving For, even as the men of the expedition gazed at the natural beauty surrounding them, creatures of the rain forest were watching them, identifying them as intruders, assaying their potential value, surveying their weakness, preparing to take whatever they had to give I put off reading this book while reading many other adventure books on thethat I could find, only because I thought that this book would be a tedious boring read, much like many travel diaries Well, it was anything but The author had brought it alive, as a result this is the best one that I have ever read on this subject I would give it ten stars if I could.My interest in rain forests came about when my friend Julie and I took a walk through one to reach the ruins of Bonampak just in Mexico, just 30 miles from the Guatemalan border I had never seen anythingbeautifu I would have loved to have lived there, but then again, after leaving the jungle, I could say that I had I had never seen anythingtreacherous After walking for 11k to Bonampak, spending the night in a hammock, and walking out the following day, my friend Juil.ie had contacted malaria, and I had two bott fly larvae in my head, that is, under my skin, eating their way to my skull, even laying eggs We were both ill So, what would happen to Roosevelt and his men in the several months they spent in the jungle To really be able to survive the jungle for any length of time, I think that a person would have to have been born in one of the native tribes that had survived there for many generations Yet, I am sure that others have done just that, perhaps by living with the natives I don t know The natives must have been immune to the dangerous insects or just had cures for malaria, et c The Indians wore no clothing, and soon, Roosevelt understood why since the jungle s foliage ripped at his and the other men s clothing, and the ants and termites chewed up every article of clothing that they could find packed in bags Then they began on the clothing that the men wore The native Indians were unseen, but their presence was felt, ad this was very unnerving as were many other things that they had to deal with on their trip W hen waring, the Indians put feathers on their heads and wrapped a large piece of bark around their abdomen to protect them from an enemy s arrows It was said that you would not see the Indian until he had shot an arrow at you, and even then you only saw a flash of colorful feathers on the Indian s head By then it was too late for this tribe poisonous arrows.While the men thought that the jungle was beautiful, they soon began to only see a wall of green, no different than the sea or the sky of blue Other colors disappeared One year I went to visit my brother in Orgon where he was living in the woods I noted how beautiful it was, and he replied, We don t see it any All we see is rain It was like this for Roosevelt s men, but it was even , for the men were tired, they had malaria, the insects were way too much for them, and they were starving as well The jungle was alive, every inch of it There were poisonous and nonpoisonous insects, snakes, alligators, piranhas, poisonous frogs, and anything else that you could dream up, not to mention wild boars and jaguars Mosquitoes, black flies, and other crawling and flying insects proved to be the most dangerous part of their trip, at least in some ways The men all developed sores from the black fly bites, which became infected and festered There were no antibiotics in 1914 when this trip was taken, and, as I had said, they came down with malaria The quinine for malaria did not help If they got a cut, the cut would become infected due to the humidity At least they did not run into any wild boars or jaguars Running out of food, losing men and canoes were also serious problems Yhe most interesting chapter in this book was chapter 12 because it gave descriptions of the jungle, its plant and animal life There were also sounds that no one could identified that unnerved the men The howler monkey in the jungle of Bonampak unnerved Julie and I, but only because we didn t know what animal was making the sounds Imagine hearing strange sounds that even the Indians couldn t identify, sounds that caused even the animal life to become silent, which in turn caused the men to wonder what was coming next This quote from the book says it all These strange sounds, which disappeared as quickly as they came and were a mystery to those who knew the rain forest best, had made a strong impression on the British naturalist Henry Walter Bates fifty years earlier Often, even in the still hours of midday, a sudden crash will be heard resounding afar through the wilderness, as some great bough or entire tree falls to the ground There are besides, many sounds that it is impossible to account for I found the natives, generally, as much at a loss in this respect as myself Sometimes a sound is heard like the clang of an iron bar against a hard, hollow tree

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