Saturday, December 29, 2018

"River of Doubt" by Candace Millard

Book cover of "River of Doubt" by Candace Millard.

I am in the process of reading a book called "River of Doubt" by Candace Millard which tells the story of Theodore Roosevelt's exploration of the Amazon River area of Brazil in 1914. Theodore Roosevelt had recently lost his bid for a third presidential term in 1912 to Woodrow Wilson (splitting the normal Republican vote between himself and incumbent president William Howard Taft) and he set his sights on the physical challenge of making the first descent of an unmapped river tributory of the Amazon River in Brazil.

The book jacket description:

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.

After his humiliating election defeat in 1912, Theodore 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 faced an unbelievable series of hardships: they lost their canoes and supplies to punishing whitewater rapids, and endured starvation, Indian attack, disease, drowning, and a murder within their own ranks. In the end, three men would die, and Roosevelt would be brought to the brink of suicide, but the expedition accomplished a seemingly impossible feat, and changed the map of the Western Hemisphere forever."

Ms. Millard writes a compelling story that flows easily across the pages for the reader and is one that is hard to put down. This is the style of Ms. Millard as I had previous read her book about a young Winston Churchill and his escape from a Boer prisoner of war camp, titled "Hero of the Empire". This latter book took me only two days to read cover to cover because is was so riveting and hard to put down.

I bought the River of Doubt book a few years ago on the recommendation of my late mother and some of my friends, though I had not picked it up for a read. However, with my recent trip to Maui, Hawaii, I needed something to read whilst basking poolside and so I re-acquainted myself with this story. I began reading it on the return flight from Maui and I am about half way through the story in one full day's reading. I plan on finishing the book over the weekend and I can tell you that it is just as hard to put down as Millard's Churchill book.

My copy is a paper back book that costs $17.00 US and was published by Anchor Books.

I heartily recommend both of the Millard books. You really cannot go wrong and you will enjoy the story very much.




  1. I never suspected that Roosevelt was so adventurous.
    Thanks for the suggestion :D

  2. Sounds a bit like Percy Fawcett's Quest for Z! Cheers, Rohan.