The River of Doubt by Candice Millard

The River of Doubt

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 rivers on earth.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. Indians armed with poison-tipped arrows haunt its shadows; piranhas glide through its waters; bou...

Details The River of Doubt

TitleThe River of Doubt
Release DateOct 10th, 2006
PublisherAnchor Books
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Biography, Adventure, Travel

Reviews The River of Doubt

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    ”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 Amazonian jungle burning up with fever, yellow pus leaking from...
  • Matt
    In the last few years, I have been making my way through two epic biographies written by all-time great authors. I am three books through Robert Caro’s as-yet-unfinished quadrilogy on Lyndon Johnson, and just finished the second book of Edmund Morris’s trilogy on Theodore Roosevelt. Because Morris and Caro are both giants in their field, I have found myself comparing the two sets of books. Every time I do, it seems, I have placed Caro’s The...
  • Paula Kalin
    What a wonderful, adventurous journey Candice Millard takes us on with Teddy Roosevelt's amazing and disastrous expedition down an uncharted Amazonian 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 ...
  • Sara
    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 the Amazon. All 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 fa...
  • Diane
    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. No...
  • Kevin
    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 slightly more than 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 cert...
  • Faith
    I had read "Roosevelt's Beast" by Louis Bayard, which is a fictionalization of Theodore Roosevelt's expedition to the River of Doubt in the Amazon. I 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 distract...
  • Clif Hostetler
    This book tells of a chapter of Theodore Roosevelt's life that was not widely known these days, at least before this book was published. After the failure of his Bull Moose party to carry him to a third term as president, T.R. went looking for adventure (probably in an effort to ward off depression). One thing led to another until he very nearly got himself, his son and others killed in the heart of the Amazon River basin. The dangers of the Amaz...
  • Jim
    TR has always been one of the more interesting historical figures for me and I have read several books about him. I knew about his failed bid for a third term as President ... running as a candidate on the Progressive Party (a.k.a Bull Moose Party) ticket. I did not know what happened after he lost the election. At least not the details. Roosevelt received an invitation to speak in Buenos Aires, Argentina and since his son Kermit lived in South A...
  • John
    I thought Candice Millard's other book Destiny of the Republic was one of the most fascinating books I've ever read, so I thought I should go back and read this, her first book. I must say River of Doubt may be even better, if not for her writing but for the absolutely amazing story she tells. Teddy Rosevelt's exepedition in the heart of the Amazon jungle may be a footnote in history, but Millard brings it to life as one of the most compelling ad...
  • Laura
    I'm either maturing as a reader or authors are getting better at making non-fiction more appealing to fiction junkies, like me. I think it's the latter. So very interesting.
  • LeAnne
    Non-fiction often gives me the yawns, but not this! Nope - 4.5 and totally unexpected. Am I the only well-educated, yet totally ignorant middle ager who did not know this about Teddy Roosevelt?? What a helluva story.Basic background: Roosevelt was vice president in 1901 when McKinley was assassinated, and like LBJ, became president by succession. He won re-election fair and square a few years later, was awarded the Nobel Prize for ending the Russ...
  • Abby
    GASP - Non-fiction!!! And I didn't hate it! A notorious loather of non-fiction, I might just have found the one to break the cycle. River of Doubt was a brilliant, well-crafted narrative of Theodore Roosevelt's arduous journey down a previously unmapped tributary of the Amazon River. Barely surviving, Roosevelt makes it to the end in weary triumph. One of my big problems with non-fiction is that there is no suspense. (Ok, one might argue that abo...
  • Josh
    "Far from its outward appearance, the rain forest was not a garden of easy abundance, but precisely the opposite. Its quiet, shaded halls of leafy opulence were not a sanctuary, but, rather, the greatest natural battlefield anywhere on the planet, hosting an unremitting and remorseless fight for survival that occupied every single one of its inhabitants, every minute of every day. Though frequently impossible for a casual observer to discern, eve...
  • Dawn Michelle
    THIS was an amazing book. I had no idea that it even existed [much like her other book about President Garfield, that was also amazing] until I went into my book club and this was the book for January [MUCH to my besties dismay as she is NOT a lover of nonfiction] and I was quick to grab it and then spent 4 days just gobbling it up. WOW. Having lived in Brazil, I actually have seen the Amazon, I have seen AND experienced the bugs/snakes and spide...
  • Lucy
    Theodore Roosevelt's leadership and charisma is a well documented part of American history. Although I'm sure I learned about him in my required history classes, and I've been to Mount Rushmore, I can't say that I knew much about him beyond the fact that he was a Rough Rider, a president, a large man, that he created the idea of a protected national park, and that he supposedly said, "Speak softly and carry a big stick." I also suspected that he ...
  • Connie
    Theodore Roosevelt needed to lift his spirits after his defeat in the 1912 presidential election in a third-party run. He had been invited for a lecture tour in South America, and added the challenge of a trip to the Amazon region. When he reached Brazil, he changed his plans from exploring a known river to embarking on a journey along the uncharted River of Doubt. Theodore Roosevelt was accompanied by his son Kermit Roosevelt, the Brazilian expl...
  • Pamela
    History brought alive through captivating subject matter, exemplary writing, and exceptional research. Only a couple times did I find myself skimming; mostly in the more political or biographical feeder trails. Otherwise, I found myself hanging on to every word - and turn of the current or thrash through the jungle portage. My, how times and ideologies and technologies have changed. Some for the better, some for the worse. GPS and cell phones, an...
  • Blaire
    I don't usually choose to read history, but this reads like an adventure story with interesting historical asides to put it into context. Excellently researched and brought to life. Worst trip ever.
  • Heidi The Hippie Reader
    The River of Doubt is non-fiction at its best. First of all, the story is amazing. The whole thing reads like a dungeon crawl through a jungle scenario, but it actually happened! Throughout the book, as the men struggle with leaky canoes, predators on land and in the river, cannibals (really!), constant insects and bacteria, discontent among the party itself, and their quest to go down a river that no one has ever gone down before, Millard puts i...
  • Elizabeth (Alaska)
    This is narrative nonfiction at its finest. I had not yet finished when I came here to see what else Millard has published. I already had her Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President on my virtual shelf, and will certainly consider adding the one with Churchill and the Boer War.This, after an overland route of several hundred miles just to get to the uncharted river of the expedition:After months of inatt...
  • Mara
    Theodore Roosevelt, adrenaline/adventure junkie extraordinary, upon losing the 1912 presidential election, "resorted to the only therapy he knew: physical hardship and danger." Enter the Amazon and the heretofore uncharted "River of Doubt." As someone who has spent a good chunk of time journeying outside of civilization (e.g. backpacking along the Appalachian Trail, sailing from Mexico to Tahiti, out of site of land for a solid month), this story...
  • Kelly
    This is an account of Theodore Roosevelt's descent down a previously unchartered tributary to the Amazon. What is amazing is that anyone, much less a former president, would make such a journey as poorly prepared as Roosevelt's expedition. For instance, to lighten the load on the overland journey to reach the headwater, they left behind a number of light weight canoes and arrived at the river with no boats whatsoever. Poorly crafted dugouts purch...
  • Alisa
    Remarkable story of the exploration journey by then-former President Teddy Roosevelt down a previously uncharted River in South America in 1914. As adept as the former President was at confronting the elements on outings into the wild, he left the pre-trip planning and organization to people he trusted but who did not collectively have the requisite appropriate knowledge to adequately prepare. The saving grace was TR's son Kermit and the Colonel ...
  • Andy
    Not my cup of tea. DNF. Too many boring tangential details interrupting the narrative. For a book about Teddy, I preferred:
  • Deborah Edwards
    American History was not my favorite subject in school, I admit it. Through a little trickery, I managed to take World History twice just to avoid it. I really know embarrassingly little about Teddy Roosevelt – at least I did before reading Candice Millard’s engaging book “The River of Doubt”- but nevertheless, I always thought he was someone I would have loved to have met. Fearless, charismatic, outdoorsy, eccentric, and adventurous, it ...
  • Judy
    My adult children tell me I am opinionated. Well, first of all, at my age I feel entitled to a few opinions. Here are a couple definitions: "unduly adhering to one's own opinion or to preconceived notion" (Merriam Webster); "someone who isn't afraid to give their personal opinion" (Urban Dictionary). I think it boils down to two things. In this age of post-political-correctness, saying what one thinks is fraught, unless you are a political talk r...
  • Mmars
    In 1914, when most young British men were headed to trench-digging in Europe, former President Teddy Roosevelt, reeling from a loss as a third-party candidate for President, initiated an expedition down an uncharted river in the Amazon rainforest, attempting to leave himself a little geographical legacy. What he apparently expected to be comparable in adventure to a safari in Africa, or an Arctic expedition, turned out to be a living hell. And th...
  • Mahlon
    Part political thriller, part Biography, part Saturday-afternoon adventure serial, part ecology lesson, Candice Millard's "The River of Doubt" has a little something for everyone. Chronicling Theodore Roosevelt's 1913 journey down the previously unexplored Brazilian River of Doubt. Millard recounts the myriad obstacles faced by the hearty band of explorers including poor planning, disease, hostile Indians, and a multitude of predators from within...
  • Patti Pfister
    I didn’t love this book. It was good. It was a good story with many interesting facts but I kept wishing the river trip and the book would end. The writing style was almost too descriptive which made me feel hungry, itchy, achy, hot and exhausted as I listened to the audiobook. I would recommend the book but only to history buffs as the best parts of the book were the background and side stories.