Customer Reviews for

River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Great Read

River of Doubt is a great read. It's a look into a day when men still did exceptional things, without thought of their safety. truely a lookinto the later life of one of America's greatest men.

posted by davedDD on December 21, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Don't bother

There are some passages which are interesting here, but I find myself pulling my hair out as I read chapter after chapter about another portage, another loss of supplies, another description of despair. It feels like one is stuck in the back seat of a car and asking, "a...
There are some passages which are interesting here, but I find myself pulling my hair out as I read chapter after chapter about another portage, another loss of supplies, another description of despair. It feels like one is stuck in the back seat of a car and asking, "are we there yet??"
I understand why other historians did not give this expedition much attention.

posted by Marisue on November 21, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2007

    A gripping, if somewhat melodramatic tale

    This is an overall fascinating account of great adventure and triumph against the odds. I appreciated lack of numbered annotations in the text, which kept the story flowing. The author describes the rain forest and its inhabitants very well. I felt I was being led to believe some disaster would come of the relationship of Kermit and Belle, as our attention was constantly turned to it through his letters to her. The dugouts, for the most part, did get the party a long way down the rapids of the river and were easily traded to the rubber men, so why did I get the feeling they were to lead to absolute disaster? I would read this again in a minute, despite the somewhat melodramatic telling of a story that needed no embellishment. But first, I want to find a good read on Colonel Rondon!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I've been a longtime admirer of Teddy Roosevelt so when this boo

    I've been a longtime admirer of Teddy Roosevelt so when this book was originally published I got it right away. I started reading it but something happened and for no particular reason I stopped after a few chapters. I found that I wasn't as enthusiastic about it as I thought I would be. So for several years it set on my book shelf and I promised I would go back and finish it someday. I'm glad I finally got around to reading it. This book has a lot of interesting information, everything from Roosevelt family history to politics of the era and the story of the Amazon all rolled into a pretty rousing adventure tale. If there is one failing of the book it is the lack of atmosphere. What I mean by this is that while the author writes of the dire circumstances of the expedition's plight the writing can be a little too sterile to convey that emotionally. It's one thing to be told of the crew's starvation but I didn't necessarily feel like I was there. It's hard to quantify and it is not a major problem, the writing is very well done.

    I like the insight into Roosevelt's personality and ideals. If there is one thing the author conveyed in no uncertain terms it is the admiration and sense of awe that the former President instilled in those around him.

    I love this time frame in US and world history and this jungle safari fantasy come to life. It was packed full of great information and little bits of detail that added quite a bit to the story. The historic photos also added a lot. For me it was a fast and enjoyable read.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2014

    It was a fascinating book.  Good questions for discussion groups

    It was a fascinating book.  Good questions for discussion groups also.  4 stars

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2014

    Highly recommend

    This was a fascinating account of not only the expedition itself, but of the man Theodore Roosevelt. I was astonished at the man's endurance and character. We need more Americans like him.

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  • Posted February 11, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    You'll think you are reading fiction once they reach the mouth of the River of Doubt

    There can be no doubt that President Theodore Roosevelt was a strong willed individual. His limitations made him fight every day to overcome them. His drive for the 'hard way' and his passion for learning and then sharing what's learned is admirable. After reading this book, I am at a loss as to how he and his group of collaborators ever made it out alive. I have a new appreciation for a man I thought was 'only' our nation's President. Theodore Roosevelt is that and very much more. Short in stature; tall in respect, both demanding it for himself and demonstrating it even more to others.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2012

    Good read. Well written.

    This is an interesting period of history and a window into turn of the century Brazil. I hope the author takes the next step and writes the full story of Rondon...an incredible Brazilian so-commander of the expedition. this is a great read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2012

    Good read

    I enjoyed this book particullarly because I have spent time in Brasil. Also because I am interested in the story of old presidents. This book gave great insight for me in the personality of Teddy. At times I felt like it was slow with all the explanations but in the end I still loved it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An Entertaining Adventure

    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the audio version of this book. I feel the author did a great job not only describing the events of the Roosevelt-Rondon expedition but also took the time to tell the story of the Brazilian member of the group, Colonel Rondon in particular. The narration was also quite good and certainly added to the story. If I had read this book (instead of listening to it), I doubt I would have been able to put it down.

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  • Posted November 23, 2011

    Very good book, great read

    I had my 'doubts' about reading this, but they quickly faded. It was interesting to see the preparation, efforts and challenges faced at this time period...things we take for granted today. I gained a lot of respect for ole Teddy and the true pioneers of the day. You won't be disappointed buying this one.

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  • Posted May 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Good book but takes effort to read.

    The River of Doubt is a good book, although it is a bit slow to read. If the author was trying to bring the reader a sense of the monotony of travel through the Brazilian rain forest, she was successful. More of a scholarly tome than pulp history The River of Doubt is a detailed account of the 1913-1914 Roosevelt-Rondon Scientific Expedition and all of the triumphs and tragedies that went with it. The interdependent relationships of the Brazilian rain forest life forms are deeply explored. For a point of reference this book would be similar to the account of the Lewis and Clark expedition as told in "The Way to the Western Sea" a very scholarly account, as opposed to "Undaunted Courage" a more pulp history account of the same story. It is a good story well told, albeit in the form of a textbook rather than a casual read. If the reader has the patience to trudge through The River of Doubt he will be rewarded by a large amount of knowledge as well as a great story of survival. This book take effort to read, but it is worth the effort.

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  • Posted January 9, 2011

    Four Stars Out of Five

    Good adventure and presented information about this intriguing Presdient that I was not familiar with. Some chapters did have a little too much in the way of natural history about the Amazon. I would have enjoyed it much more if the story line had stayed with the
    story of Roosevelt and not so much of the details of the flora and fauna of the region.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Found out little known facts of History

    Intriguing reading of adventure, thrills, and horrifying experiences

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2009

    interesting and informative

    I never knew a lot about Teddy Roosevelt's life, especially after his Presidency. This book enlightened and engaged my interest. I would recommend it. It's very different than I had expected and well done.

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  • Posted July 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Exciting River of Doubt

    Candice Millard has written an exciting, well-researched, superior book about the journey of Teddy Roosevelt on one of the tributaries of the Amazon after his defeat in the presidential election of 1912. The perils encountered on this journey affected T.R. the rest of his life. You will also discover more about his son Kermit who also made the journey. This is my second read of "River of Doubt." I read it shortly after it came out several years ago and found it to be just as wonderful the second time around. If you love nonfiction and adventure stories about well-known people, you will enjoy reading this book.

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    Posted April 22, 2011

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