I’m just returning a copy of “The River of Doubt” by Candice Millard, subtitled, “Theodore Roosevel’s Darkest Journey”. It’s one of the nominees for this year’s One Book One Lincoln (OBOL) program.
Theodore Roosevelt lived this adventure down a river of the Amazon Basin in 1913 and 1914, shortly after his defeat as a third-party candidate for president in 1912.
Interesting story! The expedition began as a fairly mild trip down previously-charted waters. It became a life-and-death struggle down a river full of rapids, without adequate equipment or provisions. Roosevelt became seriously ill with an infection in his leg that had been injured years earlier.
The rainforest of the Amazon becomes almost another character–it is so full of life that the team of adventurers can’t begin to understand. They can barely see the world of plants and animals that have adapted to the ecosystem there. Millard describes too how the people of the rainforest have also adapted, and how they let this group of explorers live, when in reality, they could have killed the whole group relatively easily.
My experience of this book was that I enjoyed it as I read it, but I didn’t find it more compelling than gardening or a delicious supper. I did enjoy reading how the people on the expedition interacted, and how they dug into their reserves of strength and resilience.
This book would likely appeal to people who enjoy reading about history, or adventure, or South America, or the lives of the presidents.
Have you read it? What do you think?