Monday, June 28, 2010


The River of Doubt - Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
by Candice Millard. 2005.

Doubleday, New York

Easily the best treatise of Roosevelt’s famous trip to Brazil. A fascinating read with clear documentation and an excellent bibliography. The only shortcoming we detected was the author’s lack of familiarity with the Amazonian fauna. Owing to that, she was unable to point out the fact that Roosevelt and crew often labored under the mis-perceptions of the time. This in no way diminished their courage, just as Columbus braved the flat-earth theorists when he set sail. Today, we know much more about the behavior of piranhas, anacondas, and jaguars, to name a few, and much of the fear at the time was unnecessary. “And an ingenious Spaniard says, that rivers and the inhabitants of the watery element were made for wise men to contemplate, and fools to pass by without consideration.”– Izaak Walton

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