The River of Doubt by Candice Millard

Brendan’s Alternate Tagline: I don’t recommend exploring uncharted tributaries of the Amazon.

Quick synopsis: The story of when Teddy Roosevelt decided to take a vacation and explore a tributary of the Amazon. Didn’t go well.

Fun Fact Non-History People Will Like: Did you see the synopsis above? I am a history nerd and I knew nothing about this. Roosevelt was crazier than I thought.

Fun Fact for History Nerds: Two for the price of one! Roosevelt had an old injury which left him extremely susceptible to death if he hurt himself under the wrong circumstances. You know, like being in the middle of the Amazon.

Also, Candido Mariano da Silva Rondon was legit. Not very well known in the US, but he is a big deal in South America. Even his Wikipedia entry is amazing.

My Take: Every now and again a history nerd gets humbled when they read about an amazing story they never head about before. This is one of them.

The very simple premise denies belief. Roosevelt lost out for a third term. Roosevelt then needs to do something crazy because he loves challenging himself but also is one of the ultimate spotlight hogs in history. He decides to head to the Amazon and explore an unexplored tributary of the Amazon. Hilarity ensues. Just kidding, death and starvation ensue.

Throw into this already crazy story Candido Rondon who is someone I never heard of before but is just as fascinating as Roosevelt. I don’t have enough space here to go through his accomplishments, but Millard gives you just enough to know he was an amazing human being.

Add in to all of this that Candice Millard is our author. She has written 3 books and they are all amazing. Yes, I have a nerd crush.

Verdict: Great book period. Even non-history nerds should read it and will enjoy it.

If You Liked This Try:

  • Candice Millard, Hero of the Empire
  • Candice Millard, Destiny of the Republic
  • Peter Stark, Astoria
  • David Grann, The Lost City of Z
  • Buddy Levy, River of Darkness
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The River of Doubt by Candice Millard
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