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Cleveland Park LibraryStaff Picks

Staff Recommends...

'The River of Doubt' by Candice Millard

Book Cover:  The River of Doubt by Candice MillardThe patron returning The River of Doubt by Candice Millard, commented that the book was very engrossing and “read like a novel.” Having recently read In the Garden of Beasts, I was intrigued because that book also read like a novel. Although I knew that Theodore Roosevelt was a huntsman, I did not know about his lust for adventure.

At the age of 55, he and a group of select men, including his son Kermit, embarked on a trip to map an undiscovered branch of the Amazon River called "The River of Doubt."  Roosevelt had been shot during his third bid as president and was looking for a challenge, which he was wont to do whenever he sought comfort.

The reader is introduced to family and close friends, along with the parts they played during this harrowing trip, which nearly cost Roosevelt his life. The courageous men who undertook this very dangerous journey suffered from malaria, hunger, broken bones, lost canoes -- and even death. At times, the reader feels that the book is repetitive but this only underscores the torturous monotony of the trip. Many days were spent hauling the canoes out of the river, carrying and dragging them over land, and setting them back in the river over and over again.

The men who survived this journey were truly of a certain breed and this recounting leaves the reader in awe.  I highly recommend this book for those who enjoy reading about real adventure, history, or if you are a fan of Theodore Roosevelt.
-- Hanife Conry