In the winter of 1913-1914, Theodore Roosevelt began an arduous, thrilling, life-threatening and life-changing adventure exploring an here-to-for unexplored portion of the Amazon basin, a tributary of the Amazon River then-called the River of Doubt. Roosevelt often undertook physically challenging tasks following personal defeats and he had just lost a bid for re-election as President of the United States. This journey, however, was particularly challenging presenting white water rapids, potentially hostile natives and, most of all, the unknown. Their perils included loss of equipment and near starvation as well as personal intrigue among the expedition’s members.
This book is more than an adventure. It is more than an historical novel. It is more than an ecological look of the Amazon basin. It is all of the above and more as Theodore Roosevelt and his traveling party, including one of his sons, literally struggle to survive in a hostile environment unexplored at the time. Roosevelt himself never fully recovered from the effects of the expedition and died prematurely only a few years later. The River of Doubt is the best historical book that I have recently read. I recommend it heartily to the adventurer, the historian and the ecologist.