The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard
Finished: July 31st, 2017. Rating: 8/10
Roosevelt’s expedition exposed the horrors people commit when desperate, but it also revealed the vigor one can hold when dying. The River of Doubt is about endurance, discipline, and determination. It is a story of, as Roosevelt would put it, “labor and strife . . . toil and effort.” That is the core. This book is called “The River of Doubt,” after all. The antagonist is doubt and the river itself, and the protagonist is the drive of Roosevelt and his team.
They set out to map the River of Doubt, a river even Cândido Rondon, Brazil’s greatest explorer, knew nothing about. The river hid schools of piranha capable of eating alive anything that fell into the water, and the jungle around it hid cannibalistic tribes armed with poison arrows, deadly vipers which slithered between twigs, and poisonous frogs that could kill with a touch. Even for someone who lived as physically demanding a life as Roosevelt, this would be a great struggle for the 55-year old preacher of the Strenuous Life. Still, he marched forward.
Theodore Roosevelt is one of the toughest SOBs who ever lived, and The River of Doubt reveals why.
No notes here. Only a brief story. If you like the story, you’ll like the book.
Roosevelt was running for a third term as President of the United States. He’s in Milkwaukee, Wisconsin, about to give a speech. Theodore was one of the most popular men in America at the time. Even so, some viewed his third term as a step towards monarchy. In fact, one man feared this step so bad that he wanted to halt Roosevelt’s movements permanently.
John Schrank, a New York bartender, walked up to Roosevelt and shot him in the chest. But Roosevelt survived, and he was not halted. Actually, Roosevelt insisted that he still give his speech that. In response to the assassination attempt, Roosevelt simply raised his arm, showed off his wounds, and shouted, with his distinguished wit and unshakable will, “it takes more than that to kill a bull moose!”