In October 1913, Theodore Roosevelt arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on a tour of South America. The thrill-seeking adventurer had no idea that he would soon receive an offer he couldn t refuse: the chance to lead an expedition deep into the Amazon jungle to chart an unmapped river with his son Kermit and renowned Brazilian explorer Candido Mariano da Silva Rondon. Read more...
In October 1913, Theodore Roosevelt arrived in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on a tour of South America. The thrill-seeking adventurer had no idea that he would soon receive an offer he couldn t refuse: the chance to lead an expedition deep into the Amazon jungle to chart an unmapped river with his son Kermit and renowned Brazilian explorer Candido Mariano da Silva Rondon.
"Death on the River of Doubt" takes readers inside the thrilling journey that unfolds as Roosevelt, Rondon, Kermit, and their companions navigate an unpredictable river through an unforgiving jungle. With new threats at every turn, from bloodthirsty piranhas and raging rapids to starvation, disease, and a traitor in their own ranks, it seems that not everyone will make it out alive.
Through it all, the indomitable Teddy Roosevelt remained determined to complete their mission and rewrite the map of the world. Or die trying."
- ISBN-13: 9780545709163
- ISBN-10: 0545709164
- Publisher: Scholastic Press
- Publish Date: January 2017
- Page Count: 240
- Reading Level: Ages 12-UP
- Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.9 pounds
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2016-11-07
- Reviewer: Staff
This gripping chronicle of a 1914 expedition that changed the map of Brazil highlights a post-presidential accomplishment of Teddy Roosevelt. Setting the scene, Seiple (Lincolns Spymaster) writes that, after arriving in Rio de Janeiro for a speaking tour, the danger-loving, thrill-seeking Roosevelt was recruited by the Brazilian government to lead, along with local explorer Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon, a mission to chart an unexplored and unmapped waterway in the Amazon jungle, known as the River of Doubt. Accompanied by his son Kermit and an entourage of Brazilian camaradas (canoeists and other laborers), Roosevelt embarked on what became as much a journey of survival as discovery. Incorporating quotations from the journals of Roosevelt and the expeditions other principal members, Seiple illuminates the partys life-threatening struggles with thundering rapids, punishing rain, disease, injuries, hostile native tribes, insubordination, dwindling provisions, and plummeting morale. Simultaneously, Seiples portrait of Roosevelt reveals his perseverance, good humor, selflessness, and compassion, despite potentially fatal malaria and an infected leg wound. Archival photos help draw readers into this death-defying drama. Ages 12up. Agent: Jessica Regel, Foundry Literary + Media. (Jan.)
Teddy Roosevelt's uncharted expedition
Readers will enjoy a rapid ride through history in Death on the River of Doubt as Theodore Roosevelt, his son Kermit, explorer Colonel Cândido Rondon and a jungle-hardened crew explore an uncharted river in Brazil’s Amazonian rainforest. In 1913-14, these explorers spent nearly four months surveying the river, during which time Roosevelt also planned to collect wildlife specimens for the American Museum of Natural History.
The expedition started with severe losses, as the team was forced to ditch supplies as mules and oxen died of starvation. This was just the beginning of travails for the crew. In one gripping moment, two canoes became pinned between river rocks, and Roosevelt rushed into piranha-infested waters to help free the boats, gouging his leg in the process. As Roosevelt’s leg wound and a malarial infection brought him near death, he begged Rondon to leave him behind.
Author Samantha Seiple adds realism to the story through explorers’ journal entries and photographs. In his darkest moments, Roosevelt may have doubted his expedition and his own survival, but there is no doubt that this middle grade read earns high marks for historical accuracy and adventure.