Amazing Adventure

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One of many items on my bucket list is to read the biographies of all the Presidents. So far I have read about twenty. The book I just completed is a piece of the life of Theodore Roosevelt. Imagine living a life so rich in accomplishment that a major adventure fills a book and is just a small part of one’s life.

Teddy Roosevelt had just lost the election to become President of the USA for a third term. He tried what is today described as a losing affair. Teddy formed a third-party he called the Bull Moose party to run against Woodrow Wilson a democrat who today is by some considered to be one of the greatest presidents that we ever had. Others, like myself consider him to be the father of American Progressivism, or Socialism. Nevertheless, Roosevelt lost big. In his recovery from the loss, he was talked into making a speaking tour of South America. To make a dull trip more exciting he chose to add an adventure to his itinerary. A friend talked him into an exploration of a little known river in Brazil. The friend imagined the tour to be an easy down river float with all the comforts of home, including chef cooked meals of extraordinary cuisine, and fine wines. Roosevelt’s biggest mistake was to trust the friend to plan and outfit the excursion.

While in South America giving speeches, he met a man known for exploring the Brazilian rain forests. The man, Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon, suggested to Roosevelt that his expedition explore a totally unknown one thousand mile long tributary of the Amazon called the River of Doubt. The adventure would allow Rondon to put this river on the map. The idea appealed to Roosevelt and the whole trip changed in character.

Author Candice Millard crafted an extraordinary narrative from details recorded by members of the expedition. The story keeps the reader interested throughout. This story would make an excellent adventure movie, but it is too big to tell, and was made into a series.

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