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Through the Brazilian Wilderness

Theodore Roosevelt

Book Overview: 

Roosevelt’s popular book Through the Brazilian Wilderness describes his expedition into the Brazilian jungle in 1913 as a member of the Roosevelt-Rondon Scientific Expedition co-named after its leader, Brazilian explorer Cândido Rondon. The book describes all of the scientific discovery, scenic tropical vistas and exotic flora, fauna and wild life experienced on the expedition. One goal of the expedition was to find the headwaters of the Rio da Duvida, the River of Doubt, and trace it north to the Madeira and thence to the Amazon River. It was later renamed Rio Roosevel. Roosevelt’s crew consisted of his 24-year-old son Kermit, Colonel Cândido Rondon, a naturalist sent by the American Museum of Natural History named George K. Cherrie, Brazilian Lieutenant Joao Lyra, team physician Dr. José Antonio Cajazeira, and sixteen highly skilled paddlers (called camaradas in Portuguese). The initial expedition started on December 9, 1913, at the height of the rainy season. The trip down the River of Doubt started on February 27, 1914.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Nips. Our guides were not only hunters but cattle-herders. The coarse dead grass is burned to make room for the green young grass on which the cattle thrive. Every now and then one of the men, as he rode ahead of us, without leaving the saddle, would drop a lighted match into a tussock of tall dead blades; and even as we who were behind rode by tongues of hot flame would be shooting up and a local prairie fire would have started.

Kermit took Nips off with him for a solitary hunt one day. He shot two of the big marsh-deer, a buck and a doe, and preserved them as museum specimens. They were in the papyrus growth, but their stomachs contained only the fine marsh-grass which grows in the water and on the land along the edges of the swamps; the papyrus was used only for cover, not for food. The buck had two big scent-glands beside the nostrils; in the doe these were rudimentary. On this day Kermit also came across a herd of the big, fierce white-lipped pe. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I wasn't aware that there had been a Roosevelt-Rondon Scientific Expedition, before reading this book, and thus the extraordinary first-hand account, written and immortalized by Theodore Roosevelt, of the work of exploration accomplished came as a complete surprise to me.

Those chapters which focu...more

Theodore Roosevelt was the manliest of men.
There's no doubt about it.
This book documents his exploration of hundreds of miles of an unknown river in the middle of the Amazon river over the course of 2 months.

First of all, can you even imagine a contemporary American president taking on such a ta...more

This autobiographical nonfiction story has all the workings of good fiction, including clever characters, constant conflict, danger, a goal, and an effective climax. The number of animals they see (and kill! Good grief!) is truly astounding. Roosevelt's inclusion of the snake farm shows me that h...more

Oh, to be so utterly certain that you are right about everything! Teddy Roosevelt's confidence comes through. He so clearly has a plan for life that works for him: retreat into the nearest jungle, wilderness, etc, and then emerge triumphant, all the more dedicated to the project of civilization....more

Overall: a sometimes understated tale of courage and bravery in the face of tremendous difficulty and adventure.

Not going to lie, I love Teddy Roosevelt. I think he is an amazing portrait of manliness that every man should aspire to imitate. That is the sole reason I picked this book up and I am...more

A positively delightful account of a trek through the unknown interior of the Brazilian wilderness can be read in Through the Brazilian Wilderness by Theodore Roosevelt. The book has something for everyone as it covers biological, zoological, botanical, topographical and geological aspects of the...more

It darn near killed him (and undoubtedly shortened his life span considerably), but Theodore Roosevelt's account of his trip down the "River of Doubt" as co-leader of a scientific expedition is riveting stuff.

The strenuous life indeed!

Special review for Vince:
Amazon review:
A former American President nearly dies during an ill-planned exploration through the Brazilian Wilderness and down the River of Doubt. In this first person narrative, never before recorded as an audio book, President Theodore Roosevelt describes his expedit...more

I found this book thanks to Douglas Fairbanks, whose book Laugh and Live I read recently. He wrote that keeping the mind active as well as the body was important, and mentioned a few books he thought of as worthwhile. Theodore Roosevelt's four volume work The Winning of the West was a favorite on...more

First hand travelogue which provides direct insight into Rooselvelt's approach to exploration. It's a bit odd to read his declarations of the importance of ecological preservation, while at the same time he is cutting a swatch of death through the animals he encounters, and lengthy discussions of...more

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