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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