Candice Millard is a former writer and editor at National Geographic magazine. She lives in Kansas City.
In a gripping account, Millard focuses on an episode in Teddy Roosevelt's search for adventure that nearly came to a disastrous end. A year after Roosevelt lost a third-party bid for the White House in 1912, he decided to chase away his blues by accepting an invitation for a South American trip that quickly evolved into an ill-prepared journey down an unexplored tributary of the Amazon known as the River of Doubt. The small group, including T.R.'s son Kermit, was hampered by the failure to pack enough supplies and the absence of canoes sturdy enough for the river's rapids. An injury Roosevelt sustained became infected with flesh-eating bacteria and left the ex-president so weak that, at his lowest moment, he told Kermit to leave him to die in the rainforest. Millard, a former staff writer for National Geographic, nails the suspense element of this story perfectly, but equally important to her success is the marvelous amount of detail she provides on the wildlife that Roosevelt and his fellow explorers encountered on their journey, as well as the cannibalistic indigenous tribe that stalked them much of the way. Agent, Suzanne Gluck. (On sale Oct. 18) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Whenever fate dealt him a blow, Theodore Roosevelt struck back by taking on a new physical challenge. Millard, formerly with National Geographic, charts how TR dealt with his "third term" loss for the White House in 1912: he accepted a lecture invation to Buenos Aires and followed it with a dangerous expedition deep into the Amazon in search of a remote tributary known as the River of Doubt. Millard's book has four central characters, each vividly brought to life: the 55-year-old ex-president; the celebrated Brazilian explorer Col. Candido Rondon; TR's 24-year-old second son, Kermit; and the Amazon rain forest itself, which nearly doomed the two dozen members of the expedition. From the outset, the three men had different goals. For TR it was his "last chance to be a boy" and to become a genuine explorer, for Rondo it was an opportunity to survey properly the river he had discovered in 1909, and for Kermit it was a duty to his mother, who worried about her aging husband. The expedition encompassed miles of impassable rapids, loss of canoes and supplies, malaria, near-starvation, cannibalistic Indians, deadly snakes and insects, and a murderous porter. Millard turns this incredible story into one that easily matches an Indiana Jones screen adventure. Essential.-William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
"A rich, dramatic tale that ranges from the personal to the literally earth-shaking." --Janet Maslin, The New York Times
"[A] fine account . . . There are far too many books in which a
travel writer follows in the footsteps of his or her hero--and
there are far too few books like this, in which an author who has
spent time and energy ferreting out material from archival sources
weaves it into a gripping tale." --The Washington Post
"[N]o frills, high-adventure writing . . . Millard's sober account is as claustrophobic as a walk through the densest jungle, and as full of vigor as Roosevelt himself."