Friday, September 14, 2007

No doubt about the Rio da Dúvida

Yesterday’s gathering of Leafing Through the Pages, the Sterling Morton Library’s book group, was a spirited discussion of Candace Millard’s River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey. Group participants were spellbound by the adventures of the Brazilian-American crew that surveyed the Rio da Dúvida (River of Doubt later renamed Rio Roosevelt), “a churning, ink-black tributary of the Amazon that winds nearly a thousand miles through the dense Brazilian rain forest.” Led by Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon, famed explorer and Brazilian military officer, and Theodore Roosevelt, the former U.S. president, the author explores the high adventure, intrigue and drama of this expedition’s exploits. Of particular interest to our discussion was Millard’s riveting description of the challenging terrain and natural history of the region. As the story unfolds, the group discovered the expedition was ill prepared to face the many challenges (those unforeseen and those that probably should have been foreseen) that awaited them in their 1913-1914 expedition. Through diaries, interviews and extensive research, the author presents a compelling story.

Within the Sterling Morton Library, there are a number of resources that will provide further information about Roosevelt and Amazonia:
  • Theodore Roosevelt : the naturalist by Paul Russell Cutright
  • The Rough riders by Theodore Roosevelt
  • Theodore Roosevelt's America : selections from the writings of the Oyster Bay naturalist
  • Margaret Mee's Amazon : paintings of plants from Brazilian Amazonia by Margaret Mee ; text by Simon Mayo
  • Amazon frontier : the defeat of the Brazilian Indians by John Hemming
  • Flowers of the Brazilian forests collected and painted by Margaret Mee
  • A botanist in the Amazon Valley : an account of the flora and fauna in the land of floods by R. Ruggles Gates
  • Travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro : with an account of the native tribes, and observations on the climate, geology, and natural history of the Amazon Valley by Alfred Russel Wallace
  • Naturalist on the River Amazons by Edward Clodd

Additional resources to investigate:

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