Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Book Review

Among my favorite books are historical novels or histories set in Brazil. There are a few great ones out there, including “The War of the End of the World,” by Mario Vargas Llosa (a Peruvian writer who tells a riveting tale of a very famous standoff in the backlands of Brazil at the beginning of the Republic) and “Brazil,” by Errol Lincoln Uys which romps through more than 500 years of Brazil’s history in fluid storytelling fashion.

I just finished a terrific book that tells the tale of US President Theodore Roosevelt’s journey down an uncharted river in the Amazon in 1914: “The River of Doubt” by Candice Millard. It was published in 2005.

In this historical recounting Candice Millard, a former writer for the National Geographic Society, follows President Roosevelt from just after his failed run for the presidency as head of the Progressive Party (nicknamed the Bull Moose Party), through his decision to explore a river in Brazil, and then most engrossingly along that harrowing and nearly fatal journey.

As reviewed by the San Francisco Chronicle: “[Millard] writes with precision and perfect pacing, enriching her narrative with just the right amount of historical back-story and scientific content.”

I loved it and was sorry to finish it in just three days.

If there are any ex-pats here in Brazil who would like to trade/lend a book or two from your shelf for any of the titles I’ve mentioned, give me a shout. We could take our chances with the Brazilian postal service…

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