NONFICTION

Death on the River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Amazon Adventure

224p. ebook available. photos. Scholastic. Jan. 2017. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780545709163.
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Gr 7 Up—A hardheaded outdoorsman sets out to explore the uncharted regions of the Amazon. Only one thing sets him apart from other enterprising men of his day—he used to be the president of the United States. Given the opportunity to investigate this region, Theodore Roosevelt jumped at the chance and unwittingly placed himself and his crew in great danger. Offering only the most perfunctory of overviews of his presidency, Seiple jumps into the meat of this particular episode in Roosevelt's life, his time on the so-called River of Doubt. With black-and-white photos and descriptive language, this book is an immersive reading experience for lovers of adventure narratives. While presidential biographies for kids are common fare, it is rare to see such a detailed account of an individual's time after leaving office. Seiple also takes care to profile Roosevelt's crew, including his son Kermit and respected explorer Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon. However, the handling of Brazil's indigenous peoples leaves a lot to be desired: they are framed as existing only in the past ("Like the United States, Brazil had a population of different Indian tribes") and referred to as "hostile Indians."
VERDICT While this is an action-packed work of narrative nonfiction, its occasional stereotypical depiction of indigenous peoples lessens its value.

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