True North Blog

Recommended Reading

Recommended Reading

Trust me, whether it is piece of equipment, a course, or an individual, I don’t make a recommendation unless I truly believe in doing so.  And books are no exception.  So, if you want to enjoy an amazing read and learn a piece of world history that you won’t find in the average history text book – not to mention gaining a unique perspective about wilderness survival – then consider picking up The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard.

While most American Presidents retire into comfortable and secure life, Teddy Roosevelt in 1912 decided that in order to exercise a few personal demons that he needed to endure the toughest physical challenge possible.  His choice?  To explore an unchartered tributary of the Amazon, and its adjoining regions, about which so little was know, that contemporary maps of the country simply showed huge blank spots.  Even the river itself had no name … It was simply called the “River of Doubt.”

Roosevelt and his expedition suffered amazingly brutal hardships, beginning with the loss of many of their canoes and much of their supplies in whitewater rapids at the outset of the trip.  This, then, was followed by disease, starvation, attacks by natives with poison tipped arrows, even mutiny, just to name a few.  The physical pain and stress was so sever, that Roosevelt even planned to kill himself.

The real the hero of this story, however, is the expedition “co-leader,” Candido Mariano da Silva Rondon.  While Roosevelt received all the glory, it was Rondon who managed the expedition, led all the actual survey explorations, and kept everyone alive (including Roosevelt).  Most amazing of all, was the report that he cultivated with the native populations – their first contact with modern civilization – and the genuine respect and admiration that he had for them.  The legacy of Rondon still impacts our world today.

Erik Kulick leaning aginst wall with True North badge on blue shirt

About the Author

Erik is the founder of True North Wilderness Survival School. He is a police officer, EMS provider, a Wilderness EMT, and a Fellow of the Academy of Wilderness Medicine. He has been featured in national and international media, including CNN, the Associated Press, and Backpacker. To learn more about Erik, visit him on LinkedIn and be sure to follow him on Facebook.

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