Scott Donald Carper-River of Doubt

Author of Book: Candice Millard
Date Read: July 4, 2023

Book Report

Why did I read this book?

This book came highly recommended and I was surprised at how little I enjoyed it.   I am probably in the minority here…although the other 2 inmates I let borrow the book were not impressed either.  This book has received rave reviews and is part of a group of books of national bestsellers (on Roosevelt).  I was really looking forward to a story that was entertaining…and something that allowed me to take a break from the self-help books.  I really tried to like it however it just dragged and I found it a struggle to finish it.  I didn’t care what happened to the characters (with the exception of Roosevelts son, Kermit).  

What Is this book about?

After Roosevelt lost his election bid (3rd term as a progressive candidate) in 1912 he yearned for another adventure.  It is hard to argue that Roosevelt was nothing short of an amazing man.  He set his sights on traveling an unmapped portion of the Amazon.  With a dynamic cast of characters, he sets out on a dangerous expedition through unchartered territory.  The author spends a great deal of time very vividly describing the surroundings, and dangers they face…and that is probably where my boredom spiked…. I do not get enthusiastic about this type of writing (where great care is used to describe the surroundings of an area). The author also constantly repeats what enormous danger they are in (which got old really quick…I get it they are in danger).  Reptiles, Animals, Indians, Rapids, Poison….to name a few.  Roosevelt and his son Kermit came very close to dying on this trip.  

Rondon, who was essentially the leader on this trip remains one of Brazil’s greatest heroes.  Rondon has mapped more of the amazon than any other person.  His relationship with Roosevelt was tense at times however they both seemed to respect one another a great deal.  

In the end Roosevelt makes it out of the Amazon barely alive however this journey is largely credited as one of his greatest achievements.  

How what I learned applies to me moving forward?

I struggled finishing this book.  This doesn’t mean I didn’t take something productive from it.  It seems like everything I read; provides important lessons.  Roosevelt success seems to be centered around an incredible work ethic.  He took great care in just about everything he did.  If I am honest about my last 20 years the number one thing, I lost was my work hard at all costs mentality (in short, I lost my work ethic).  For me drugs made me lazy…. I had my moments but overall, I just operate on a different level when I am partying.  I look back and I am embarrassed at my lack of effort in certain areas.  I keep coming back to the fact that I feel like I am starting over at age 47 (soon to be 48).  I have lost so much time.  It is hard to forgive myself for that.  There are some very successful people here at the camp and they have encouraged me telling me that I have plenty of time left.  I have spent a great deal of time learning from these people and thinking about what I will do when I get out (job wise).  Some of the traits they all seem to share is a solid work ethic and a commitment to being frugal.  The work ethic is back…being frugal is something I need to continue to work on.  Although I do admire Roosevelt….Alexander the Great continues to be my favorite leader.

(Dad Comment:  I am the one who sent him the book because I thought it terrific and I thought he needed a change of pace from all the self-help books.  The very things that Scott did not care for are among the things I enjoy in a book.  I read lots of books where place is one of the characters and the context makes it a really good read.  I also have traveled in the amazon although in much more comfortable circumstances.  He is entitled to his opinion on this book wrong as it might be. Hah

From what I understand when an inmate gets a book, he does not know who sent it to him unless you have otherwise told him in a letter or email.  He just gets the book. Actually, that is if he even gets the book.  Several books I have sent Scott arrived at the prison but he did not get them.  Theft in prison? By CO’s? As Vizzini in Princess Bride would say “Inconceivable!” )