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My Last Chance to Be a Boy

Theodore Roosevelt's South American Expedition of 1913-1914

by Joseph R. Ornig

260 pages / 6.00 x 9.00 inches / 48 halftones

American History

  Paperback / 9780807122716 / April 1998

“A great story beautifully told. It reminded me in so many ways of Lewis and Clark. . . . I just devoured it.” —Stephen E. Ambrose

Using letters, diaries, and firsthand accounts from participants, Joseph R. Ornig has pieced together the gripping story of Theodore Roosevelt's 1913–1914 expedition into the Brazilian equatorial forest that charted the course of the River of Doubt. The fifty-four-year-old former president regarded the trip as his “last chance to be a boy.”

Ornig skillfully recounts the numerous challenges the expedition faced, including skirmishes with tribesmen and wild animals, the destruction of the group’s canoes, friction among the members of the expedition, starvation, disease, injury, and even murder. But characteristically, Roosevelt genuinely appreciated the experience: “I am an old man and I did have a murderous trip down South, but it was mighty interesting.”

Joseph R. Ornig, a Chicago businessman, spent more than twenty years researching the life of Theodore Roosevelt for this book.

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