For the many writers in our audience who enjoy narrative history, I have a strong recommendation for you: Candice Millard's The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey, which came out in 2005. This is a simply smashing tale, with first-rate research and writing—a great model for developing nonfiction writers.
You would think that even in 1914, any expedition carrying a former president and one of his sons down an uncharted portion of the Amazon River, through treacherous jungle, would be exceedingly well-planned, well-provisioned and relatively danger-free. You would be wrong.
But even beyond a great adventure story—and nightmarish descriptions of piranhas and a lethal mini-catfish called a candiru—Millard provides a vivid, haunting sense of the Amazon that the reader won't soon forget. In her depiction, this enormous river and jungle become a living, breathing, malevolent entity that is the formidable product of millions of years of Darwinian adaptation—and does not take kindly to human interlopers.
It's one of the few books I wish had been twice as long.
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