Through the Brazilian Wilderness

ROOSEVELT, Theodore. Through the Brazilian Wilderness.

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ROOSEVELT, Theodore. Through the Brazilian Wilderness. New York, Scribner, 1914.

Large 8vo. Original brown cloth, ornamented and lettered in gilt; pp. xiv, [2], 383, frontispiece, numerous plates, three maps (one folding); apart from light fading of spine and contemporary presentation inscription to front fly-leaf, fine.
First editionof the account of Roosevelt's 'zoogeographic reconnaissance' with the Brazilian explorer Rondon to discover if the Rio da Dúvida ('River of Doubt'), flowed into the Amazon. Traversing some of the most dangerous territory of Amazonia, the party was successful and the river was renamed Rio Roosevelt, sometimes Rio Teodoro, in his honour. The travellers observed wildlife, report on various indigenous tribes and their societies, as well some big game hunting. 'Almost from the start, the expedition was fraught with problems. Insects and disease such as malaria weighed heavily on just about every member of the expedition, leaving them in a constant state of sickness, festering wounds and high fevers. The heavy dug-out canoes were unsuitable to the constant rapids and were often lost, requiring days to build new ones. The food provisions were ill-conceived forcing the team on starvation diets. Natives (the Cinta Larga) shadowed the expedition and were a constant source of concern - the Indians could have at any time wiped out the expedition and taken their valuable metal tools but they chose to let them pass (future expeditions in the 1920s were not so lucky). One of the camaradas murdered another, while a third was killed in a rapid .. By the time the expedition had made it only about one-quarter of the way down the river, they were physically exhausted and sick from starvation, disease and the constant labour of hauling canoes around rapids. Roosevelt himself was near death as a wounded leg had become infected and the party feared for his life each day. Luckily they came upon "rubber men" or "seringueiros", impoverished rubber-tappers who earned a marginal living from the forest trees driven by the new demand for rubber tires in the United States. The seringueiros helped the team down the rest of the river (less rapid-prone than the upper reaches) and Roosevelt made it home alive to live five more years. Due to the trip, his health never fully recovered' (
Borba de Moraes p. 747.