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Roosevelt's Beast

3.33  ·  Rating Details ·  490 Ratings  ·  114 Reviews
A reimagining of Teddy and Kermit Roosevelt's ill-fated 1914 Amazon expedition—a psychological twist on the smart historical thriller that first put Louis Bayard on the map

1914. Brazil's Rio da Dúvida, the River of Doubt. Plagued by hunger and suffering the lingering effects of malaria, Theodore Roosevelt, his son Kermit, and the other members of the now-ravaged Roosevelt-
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ebook, 320 pages
Published March 18th 2014 by Henry Holt and Co.
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Richard Derus
Sep 03, 2014 Richard Derus rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4.5* of five

The Publisher Says: 1914. Brazil’s Rio da Dúvida, the River of Doubt. Plagued by hunger and suffering the lingering effects of malaria, Theodore Roosevelt, his son Kermit, and the other members of the now-ravaged Roosevelt-Rondon scientific expedition are traveling deeper and deeper into the jungle. When Kermit and Teddy are kidnapped by a never-before-seen Amazonian tribe, the great hunters are asked one thing in exchange for their freedom: find and kill a beast that leaves
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Kyra
Disclosure: I received an ARC for review.
There are some minor spoilers, so do not read if you have not read the book yet.

I like the genre of historical fiction, so I was intrigued by the concept.

Overall it worked. I enjoyed a recounting of the expedition and it's troubles. The author managed to work in the story within the context of real events without making too many implausible changes to real events. I knew very little of the trip so I had plenty of suspense about the fate of the expedition.
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Sarah
Dec 15, 2013 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Offering an intriguing twist to the history of the 1914 Roosevelt-Rondon expedition to Brazil’s Rio da Duvida, “Roosevelt’s Beast” by Louis Bayard presents a disturbing story that is rich in atmospheric suspense. It is, in Bayard’s own words, “a psychological fantasy built out of historic events,” and the very setting—the River of Doubt—lends itself to the mythological feel of the work. While featuring the inimitable Theodore Roosevelt, the story’s main protagonist is his solemn and somewhat bel ...more
Jonathan
Jul 05, 2014 Jonathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
See, this is why I haven't written a novel. Okay, maybe it's only part of why. But *you* read this first line, and tell me that doesn't make every beginning you've ever jotted down seem a little...inadequate.

I thoroughly enjoyed this. I have similarly enjoyed other fictionalized historical accounts, like Dan Simmon's the Terror, so maybe I have a soft spot for this, but if this is genre fiction, it is of the highest quality, plumbing the depths of family, responsibility, and destiny in a way fe
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The Bookend Family
Let me start out by saying that Roosevelt’s Beast by Louis Bayard is a very good book. It‘s both smart and wise, and taut and tense, a well-researched novel that is both a work of literature and a solid thriller. So why didn’t I give it more stars?

I am a huge fan of Mr. Bayard, and have been reading him since his first book. In particular I would suggest The Pale Blue Eye and Mr. Timothy, two novels cut from the same cloth as Roosevelt’s Beast. Also, Theodore Roosevelt is one of my true heroes,
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Greg Z
Feb 01, 2015 Greg Z rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is the third book I've read by Louis Bayard. The first was "The School of Night" and it was good, an interesting take on historical/conspiracy/thrillers. The second was "The Pale Blue Eye" which I liked even better than "Night." It's hard for me to separate "Roosevelt's Beast" from those first two, as I've read them recently. It's also hard to separate "Beast" from Dan Simmons' spectacular "The Terror" or from Micheal Crichton's "Congo" which I don't think has aged very well. Anyway, back t ...more
Mara
This is a fairly weird mixture of historical fiction and psychological horror (with a touch of adventure thrown in), but it worked for me and I really enjoyed it. Bayard does a really impressive job of keeping both Theodore Roosevelt and his son, Kermit, feeling true to their historical selves even while in these purely imagined situations. Good for Roosevelt or historical fiction fans looking for something different to try.
Angus McKeogh
I had high hopes for this. The premise seemed really interesting but alas the story didn't deliver. Kind of corny and slow going.
Albert
Jun 18, 2014 Albert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Title - Roosevelt's Beast

Author - Louis Bayard

Summary -

It is 1914, along Brazil's River of Doubt, a band of explorers travel deep into the Amazon. In the party are a father and son of one of America's most powerful families. Theodore Roosevelt and his son Kermit.
But the Roosevelt's become detached from the rest of the group and with Theodore injured, it falls to Kermit to rescue them. Kermit who is plagued with self doubts and an overriding sense of failure must now care for and save his larg
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Janette Fleming
Jan 28, 2014 Janette Fleming rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"A reimagining of Teddy and Kermit Roosevelt’s ill-fated 1914 Amazon expedition—a psychological twist on the smart historical thriller that first put Louis Bayard on the map
1914. Brazil’s Rio da Dúvida, the River of Doubt. Plagued by hunger and suffering the lingering effects of malaria, Theodore Roosevelt, his son Kermit, and the other members of the now-ravaged Roosevelt-Rondon scientific expedition are travelling deeper and deeper into the jungle. When Kermit and Teddy are kidnapped by a neve
...more
Jennifer
Mar 01, 2014 Jennifer rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
I like Bayard's work, so I was excited to try this one out. It was enjoyable, but a little strange. It makes me want to pick up Candice Millard's The River of Doubt for a look at the factual expedition.

The relationship between T.R. and his son, Kermit, is one of the best parts of the novel; their story, including their family history, is well-drawn, and their characters seem natural, though I wanted more of the two of them interacting. The hunt for, and subsequent revelation of, the Beast is l
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Bob
Mar 05, 2014 Bob rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bayard's strengths and weaknesses both shine through in this historical fiction/horror/mystery novel. This book's strength is that it hurdles on and on like a boulder down a mountainside. It is fast-paced without lacking visuals. However, I sometimes felt like I was watching a movie, and not an especially high budget one at that. There was a transparent formula to the plot and while there was plenty of action, there weren't a lot of surprises. Everything in this book has been done before, countl ...more
Kristen
Apr 27, 2014 Kristen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I have read several of Bayard's other books, and loved all of them. Unfortunately, this one did not work for me.

I am not exactly able to put my finger on why I didn't connect to this. Maybe the jungles are not a good setting for me, I wasn't all that thrilled by descriptions of insects and malaria and deadly rapids [my reaction to all of those was basically: "yuck!"].

Maybe the Roosevelts [Teddy and his son Kermit] weren't as interesting as I expected they would be. The portion of the book I rea
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Karen
Jan 03, 2014 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarything-win
I received this book for free through LibraryThing's Early Reveiwers Giveaway. Thank you very much! It is a great book!

I have never read any books by Louis Bayard before and I was certainly impressed by this book and his writing style. What I found most intriguing about this novel is that he used real, historical people and events to weave a fictionalized, psychological story adventure.

The character of Colonel Theodore Roosevelt was by far my favorite character. He was just so darn likeable tha
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Aubree
Dec 14, 2013 Aubree rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went into this book with a bit of trepidation as I knew it was a fantasy-horror re-imagining of Roosevelt's Amazon excursion and neither fantasy nor horror are genres I usually read. However, I had heard much praise of Bayard's writing and decided to give it a try. Boy am I glad I did! Roosevelt's Beast is a wonderfully written engaging story that was hard to put down. Narrated by Kermit Roosevelt it interweaves the story of the expedition (including Bayard's incorporation of a kidnapping and ...more
Dan Radovich
Nov 05, 2013 Dan Radovich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Once more Bayard works his magic taking a real event and creating a fictionalized spin to it all his own. For those not familiar with Louis Bayard, you have been missing a true talent in historical fiction. His plot lines are tight and swift. His characters more believable than real life, and his over all writing style is superior to most in his craft. This tale of Teddy and Kermit Roosevelt's 1914 odyssey on The River of Doubt is a masterful mix of adventure and horror with some family history ...more
Nick
May 14, 2014 Nick rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Atmosphere, characterization are really well done. But I wish the supernatural stuff made more sense. It lacked coherence even within the imaginings of the novel. Is the beast a horrific manifestation of one persons psychological disturbance, or is it real? The evidence goes both ways, and sorry but that just disturbs me. I like horror to have a certain logic to it. Kermit and especially TR really come alive as characters, so bravo to the author for that.
Ridge Multop
Bayard is a wonderful writer, and this contains many well-written passages. Even the fantastic plot was creative. However, I got the feeling around 2/3 of the way through that he had run out of story and moved into overdrive to get to the end. Purple prose abounded. Not his best, but better than most.
Erin
Aug 13, 2014 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was truly amazing. A horror twist on the great Roosevelt expedition on the Amazon... the book really brings you into the world of a rainforest populated by savages, a world in which civilized men brave all odds to explore and encounter evil beyond which they have ever known. Well imagined, atmospheric and beautifully done. I loved this book!
Cynthia
I enjoyed some of the book and the authors writing style. I did not enjoy the depth of the supernatural portion of the story. I kept waiting for Kermit to wake up and it to have all been a dream. I have read The River of Doubt, the nonfiction version of the expedition and loved it.This one? Not so much.
Julie
May 01, 2014 Julie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2 1/2 stars. Easy/quick read, but a bit too supernatural for me for this type of story. I have nothing against fantasy and paranormal genres, but this didn't seem to fit in the adventure category of the Roosevelts traveling down an uncharted river in the Amazon.
Gail Multop
I wish the author had written a slightly more realistic fiction account of the Roosevelt Amazon trip. The real story was harrowing enough. Kermit was a fascinating counterpoint to his father. I could have done without all of the skin peeling and fantasy gore.
Wendy Henning
May 04, 2015 Wendy Henning rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps I'm biased since Louis Bayard is from my hometown, but his writing simply amazes me. When reading his books, I spend half the time immersed in the story and the other half wishing I could write like that.
Darlene Franklin
A great read to learn more about Kermit Roosevelt and his famous father. Together they travel thru the wilds of Brazil meeting hardship, unknown tribes, and dangerous turns. A mix of the real and the beasts that torture.
Patricia
Roosevelt's Beast was an enjoyable historical fiction/thriller. A retelling of
Janellyn51
Apr 04, 2014 Janellyn51 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an easy read, and I liked it a lot. I'll be interested to look further into Kermit Roosevelt. Always got a kick out of Teddy. It's kind of creepy, about the Beastie, and all that.
Elizabeth
Dec 15, 2013 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Exquisite writing but very complex. I suggest that readers do some research on the Roosevelt family before or while reading Bayard's book.
Maddy
Mar 02, 2014 Maddy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book gives me nothing of what I want. It drives me to tears and in the end nothing is resolved as I would like it to be.
Joe Collins
Jul 15, 2017 Joe Collins rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I was disappointed in it. I listened to the unabridged audio book version. The narrator was good, especially with doing differences in the voices. I think the author got the darkness of Kermit and the powerful charisma of Theodore Roosevelt quite well. The story behind what 'the beast' was bad. It had good potential, but the author failed to deliver a believable reason for what 'the beast' was and the after effects upon discovery of what it was. It is a shame because I read so few modern fiction ...more
Shauna
Mar 22, 2017 Shauna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have mixed feelings about this book. The author uses some creative, amusing and beautiful imagery but I also felt like the plot got lost within lengthy descriptions which caused me to lose my patience. It wasn't the page turner adventure tale I expected, nor was it quite the psychological thriller. It was more of a character mediation with adventure and thriller elements throughout. The character Kermit Roosevelt was incredibly moody and cognitive which was balanced nicely by the comedic relie ...more
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A staff writer for Salon.com, Bayard has written articles and reviews for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Nerve.com, and Preservation, among others. Bayard lives in Washington, D.C.
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“You are asking us to lie, Colonel?"
"I am asking you to omit. Surely, amidst the...the infinite gradations of human venality, that particular sin ranks low." The old man kneaded the folds of his throat. "What happened out there belongs out there. The jungle has it; let the jungle keep it...”
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“Here was the thing about traveling down an uncharted river: You could only say how long you'd been traveling; you could never say how long it would be.” 1 likes
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