Lessons and words from Candice Millard


Washburn students gathered together for the annual iRead event at 7 p.m. Sept. 12 in White Concert Hall. 

This year’s presentation was given by Candice Millard, author of “The River of Doubt.”

Millard is both an accomplished novelist and journalist, and has worked for National Geographic as an editor and writer. She earned her master’s degree in literature from Baylor University, and has published three books, all of which focus on iconic historical figures and crucial events in their lives. 

“My favorite part is always the research,” said Millard. “There are always a million different stories that go with what I’m looking at.”

All incoming freshmen were required to read “The River of Doubt” and attend the lecture as part of Washburn’s iRead program. The book focuses on the life of President Theodore Roosevelt.

“I thought it was interesting,” said Andrew Reynolds, freshman forensics investigation major. “I learned quite a bit about Teddy and the different side of his life that I never knew existed. It’s also nice to see who’s behind the book for once.”

Millard talked about her researching process and why the book was written and organized the way that it was. 

She explained the historical significance of the Amazon and its overall importance in Roosevelt’s life.

“Try to imagine George Bush or Barack Obama, announcing that they’re going to explore Mars on their own,” said Millard. “It’s just that extreme.” 

“The River of Doubt” is a New York Times Best Seller, and the book was a finalist for the Quill Awards.

After Millard’s address to the crowd, students were given the chance to ask questions. In one of her answers, Millard explained why she made her own journey to the Amazon in researching for the book.

“It was really difficult and it was really dangerous, but I couldn’t have written the book without it,” said Millard. “I needed to know not only what it looked like, but what it smelled like, what it sounded like and what it felt like to be there. And the only way to know that is to go.”

Students were able to have their copies of “The River of Doubt” or any of Millard’s other books signed after the presentation.

“I hope you will remember this occasion,” said Washburn University President Jerry Farley. “And that you will remember this book for a long, long time.”