the boiling river book coverReviewed by Caleb Shadis

The Boiling River is a book based on a TED talk by Andres Ruzo. I’ve heard of TED talks and have since watched quite a few of them online. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design. They cover a very wide range of topics and typically focus on interesting new discoveries and understanding about the world around us.

The Boiling River is about a river that is close to boiling, bubbling away in the Amazon. The river is particularly special because no one knew about this amazing place and people living in the area denied its existence. And even more impressive was the sheer volume of water that was flowing at this temperature.

The first problem Andres had was even finding out if the river actually existed. He had heard about it in a story from his grandfather who claimed to know all about it. It was years after his grandfather died that his interest in geology came to fruition, and even longer before he decided to look into the possible truth of the legend.

The people who he expected to know about such a place all claimed it did not exist–including local geologists and the specialists in the oil fields. Eventually, he spoke with his aunt who not only claimed to know about it, but had visited it years before, and knew the man ‘in charge’.

Even after Andres finally had a chance to observe the legend in his own right, he still worried and had misgivings. Because even though it was obviously a hot river and the locals claimed it had been that way for generations, he still feared it had been caused by the oil drilling. He needed proof that it preexisted the oil wells in the area.

A large part of this book was focused on Andres trying to find the river and prove it existed and then most of the rest trying to find proof that it was a natural phenomenon. We follow his story from beginning up until he gives his TED talk and explains what he is trying to do to help protect the river for future generations. It is a great story and is a fast and easy read.

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Caleb is a software engineer and amateur woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Simon & Schuster. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.