Amazon Adventures

I recently heard an NPR story about the new book, The unconquered, which tells of a tribe of several thousand people in the Amazonian rainforest that has never had contact with modern civilization.  My curiosity aroused about the Amazon region, I browsed the catalog and found  these three additional books that are similar in scope and allure.

The unconquered: in search of the Amazon’s last uncontacted tribes by Scott Wallace.”The Unconquered tells the extraordinary tale of a journey into the deepest recesses of the Amazon to track one of the planet’s last uncontacted indigenous tribes. In this gripping first-person account of adventure and survival, the author follows a 34-man team into the Amazon’s uncharted depths, discovering the rainforest’s secrets while moving ever closer to a possible encounter with the mysterious flecheiros – or “People of the Arrow” – a seldom-glimpsed tribe of deft archers known to defend their lands with showers of deadly arrows before melting back into the forest shadows.”
The lost city of Z: a tale of deadly obsession in the Amazon by David Grann.”In 1925, the legendary British explorer Percy Fawcett ventured into the Amazon jungle, in search of a fabled civilization. He never returned. Over the years countless perished trying to find evidence of his party and the place he called “The Lost City of Z.” In this masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, journalist David Grann interweaves the spellbinding stories of Fawcett’s quest for “Z” and his own journey into the deadly jungle, as he unravels the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century.”
The river sea: the Amazon in history, myth, and legend by Marshall De Bruhl.”Derived from firsthand accounts and secondary histories about Amazonian exploration, and informed by an authorial journey to South America, this work embraces discoverers, conquistadors, missionaries, naturalists, and environmentalists who have been mesmerized by the world’s most stupendous river. Throughout, De Bruhl injects landscape and geographical description into a narrative anchored to historical personages. This usefully depicts the imposing scale of the Amazon, from its width and length to its source in the craggy recesses of the Andes Mountains, as the daunting stage for the ambitions of those who would exploit it. After recounting the fall of the Inca in the era of Spanish and Portuguese conquest, for example, De Bruhl introduces various desperadoes who sought riches in the rain forest; he then describes the scientific expeditions—Alexander von Humboldt’s being the best remembered—that yielded their shares of discovery and drama. Sequencing from botanists such as Alfred Russel Wallace to Amazonian economic conflicts over rubber and deforestation, De Bruhl empathetically regales readers with an Amazon that is alluring, intimidating, and ecologically fragile.”
The mapmaker’s wife: a true tale of love, murder, and survival in the Amazon by Robert Whitaker.”Only an exceptional life could connect the Enlightenment salons of Paris with the tribal villages of the Amazon jungle. Peruvian-born Isabel Grameson lived such a life, and now a prizewinning science writer has retraced its improbable course in a riveting narrative. That story begins with eighteenth-century physicists debating theoretical issues that only observers positioned in South America can resolve. But the French academics who set out to make these observations soon leave behind the empyreal world of pure formulas: only by traversing unmapped rivers, scaling Andean peaks, enduring vexatious insects, and pacifying murderous Peruvians do these resolute savants obtain the longitudinal data they seek. Ultimately, though, these scientific adventurers endure the disappointment of seeing their work validate a British rather than a French paradigm! Finally, too, the expedition sees all its scientific valor eclipsed by the heroism of one beautiful young Peruvian woman–Isabel Grameson–who marries one of the group’s cartographers. For it is this woman who–when cruelly separated from her husband–braves perils far beyond those faced by the scientists. Readers can only marvel at how Isabel survives a rain-forest journey (personally repeated, afoot and afloat, by Whitaker) that claims the lives of all of her companions and leaves her stranded and presumed dead. A rare story, taut with intellectual controversy, romantic passion, and harrowing danger.”

These books are all well reviewed and should appeal to the reader who likes history with their adventure.

 

Posted by Alex, a second floor librarian