Andes

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For centuries, the Andes have caught the imagination of travelers, inspiring fear and wonder. The groundbreaking scientist Alexander von Humboldt claimed that “everything here is grander and more majestic than in the Swiss Alps, the Pyrenees, the Carpathians, the Apennines, and all other mountains I have known.” Rivaled in height only by the Himalayas and stretching more than 4,500 miles, the sheer immensity of the Andes is matched by its concentration of radically contrasting scenery and climates, and the rich ...
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B&W maps & photos London 2010 Hardcover 1st Edition New in New jacket Book CONDITION: NEW 2010 Granta large (580 pages) hard cover & DJ (in mylar jacket), first edition, first ... printing. A few B&W photos and maps illustrate. Fabulous cover map. CONTENT: For centuries, the Andes have caught the imagination of travelers, inspiring fear and wonder. The groundbreaking scientist Alexander von Humboldt claimed that "everything here is grander and more majestic than in the Swiss Alps, the Pyrenees, the Carpathians, the Apennines, and all other mountains I have known." Rivaled in height only by the Himalayas and stretching more than 4, 500 miles, the sheer immensity of the Andes is matched by its concentration of radically contrasting scenery and climates, and the rich and diverse cultures of the people who live there. In this remarkable book, travel writer Michael Jacobs journeys across seven different countries, from the balmy Caribbean to the inhospitable islands of the Tierra del Fuego, through the relics of anci Read more Show Less

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Overview


For centuries, the Andes have caught the imagination of travelers, inspiring fear and wonder. The groundbreaking scientist Alexander von Humboldt claimed that “everything here is grander and more majestic than in the Swiss Alps, the Pyrenees, the Carpathians, the Apennines, and all other mountains I have known.” Rivaled in height only by the Himalayas and stretching more than 4,500 miles, the sheer immensity of the Andes is matched by its concentration of radically contrasting scenery and climates, and the rich and diverse cultures of the people who live there.

In this remarkable book, travel writer Michael Jacobs journeys across seven different countries, from the balmy Caribbean to the inhospitable islands of the Tierra del Fuego, through the relics of ancient civilizations and the remnants of colonial rule, retracing the footsteps of previous travelers. His route begins in Venezuela, following the path of the great nineteenth-century revolutionary Simón Bolívar, but soon diverges to include accounts from sources as varied as Humboldt, the young Charles Darwin, and Bolívar’s extraordinary and courageous mistress, Manuela Saenz. On his way, Jacobs uncovers the stories of those who have shared his fascination and discovers the secrets of a region steeped in history, science, and myth.

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Editorial Reviews

Alida Becker
Andes is a travelogue that's scholarly and sociable in equal measure, by an author who's as interested in ferreting out letters from 16th-century emigrants lured by the legend El Dorado as he is in visiting a museum dedicated to Bolívar's mistress or checking out the transvestite bars of Ayacucho.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
The Andes, earth's longest mountain range, spans seven countries, from Colombia to Argentina, include rain forests and deserts, virtually deserted areas, massive cities, Incan ruins, pre-Incan ruins, Spanish ruins, and more. It's a lot to take on, but Jacobs (The Factory of Light: Tales from My Own Andalucían Village), author of numerous travel books, is nothing if not game. He braves high altitude, terrifying bus rides, endless delays, crime-ridden cities, and wackjob mystics. He's read all earlier accounts, from Che Guevara to Mario Vargas Llosa, along with history, geology, and archeology, and uses their work to supplement his own and to show the overlapping routes and varying agendas of Francisco Pizarro, Simon Bolivar, and generations of explorers and scientists. Jacobs is a good writer, balancing different strands—past and present, contemporary politics, the Spanish Conquest, his own history and that of the people he meets—but he's a great traveler: well connected, tireless, enthusiastic, and interested in everyone he meets. While we could use less of his Spanish village and his dog and a few more notes on why he goes where, he conveys the region's difficulties and challenges as well as its beauty and enduring fascination. (May)
From the Publisher

Praise for Andes

"Andes is a travelogue that’s scholarly and sociable in equal measure, by an author who’s as interested in ferreting out letters from 16th-century emigrants lured by the legend El Dorado as he is in visiting a museum dedicated to Bolívar’s mistress or checking out the transvestite bars of Ayacucho." —New York Times Book Review

"The writing . . . doesn't have a bump in it. Jacobs is a natural wordsmith with an easy style and an engaging manner. He is the quintessential alien adrift in a quirky land and, like many a 19th-century English traveler before him, relishes telling us just how strange South Americans can be." —Washington Post

"Even a reader with no prior interest in the Andes, or South America in general, can’t help but be captivated by this Englishman’s Andean odyssey . . . Andes is an engrossing read, written with historical depth, dry wit and moments of endearment." —Globe and Mail

"[Jacobs] braves high altitude, terrifying bus rides, endless delays, crime-ridden cities, and wackjob mystics . . . He's a great traveler: well connected, tireless, enthusiastic, and interested in everyone he meets . . . He conveys the region's difficulties and challenges as well as its beauty and enduring fascination." —Publishers Weekly

"Filled with encounters with diverse, colorful characters as well as the ghosts of near-vanished Native American civilizations . . . absorbing and charming." —Booklist

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781847081292
  • Publisher: Granta Books
  • Publication date: 1/1/2010
  • Pages: 600

Table of Contents

List of maps ix

List of illustrations xi

Foreword: Long Ago and Far Away 1

Part 1 The View From Afar

1 How It All Began 7

2 Cabinets of Curiosities 17

Part 2 The Tropics

3 Hotel Humboldt 29

4 Distant Mountains 37

5 Bolívar's Dream 48

6 Bolívar, Mirror of the Andes 59

7 Nevado the Dog 80

8 Delirium 90

9 The Consolation of Plants 108

10 To the Enchanted Lake 125

Part 3 The Centre

11 Journeys to the Middle of the World 149

12 Andean Baroque 172

13 Climbing the Volcanoes 207

14 Lost Treasures 223

15 Heart of the Andes 251

16 Ancient Roads 269

17 Omens 283

18 Extreme Adversities 297

19 And the Mountains Came to the City 320

20 Blood Fiesta 339

21 Shining Paths 354

22 Resurrection 389

23 Villages of the Runaway Slaves 429

Part 4 The South

24 Lengthening Shadows 465

25 Spain was Here 495

26 Where the Andes End 533

Further Reading 547

Acknowledgements 551

Illustration Credits 555

Index 557

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 30, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Not impressed, so far

    This book looked fascinating when I picked it up. I enjoy these kinds of travel/history lesson types of reads. But so far I've not been too impressed by the writing. Jacobs spends a lot of time, at least early on, talking about himself and his life style. He also writes some clunker sentences, for example: "...mountains, contrary to all appearances, behave more like a fluid than a rigid plate, and that they ephemeral things that are born and die just like human beings." Huh? I truly don't think mountains are born like human beings.

    Another gripe: a book like this needs detailed, beautiful maps. The maps in this book are the barest sketches, the map version of stick figures.

    But I'm still at the beginning, so I have hope the book will improve. If it does, I'll update this review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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