Explorers of the Amazon / Edition 1

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Explorers of the Amazon vividly describes how European explorers such as Pedro Cabral, Francisco De Orellana, Lope de Aguirre, and Madame Godin encountered the vast wilderness of the Amazon basin; how they searched, exploited, and fought over its riches; and what they learned and failed to learn through four centuries of adventure. Anthony Smith not only enriches this history with fascinating geographical, political, and scientific details but also gives a strong warning to those who continue to exploit this great river's resources.

"The history of Amazonian exploration, wonderfully told by Anthony Smith, is awash with madness—an extravagant mixture of the malevolent and the miraculous."—Stephen Mills, Times Literary Supplement

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Christmas, 1541: Francisco de Orellano and 57 Spanish soldiers set off downstream from the headwaters of the Amazon in Ecuador; nine months later, they reached the Atlantic Ocean. In this history of Amazon exploration, Smith The Great Rift writes of mutiny and murder, miraculous survival, shifts in world power and international rivalries. A 1637 Portuguese expedition was the first to journey upstream to Quito, and a century later, the French made the first scientific studies of the region. Smith follows the trail of Alexander von Humboldt and Aime Bonpland up the Orinoco to their discovery of a natural link with Amazon waters in 1800. En route the pair collected and measured everything they could reach. We also meet 19th-century Englishmen Richard Spruce and Henry Wickham, who snatched the greatest prizes of the Amazon--seeds of the chinchona source of quinine and rubber trees. Later, in 1913, a young American traveler, Walter Hardenburg, brought to light the evils of the rubber industry. The book will appeal to travel and adventure buffs. Illustrated. Jan.
Library Journal
This is less a continuous history than a series of chapters dealing with the exploration of the Amazon River from the discovery of Brazil in 1500 to the expose of Indian exploitation on the rubber plantations of the early 1900s. Smith, a British TV and radio personality and freelance writer, presents a number of colorful characters from the homicidal Lope de Aguirre to the polymath Baron von Humboldt to the British adventurer Henry Wickham. Edward Goodman's The Ex plorers of South America LJ 8/72 covers much of the same ground as Smith's work does, though in more scholarly fashion, but Explorers of the Amazon certainly merits consideration as a readable, popular account.-- J.F. Husband, Framingham State Coll. Lib., Mass .
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226763378
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2009
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 344
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Table of Contents

Pedro Cabral - Stumbling Upon Brazil
Francisco de Orellana - First Down the Amazon
Lope de Aguirre - Who Killed Even His Dream
Pedro de Teixeira - Making the Amazon Portuguese
Charles Marie de la Condamine - Equatorial Scientist
Monsieur and Madame Godin - And Their Separation
Baron von Humboldt - Inspiration to the World
Spruce Wickham - Collectors Extraordinary
Julia Arana - King of the Putumayo
Illustration Acknowledgments

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