Green Cathedrals

Green Cathedrals

by Brian Alexander
     
 

What are the true rain forests? Are they, as most of us picture them, "humorless, mysterious places, filled with exotic plants," or are they in fact replete with bon vivants, all "sitting like Bambi in the bullseye of western media attention, unable to figure out what the fuss is all about?"Brian Alexander's quest for rain forest truths leads him to some

Overview

What are the true rain forests? Are they, as most of us picture them, "humorless, mysterious places, filled with exotic plants," or are they in fact replete with bon vivants, all "sitting like Bambi in the bullseye of western media attention, unable to figure out what the fuss is all about?"Brian Alexander's quest for rain forest truths leads him to some disenchanting discoveries. The rain forests of the world (he surveys six of them) do not have heroic natives fighting capitalist oppressors, nor idealistic eco-scholars seeking miracle cures from exotic flora. In fact, some rain forests are not even hot. He does discover a parade of lively and memorable people, places, and adventures that makes Green Cathedrals a book to savor, learn from, and enjoy. (6 1/4 X 9 1/4, 220 pages, color photos)

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
As a child, he dreamed of Tarzan and jungles; as an adult, journalist Alexander discovered that rain forests fell short of his dreams. In fact, he says, they are miserable places to live because of poverty and disease. He gives a breezy account of his travels to seven rain forests and a sensitive portrait of the people who live there. In the Tamen Negara in Malaysia, reputedly the world's oldest tropical rain forest, he found a hotbed of politics, development, ethnic and religious strife. In Guatemala's Petn forest, some 32 separate organizations were working on a project to save the forest. Alexander was enchanted with tiny Dominica, in the Caribbean, but dubious about its schemes to attract tourists. In New Zealand's Whirmaki forest, a Maori woman wearing an Elvis T-shirt asked him to take her to Memphis. There were other adventures in Alaska, Panama and Brazil. Alexander gives us a fresh and disquieting look at these exotic places. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour. (Nov.)
Library Journal
Journalist Alexander writes of his experiences in rain forests in Malaysia, Alaska, Guatemala, Dominica, Panama, and the Amazon. Although there are brief descriptions of some plant and animal life, he focuses on the humans he encountered and their living conditions. In depicting researchers living deep in a soggy, mosquito-infested forest and the impoverished, rugged lives of the locals, the author removes some of the First World romantic notions of a rain forest. They aren't the neat and tidy worlds of the movies. He replaces the romance with a more realistic view of a world that includes cholera, dysentery, parasites, and tangled politics. A useful addition to rain forest collections because of its honest perspective. (Eight-page color insert not seen.)-Nancy Moeckel, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, Ohio
Brenda Grazis
Alexander's childhood images of the fantasy jungles of Tarzan and Jungle Jim vanish when he journeys to several rain forests and encounters such realities as Brazilian troops stationed in the Amazon to prevent First World internationalization of the rain forest; fundamentalists in a rain forest village in Malaysia seeking the resettlement and religious conversion of animistic Aboriginal natives; luxury hotel chains, Reeboks, and racism on Dominica, home to one of the last oceanic rain forests; and the vague menace of guerrilla insurgents in Guatemala. Added to the political, religious, and racial tensions are the immutable, almost tangible heat, deadly snakes, life-threatening reactions to insect bites, shockingly polluted water sources, cholera, dengue fever, and all but nonexistent medical facilities. Even Alexander's trenchant humor does little to lighten impressions of pestilence and hopelessness. And, if cause for optimism for preservation of the rain forests exists, Alexander seems not to have noticed.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781558213999
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
10/01/1995
Pages:
220
Product dimensions:
6.31(w) x 9.28(h) x 0.87(d)

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