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Mother of God: An Extraordinary Journey into the Uncharted Tributaries of the Western Amazon

Mother of God: An Extraordinary Journey into the Uncharted Tributaries of the Western Amazon

5.0 4
by Paul Rosolie

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For fans of The Lost City of Z, Walking the Amazon, and Turn Right at Machu Picchu comes naturalist and explorer Paul Rosolie’s extraordinary adventure in the uncharted tributaries of the Western Amazon—a tale of discovery that vividly captures the awe, beauty, and isolation of this endangered land and presents an impassioned call to save


For fans of The Lost City of Z, Walking the Amazon, and Turn Right at Machu Picchu comes naturalist and explorer Paul Rosolie’s extraordinary adventure in the uncharted tributaries of the Western Amazon—a tale of discovery that vividly captures the awe, beauty, and isolation of this endangered land and presents an impassioned call to save it.

In the Madre de Dios—Mother of God—region of Peru, where the Amazon River begins its massive flow, the Andean Mountain cloud forests fall into lowland Amazon Rainforest, creating the most biodiversity-rich place on the planet. In January 2006, when he was just a restless eighteen-year-old hungry for adventure, Paul Rosolie embarked on a journey to the west Amazon that would transform his life.

Venturing alone into some of the most inaccessible reaches of the jungle, he encountered giant snakes, floating forests, isolated tribes untouched by outsiders, prowling jaguars, orphaned baby anteaters, poachers in the black market trade in endangered species, and much more. Yet today, the primordial forests of the Madre de Dios are in danger from developers, oil giants, and gold miners eager to exploit its natural resources.

In Mother of God, this explorer and conservationist relives his amazing odyssey exploring the heart of this wildest place on earth. When he began delving deeper in his search for the secret Eden, spending extended periods in isolated solitude, he found things he never imagined could exist. “Alone and miniscule against a titanic landscape I have seen the depths of the Amazon, the guts of the jungle where no men go, Rosolie writes. “But as the legendary explorer Percy Fawcett warned, ‘the few remaining unknown places of the world exact a price for their secrets.’”

Illustrated with 16 pages of color photos.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 01/27/2014
A young explorer finds his soul amid the trackless jungle in this rousing eco-adventure. Rosolie, a naturalist who runs (and subtly plugs) an eco-tourism outfit, recounts his exploits from the age of 18 when he escaped New Jersey and lit out for the Madre de Dios region of the Peruvian Amazon basin, a paradise of primeval forest and riotous wildlife. Mentored by an Indian family, then graduating to solo treks to remote uninhabited areas, he wrestles with giant anacondas, faces down crocodiles, tenderly parents an orphaned anteater, feels the presence of jaguars panting over him in the night, and edges towards an encounter with possibly murderous tribesmen. Along the way he battles poachers and sounds the alarm against civilized encroachments that are obliterating the world’s wildernesses. This is old-school nature writing, unabashedly romantic and free of alienation; the author foregrounds his drama of elemental self-discovery—“along the river-bank I ran, screaming at the storm to give me its worst, in adrenaline-induced madness”—and is forever gazing into the gorgeous eyes, and tragic spirits, of the critters he meets. Rosolie’s powers of description are so vivid and engrossing that readers will be swept along in his passion. Photos. (Mar. 18)
Kirkus Reviews
In his first book, naturalist and explorer Rosolie chronicles his many thrilling experiences since 2006, when he first traveled to a research center located in a primordial jungle region of the Amazon basin, now threatened with unregulated development. Now running Tamandua Expeditions to support conservation initiatives, the author was then an 18-year-old college student searching for volunteer opportunities to work with a conservation organization. During a college break, the author seized on an opportunity to spend a month at a jungle research center in southeast Peru, serving as an assistant in recording observations of the species inhabiting the area: spider monkeys, jaguars, crocodiles, a wide variety of snakes and more. This was the first of many trips to the center, which became his spiritual home. During his college years, he commuted back and forth from New Jersey to the Amazon; over time, he became an accomplished guide. Back home again, he worked to raise donations for the research center, which was a hand-to-mouth venture, and he also arranged ecotourism expeditions and volunteer groups to work at the center. Rosolie describes his deepening understanding of conservation and the issues involved in protecting natural ecosystems against would-be developers, loggers, mining interests and poachers. First and foremost, however, this is a gripping adventure story packed with plenty of adrenaline-filled encounters with massive snakes, intimidating jaguars and other creatures. On one occasion, the author was carried downriver while grasping the back of a gigantic anaconda "as thick as a small cow and easily well over twenty-five feet long…the mega-snake of legends." As the author writes, "[a]dventure in its purest form is raw discovery. The draw to see what's around the next bend becomes hypnotizing; I was drawn forward by the powerful tide of the forest." A vividly written narrative of an amazingly diverse world still to be explored, whose destruction, as Rosolie wisely notes, would be a devastating loss for humanity.
Bill McKibben
“A great adventure with a great and enduring point: we simply must protect these last, vast slices of the planet that still work the way they’re supposed to.”
Mark Adams
“Paul Rosolie’s Mother of God is more than a thrilling adventure tale, it’s an old-fashioned boy-meets-jungle love story. Be prepared to fall for it.”
Bear Grylls
“Rosolie’s solo adventures in the heart of the Amazon jungle, up close and personal with giant anacondas and jaguars, are gripping. And his dedication to preserving one of the earth’s last wildernesses is where he really sets himself apart. Mother of God is an awe-inspiring read.”
Jane Goodall
“An extraordinary book…His vivid writing immerses you in his adventures as he explores an ancient pristine forest where no white man has been, where he encounters amazing creatures, and experiences the relentless power of untamed nature…There are parts that will haunt you, scenes you will never forget.”
“Rosolie writes with intrepid curiosity and a passion for ecological preservation.”
“Rosolie is a gripping storyteller. . . . His enthusiasm for the wilderness and his ability to convey it poetically makes him an exceedingly persuasive advocate for conserving what’s left of the natural world.”
The Wall Street Journal
“Thanks to fastidious journal-keeping that preserved a wealth of detail and emotion, Rosolie delivers an old-fashioned jungle adventure, one with rare immediacy and depth of feeling for the people and creatures he encounters.”
The Wichita Eagle
“A sobering account of an ecosystem hanging in the balance. . . . An insightful history of the region. . . . Entertaining and revelatory.”
Library Journal
Describing lost tribes, poachers, giant snakes, and jaguars. Rosolie proffers a spirited account of his teenage adventures traveling through the remotest regions of Peru. His journey through Eden is filled with "unfathomable beauty and brutality" and rich, action-packed scenes ranging from fistfights to stickups and even beheadings. (LJ 6/15/14)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.40(d)

Meet the Author

Paul Rosolie is a naturalist and explorer who has specialized in the western Amazon for nearly a decade. Along with running a conservation project called Tamandua Expeditions that uses tourism to support rain forest conservation, Paul conducts research and expeditions that take him all over the world in search of ways to save wildlife and ecosystems. In 2014 he launched the first-ever study of anacondas in Amazonia with the Discovery Channel special Expedition Amazon. Mother of God is his first book.

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Mother of God: An Extraordinary Journey into the Uncharted Tributaries of the Western Amazon 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
SusanMcCauley More than 1 year ago
The book is a wonderful read.  You will have a deep appreciation for Biodiversity and the great need for all of us to support respect and care for the planet's remaining areas that are habitat for great numbers of still-unknown plants and species of animals.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fate was kind when I found this book, one of the most enlightening and informative adventure tales ever. Loved it. Such a simple review, I know, but I am at a loss for words. I just finished it and wish I still had two hundred pages to go.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
DebSimon More than 1 year ago
A MUST READ autobiography for anyone interested in an exciting and fascinating true live adventure of Paul Rosolie's explorations and dedicated work towards saving what is left of the Amazon Rain Forest. If you loved "My Side of the Mountain" as a kid, oh boy, you are in for a treat with this read. Captivating, difficult to put down; it will change the perspective of the casual nature lover to the ardent conservationist. Get off Facebook, turn off your phone and TV, put down that silly romance novel or "tell all' gossip magazine, and read something worth while. Mother of God: An Extraordinary Journey Into the Uncharted Tributaries of the Western Amazon will keep you on the edge of your seat, but may inspire you to save the future for your children and grandchildren should you choose to become involved, even on a tiny level.