The Thief at the End of the World: Rubber, Power, and the Seeds of Empire [NOOK Book]

Overview

The amazing tale of one of history's most daring acts of biopiracy-and how it changed history

In this thrilling real-life account of bravery, greed, obsession, and ultimate betrayal, award- winning writer Joe Jackson brings to life the story of fortune hunter Henry Wickham and his collaboration with the empire that fueled, then abandoned him. In 1876, Wickham smuggled 70,000 rubber tree seeds out of the rainforests of Brazil and delivered them...
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The Thief at the End of the World: Rubber, Power, and the Seeds of Empire

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Overview

The amazing tale of one of history's most daring acts of biopiracy-and how it changed history

In this thrilling real-life account of bravery, greed, obsession, and ultimate betrayal, award- winning writer Joe Jackson brings to life the story of fortune hunter Henry Wickham and his collaboration with the empire that fueled, then abandoned him. In 1876, Wickham smuggled 70,000 rubber tree seeds out of the rainforests of Brazil and delivered them to Victorian England's most prestigious scientists at Kew Gardens. The story of how Wickham got his hands on those seeds-and the history-making consequences-is the stuff of legend. The Thief at the End of the World is an exciting true story of reckless courage and ambition that perfectly captures the essential nature of Great Britain's colonial adventure in South America.


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Editorial Reviews

Jonathan Yardley
Jackson has made a first-rate book out of Wickham's story. A freelance writer and former newspaper reporter who works out of Virginia Beach, he has done a heroic amount of research, made a coherent story out of a huge mass of material and identified the larger themes that give the story its resonance. His writing is lucid, occasionally vivid, and he brings to the enterprise a welcome sense of humor, as well as, when it is useful, a sense of the ridiculous. The Thief at the End of the World not merely is informative and instructive, it also is immensely entertaining, an attribute always to be welcomed.
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781101202692
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 2/28/2008
  • Sold by: Penguin Group
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 194,141
  • File size: 677 KB

Meet the Author

Joe Jackson is the author of one novel and four nonfiction titles, including Leavenworth Train, which was a finalist for the 2002 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime. He worked for twelve years as an investigative reporter for the Virginian-Pilot, covering criminal justice and death row.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: Henry's Dream 1

Part I The Need

1 The Fortunate Son 19

2 Nature Belongs to Man 34

3 The New World 53

4 The Mortal River 75

5 Instruments of the Elastic God 100

Part II The Source

6 The Return of the Planter 119

7 The Jungle 136

8 The Seeds 153

9 The Voyage of the Amazonas 173

Part III The World

10 The Edge of the World 197

11 The Talking Cross 217

12 Rubber Madness 237

13 The Vindicated Man 263

Epilogue: The Monument of Need 291

Appendices

I World Rubber Production, 1905-1922 305

II The World's Rubber Requirements, 1922 306

III New York Price Quotations for Crude Rubber 307

Glossary 309

Notes 313

Bibliography 363

Acknowledgments 391

Index 397

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