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The Thief at the End of the World: Rubber, Power, and the Seeds of Empire
     

The Thief at the End of the World: Rubber, Power, and the Seeds of Empire

by Joe Jackson
 

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In 1876, a man named Henry 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. Those seeds, planted around the world in England's colonial outposts, gave rise to the great rubber boom of the early twentieth century-an explosion of entrepreneurial and scientific

Overview

In 1876, a man named Henry 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. Those seeds, planted around the world in England's colonial outposts, gave rise to the great rubber boom of the early twentieth century-an explosion of entrepreneurial and scientific industry that would change the world. The story of how Wickham got his hands on those seeds-a sought-after prize for which many suffered and died-is the stuff of legend. In this thrilling real-life account of bravery, greed, obsession, and ultimate betrayal, award-winning author Joe Jackson brings to life the story of a fortune hunter and his collaboration with the empire that fueled then abandoned him.

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
From the Publisher
"Joe Jackson has written a compelling story of science and politics."
-The Dallas Morning News

"An exhilarating narrative, sweeping us through great discoveries and international rivalries."
-Jenny Uglow, author of The Lunar Men

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780670018536
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
02/28/2008
Pages:
432
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.24(h) x 1.41(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Joe Jackson has written a compelling story of science and politics."
-The Dallas Morning News

"An exhilarating narrative, sweeping us through great discoveries and international rivalries."
-Jenny Uglow, author of The Lunar Men

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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