By Susanna B. Hecht
Publish yr note: First released December 1st 2011
The fortunes of the past due 19th century’s imperial and business powers trusted a unmarried uncooked material—rubber—with just one resource: the Amazon basin. And so begun the scramble for the Amazon—a decades-long clash that stumbled on Britain, France, Belgium, and the us battling with and opposed to the recent countries of Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil for the forest’s riches. in the course of this fight, Euclides da Cunha, engineer, journalist, geographer, political theorist, and one in all Brazil’s such a lot celebrated writers, led a survey day trip to the farthest reaches of the river, one of the world’s most dear, risky, and little-known landscapes.
The Scramble for the Amazon tells the tale of da Cunha’s terrifying trip, the incomplete novel born from it, and the worldwide strife that shaped the backdrop for either. Haunted by way of his damaged marriage, da Cunha trekked via a stunning zone thrown into chaos by means of guerrilla conflict, ravenous migrants, and local slavery. the entire whereas, he labored on his masterpiece, a nationalist synthesis of geography, philosophy, biology, and journalism he named the Lost Paradise. Da Cunha meant his epic to unveil the Amazon’s explorers, spies, natives, and brutal geopolitics, yet, as Susanna B. Hecht recounts, he by no means accomplished it—his wife’s lover shot him useless upon his go back.
At as soon as the biography of a unprecedented author, a masterly chronicle of the social, political, and environmental background of the Amazon, and an outstanding translation of the remainder items of da Cunha’s undertaking, The Scramble for the Amazon is a piece of exciting highbrow ambition.