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A Land of Ghosts

Year

2014

Language

ENGLISH

Publication Information

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Summary

The biologist and award-winning author journeys deep inside the Amazon rainforest in this eloquent and insightful look at one of earth's last wild places. For thirty years, biologist David G. Campbell has been exploring the lush wilderness, of the western Amazon, which contains more species than ever existed anywhere on our planet. In A Land of Ghosts, Campbell takes readers on his latest venture. In Cruzeiro do Sul, 2,800 miles from the mouth of the Amazon, Campbell collects three old friends: Arito, a caiman hunter turned paleontologist; Tarzan, a street urchin brought up in a bordello; and Pimentel, a master canoe pilot. Heading further into the rainforest, they survey every living woody plant they can find. The land is so rich that an area of less than fifty acres contains three times as many tree species as all of North America. Campbell knows the trees individually, and he knows the wildlife and the people as well: the recently arrived colonists with their failing farms; the Caboclos, masters of hunting, fishing, and survival; and the refugee Native Americans. These people live in a land whose original inhabitants were wiped out by centuries of disease, slavery, and genocide, taking their traditions and languages with them: a land of ghosts.

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