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Item #: BK358-948
ONE RIVER: EXPLORATIONS IN THE AMAZON RAIN FOREST Wade Davis 1996 1st ed Hardcover DJ Near Fine
By Davis, Wade
Price: $35.00


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New York, 1996, 1st edition. 537 pp, photos. Hardcover with dust jacket. Jacket has minor chip and book has former owner's gift inscription on FEP. Near Fine.

I consider this book an important and very readable story. It consists of multiple stories of a true adventure, searching legally for the Coca plants, and researching native use of hallucinogenic drugs, plus the history of sourcing rubber from its original habitat. I found it so enjoyable that, as of 2021, I have read it three times! (M. Chessler) 

Several amazing tales of adventure, including the great plant explorer Richard Schultes who discovered hundreds of new species, including hallucinogens, and the author, who also lived for years in the Amazon among native tribes.  

The prodigious biological and cultural riches of the vast Amazon rain forest are being lost at a horrendous rate, according to the author, often without yielding their secrets to the Western world. During his years in the South American jungle, ethnobotanist Davis (The Serpent and the Rainbow) has done much to preserve some of these treasures. 

He tells two entwined tales here his own explorations in the '70s and those of his mentor, the great Harvard ethnobotanist Richard Evans Schultes, beginning in the '30s. Both men have been particularly interested in the psychoactive and medicinal properties of the plants of the Amazon basin and approach their subject with a reverence for the cultural context in which the plants are used.

The contrasting experiences of two explorers, a mere generation apart, starkly demonstrates how much has already been destroyed in the rain forest. Although Schultes probably knew more about Amazonian plants than any Western scientist, he was constantly learning of new ones and new uses for them from native experts. Davis graphically describes the brutal clash of cultures from Columbian times to the present, often so devastating for indigenous peoples, that has defined this region. At times humorous, at times depressing, this is a consistently enlightening and thought-provoking study.

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