Wild Coast

Wild Coast

Travels on South America's Untamed Edge

Book - 2012
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Dolman Travel Book of the Year 2012 Between the Orinoco and the Amazon lies a fabulous forested land, barely explored. Much of Guiana seldom sees sunlight, and new species are often tumbling out of the dark trees. Shunned by the conquistadors, it was left to others to carve into colonies. Guyana, Suriname and Guyane Fran#65533;aise are what remain of their contest, and the 400 years of struggle that followed.Now, award-winning author John Gimlette sets off along this coast, gathering up its astonishing story. His journey takes him deep into the jungle, from the hideouts of runaway slaves to penal colonies, outlandish forts, remote Amerindian villages, a 'Little Paris' and a space port. He meets rebels, outlaws and sorcerers; follows the trail of a vicious Georgian revolt, and ponders a love-affair that changed the face of slavery. Here too is Jonestown, where, in 1978, over 900 Americans, members of Reverend Jones's cult, committed suicide. The last traces are almost gone now, as the forest closes in.Beautiful, bizarre and occasionally brutal, this is one of the great forgotten corners of the Earth: the Wild Coast.
Publisher: London : Profile, 2012.
Edition: Rev. ed.
ISBN: 9781846682537
1846682533
Characteristics: 358 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. (some col.), facsims, maps, ports. (some col.) ; 20 cm.

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patcarstensen
Jun 29, 2017

It's a fun look at geography and history they never quite got to when you took these subjects in school.

BostonPL_LauraB May 16, 2017

This was the perfect blend of travelogue and history about region I knew absolutely nothing about (except for the mass suicide in Jonestown). I very much enjoyed the way in which this story was told and therefore I have added more of his books to my list, especially since he seems to do countries/regions oft-forgotten.

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santiano9
Aug 20, 2016

Enjoyed this book very much. Gave me great insight into a part of the world I will never visit. Recommended.

ChristchurchLib Aug 12, 2013

"At the top of South America, between Venezuela and Brazil, most of the citizens of three countries - Guyana (previously British Guiana), Suriname (formerly Dutch Guiana), and French Guiana - live in coastal towns along the 900-mile shoreline. Their fellow citizens make their homes in the jungle that starts about 10 miles inland. Due to their geography, the countries are part of but somewhat separate from South America (they are also the only mainland countries on the continent that never belonged to Spain or Portugal). Recounting his travels around the Guianas, John Gimlette evocatively and entertainingly describes the land's violent history, its amazing insects (the biggest ants in the world live here!), its forbidding landscape, and the people who call it home. Humourous yet full of facts and information, Wild Coast may please J. Maarten Troost's many fans." August 2013 Armchair Travel newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=664860

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ididarodkid
Jun 17, 2012

If you have interest to explore areas of this world that are not 'in the news', this is a book you might appreciate. The diversification of the population of this area, and how it all seems to 'hum' along is testament to how people can disagree, dislike, and still forge a life. The very need of food, shelter, and the relief that entertainment provides dictates a certain amount of interaction and tolerance.

The history is a tapestry woven from the past to produce the existence today where old grudges and taboos still exist along with TV and mobile phones. The simplicity of it all seems to make it all work one way or another.

While the book in some ways is overly long in history, it does tie the past and the present and one is left with the wonder of just how this seemingly dysfunctional region seems to survive in a perplexing manner. And for all the lack, for me, at least, there is a small envy for that childlike naivete, trust and acceptance of what is that we sometimes lack.

Just to be transported to a life style born of the many countries exploring, fighting and controlling a region, is to be a lesson in history and consequences. The people who were a part of this beg admiration of spirit, but wonder of what made them tick.

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