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Jungleland Hardcover – January 8, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 263 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1st Printing edition (January 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061802549
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061802546
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (119 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #783,713 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Reminiscent of Turn Right at Machu Picchu, by Mark Adams (2011), in which a New York journalist experienced all manner of mishap and misery while trekking to a remote pre-Columbian city, Stewart’s chronicle relates his 2008 odyssey to Honduras. He sought a place of rumored existence called the White City, with which he became obsessed upon learning that, in 1940, colorful adventurer Theodore Morde announced its discovery, though he kept proprietarily circumspect about its exact location. Morde then became an OSS agent but never returned to Honduras. With the assistance of Morde’s journal, an experienced American archaeologist, and local Honduran guides, Stewart sallied forth for the tropical forest where lurked the White City. Rutted roads, torrential rivers, and steep mountains interposed, battering the author’s confidence in carrying on, but the narrative must, and he did, reaching in a state of exhaustion a site that might or might not have been the White City. Wryly self-critical, Stewart entertains vicarious explorers about a journey that was better in the abstract than in actuality. --Gilbert Taylor

Review

“A fascinating and gripping account, a true to life Indiana Jones adventure.” (Douglas Preston)

“This stunning book takes you deep into the jungles of Honduras, telling a story that explains all of Europe’s adventures on this side of the world: the quest for a lost city full of gold, a search that, in theend, reveals the treasure to be the journey itself. ” (Rich Cohen)

“A bold attempt to solve the mystery of the White City of Honduras and finish the work of a World War II spy.… a rip-snorting journey… Readers who loved ‘The Lost City of Z’ have found their next great true adventure.” (Mitchell Zuckoff)

“A tale for the ages.” (Mark Adams)

“I dare you to put this book down.” (Evan Wright)

“A great revival of an older genre, the treasure hunt, and associated adventures.” (Kirkus)

“The premise is so fantastic that if Jungleland were a novel, you could be forgiven for worrying that it might be a bit pulpy or clichéd…The fact that this is all true turns the story from one of intrigue and odyssey into one of anthropological significance as well.” (Daily Beast)

“The true story [of] Jungleland resembles nothing so much as the set-up for one of H. Rider Haggard’s old pulp adventure novels.…Stewart is a crisp, lean, colorful stylist, with that essential knack: a nose for punchy, telling anecdotes and images…great fun to read.” (Laura Miller, Salon)

“[T]his is a gritty, remarkable tale of exploration and risk in a nervy trek to the edge of civilization.” (Publisher's Weekly (Starred Review))

More About the Author

Christopher S. Stewart's first book, Hunting the Tiger, told the story of Zeljko Arkan Raznatovic, the Serbian warlord at the center of the 1990s Balkan wars. It was published by St. Martin's Press in 2008.

Jungleland, his second book, was published by Harper Collins in January 2013.

Currently, he is a writer and editor at the Wall Street Journal.

His work has also appeared in GQ, Harper's, the New York Times Magazine, New York, Paris Review, Wired, and other publications.

Earlier, he served as deputy editor at the New York Observer and is a former contributing editor at Conde Nast Portfolio, where, among other things, he wrote about the Unification Church's gun business and corruption in Iraq.

He lives with his family in New York.

Want more info? Follow Christopher on Twitter at @csstewart. Or please visit his author page on Facebook, or his website www.christophersstewart.com.

Customer Reviews

So I loved the historical connections in this book.
rjam2
The book alternates, chapter-by-chapter, between Stewart's journey into the Honduran jungle, and that of Theodore Morde, a WWII spy and adventurer.
Richard Rothaus
This story had so much potential to be good and it's just too bad that what I will remember about it is the author's constant complaining.
Gordon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Linda Linguvic HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Subtitled "A Mysterious Lost City, A WWII Spy, and a True Story of Deadly Adventure, this is the story of how the author, who lives in Brooklyn with his wife and young daughter, decided to spend a month in the jungles of Honduras in search of a lost city. This book is the result of is his modern-day journey using the diary notes of an explorer who had gone before.

There is a lot of discomfort from the very beginning, especially his discomfort from being away from his family, but he keeps going in spite of the blisters on his feet, the extreme heat, the distrust he feels for his guides and the world of the hot steaming jungle.

In between the chapters of his personal experience is the diary of the early explorer who trekked this jungle in the 1940's.

I should have loved this book because I am at heart an armchair traveler but I found myself slightly bored and especially was turned off by all his whining about missing his Brooklyn family. When he returned after a month in the jungle I personally breathed a sigh of relief that I finished the book even though I must give credit where credit is due because I learned more about Honduras, its people and its climate than I ever thought I wanted to know.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Cathy G. Cole TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
First Line: The man called himself Rana, or Frog.

Armed with a World War II spy's personal notebooks and the mysterious coordinates carved into the man's walking stick, journalist Christopher S. Stewart goes to Honduras to see if he can do what the spy (Theodore Morde) claimed he did in 1940: find the Ciudad Blanca-- the white city of gold hidden deep in the rain forest of the Mosquito Coast, one of the wildest places on Earth. What the journalist would learn is that the journey itself oftentimes is more important than reaching a destination.

Alternating chapters tell us of Stewart, a New Yorker with a bad back and no fondness for camping or hiking, who decides to go off on this adventure even though there's political unrest in the area. Compared with the chapters on him, the ones about Theodore Morde sound like Indiana Jones. Morde was a seasoned amateur when he set out through the jungle in 1940. He'd already circled the globe five times and covered the Spanish Civil War with Ernest Hemingway and George Orwell. After claiming that he had found Ciudad Blanca, Morde would go on to become a spy during World War II and attempt to assassinate Hitler.

I found this book to be uneven. As long as the author focused on Morde and Morde's expedition or on the facts of his own, I found it very interesting. However, Stewart's attempt to show The More Sensitive Side of Explorer Man sounded too much like whining. Blisters, rain, heat, missing his family, listening to his wife whine about things she should have been able to take care of in his absence... these things all brought the enjoyment factor down further and further for me.

If you like finite results in books like this, you may want to rethink reading this book.
Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Lew Craig on March 5, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Chris Stewart decided he wanted to leave the security of life in Brooklyn and hunt for a lost city in Honduras. Obviously the trip was an adventure for him, but reading it was not a good vicarious adventure. To summarize his story, it is tramp through the jungle, endure all kinds of physical pain and frustration, miss the fam, see some indigenous people and wonder if you found the lost city. It's not that it's boring, it's just not very interesting.

As a side story, Stewart alternated chapters with the story of an adventurer who tried to do the same thing 70 years earlier. The second story was a bit more interesting, but not much. Had Stewart's book just been about the other guy, Morde, it would have been better. Morde lived quite a fascinating life. Better yet, if a novel had been written about Morde it might have been terrific, but I'm not sure Stewart is the writer to do it. Stewart's writing is good, but the cover come on "... a WWII Spy" and mention of an Indiana Jones type individual were pure hype. I felt ripped off by this book.

Stewart should have stayed in Brooklyn and sought adventure across the river in the jungle that is Manhattan. I've spent some time in Manhattan and it is a fascinating place. As an old movie said, "There are a million stories in Manhattan..." I also think Stewart should have stayed with his wife and daughter, but then I think there are plenty bugs, sweat and snakes of Southern Louisiana. And the natives are fascinating!
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Big Dave on March 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book advertises itself as being an Indiana Jones-like adventure. That might be true, if Indiana Jones were a self-conscious Brooklyn writer trying to get through an impending mid-life crisis by identifying with and projecting his own experiences on a dead spy, going on a rough camping trip in which lots of really scary men DON'T attack him, and ultimately concluding that the fabled artifact and object of his quest didn't actually exist, but was important as a metaphor.

Otherwise, not so much.

Meh.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Rick Mitchell VINE VOICE on October 25, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I always want to learn something from non-fiction. At the very least, it should be interesting. Unfortunately, I didn't learn much from this and it was not very interesting. In 1940, an explore named Morde, went looking for the mythical "White City" in the jungles of Honduras. A few years ago, the author also went looking for it. There was not much interesting about why they looked for this city - just that it was supposed to be deep in the jungle and there was superstition among the natives about it. In 1940 the jungle was dangerous, being unexplored, filled with snakes and bandits. The same was true 70 years later when the author went.

The explorer eventually found a the ruins of an ancient city that was probably not the "White City", but he found it after he decided to get the heck out of the jungle. The author found the same ancient city after he decided to get the heck out of Dodge also. Neither spent more than a day or two exploring the city they found.

Morde, returned to a country nearly at war. He hitched up with the OSS and ended up for a brief time in Turkey - none of that is relevant at all, but I guess 10 or so pages was needed to reach the desired length.

There is nothing awful about this book. There just really isn't anything to it. In alternating chapters the author tracks Morde and his own trek. I kept waiting for something to happen or to learn something of note I had not known before (except this particular "el Dorado" has been sought), but - nothing.

This was a disappointing book.
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