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Spirit of the Rainforest: A Yanomamo Shaman's Story Paperback – June, 1996

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 271 pages
  • Publisher: Island Lake Pr (June 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0964695219
  • ISBN-13: 978-0964695214
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,620,032 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This is simply one of the most interesting books I have ever read.
I have much earlier read Chagnon's text, and this text in my mind and from my limited experience provides a credible and illuminating back story to what I read there.
Steven P. Spinella
Jungleman, a former shaman, speaks for himself and his people and shows us the difference between the spirits of shamanism and the great spirit, the God of the Bible.
Alan Galloway

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 79 people found the following review helpful By David Marshall on September 24, 2001
Format: Paperback
I received this book in the mail one day earlier this month, and finished it by about the same time the next day -- despite the fact that I had three 90 minute college classes to teach, and needed to prepare for a trip to Taiwan. It was that good, and that aweful.
I had devoured a good chunk of the book by the time I turned on my computer and learned the terrible news from New York. I kept reading; there seemed to be a connection. The book is an absolutely mind-blower of a story, but if we were to translate the events it describes into a thesis, one sub-point of that thesis would be: "Mass murder and sincere spirituality are not mutually exclusive, by any means." As Ritchie put it, "(Ex-shaman and Yamomamo Indian Shoefoot) has no problem understanding the Columbine High School massacre or any other killing spree. The spirits of anger and hatred that own and drive a person are spirits he has known personally." It occured to me that we have the same choice as confronts the "converted" village in this book: to seek justice with mercy and caution, and danger to ourselves, or to pass on forgiveness and descend to the level of our enemies. While in Taiwan, I was asked to speak about the relationship between Christianity and Islam, and found myself wishing I'd brought the book along. Jungleman puts so many things so well.
This is not a book you want to read your children to sleep by. It might not even work for your church (still less, coven) book-of-the-month club. Besides being full of violence, its message will be a challenge to skeptics and those who are attracted to the occult. But anyone who is untouched by it, by the pain, beauty, pathos, irony, and danger of being human that it reveals, of living in a spiritual jungle as responsible beings, must have a heart of stone.
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46 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 24, 1998
Format: Paperback
The 16,000 Yanomamo people are depicted as the most primitive, most violent, and most famous tribal society in the Amazon. Popularized by the most widely read book in the history of anthropology (*Yanomamo: The Fierce People*, by Napoleon Chagnon), these people are today suffering excruciating problems from gold miners and newly introduced diseases. Major debates have raged among anthropologists, and between anthropologists and missionaries, for 20 years over the "truth" of the Yanomamo culture. Do they live a wonderful life in a beautiful rain-forest Eden, as Chagnon implies in his 1992 book, *The Last Days of Eden*, or do they live in fear and misery as some missionaries say?
Perhaps we should ask that question to the Yanomamo themselves, rather than to the anthropologists or the missionaries. Who does speak for the Yanomamo, anyway? Here, for the first time, author Mark Richie allows the Yanomamo to speak for themselves to us. This is truly "a Yanomamo shaman's story," as the book's subtitle says. It is the autobiography of a Yanomamo shaman-chief named Jungleman. He, at least, is weary of his violent society, and fed-up with the anthropologists, too.
Anyone who thinks the Yanomamo culture is idyllic must be a male: The women live in chronic danger of gang-rapes, savage beatings by their husbands, and kidnapping. And men suffer one of the highest homicide rates in the world from the frequent raiding between villages. If you think it's a romantic way of life, why don't you try it?
Non-specialists in Amazonian anthropology may be skeptical of Jungleman's descriptions of the sexual customs of a European anthropologist who the Yanomamo call "Ass Handler." A.H.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By D. Taylor on February 22, 2006
Format: Paperback
As someone who has studied anthropology and the Yanomomo people, I found Spirit of the Rainforest extremely well written and informative. The first hand accounts of village life from the lips of the shaman Jungleman are riveting and astounding. The very dramatic effects, both positive and negative, of both missionaries and anthropologists on their primitive culture is an eye opener. Ritchey does a great job of keeping his accounts objective. While Jungleman's stories certainly make a strong case for the reality of the spiritual realm as taught in Judeo-Christian circles, this book is certainly not preachy or some ill-concieved proslytizing tool. It simply tells the truth as the Yanomomo see it. And that truth will open your eyes to a supernatural reality that exists all around us, whether you choose to believe it or not. I highly recommend this book, to anthropology students and people interested in unique cultures, as well as those with questions about the spirit world.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Stephen M. Keohane on April 22, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book contains some disturbingly gruesome details of real wars the Yanomamo tribes of the Amazon had with one another.... It is never-the-less an awesome look into the world of evil deceiving spirits who fight for the souls of these indians and who "quake" at even the thought of Jesus, and who the Yanomamos
shamans caught lying about Jesus. The Indians know Jesus as "Yai Pada" and the Father, who they call "Yai Wana Naba Laywa". They knew of Jesus before the first white man came. The evil Spirits only wanted to lead these Indians to a life of war and revenge. Which reminds me about what Father Amorth a Catholic Exorcist wrote about these demons: "I have heard demons tell me many times that they suffer more during exorcisms than in hell. When I ask "Why don't you go to hell, then?" they answer, "Because we are only interested in making this person suffer."
Jungleman the Shaman wrote: "I wish I had known the truth about Yai Wana Naba Laywa when I was a young man--it would have saved me so much pain and misery. But how could I? My spirits lied so much to me and tricked me. They were so beautiful, so wonderful, so hard not to want. They were the best at telling me split-truth. Now I'm at the end of this life, and I'm ready to begin my real life with Yai Pada."
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