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Diary of an Amazon Jungle Guide: Amazing Encounters with Tropical Nature and Culture. Expanded and Revised Edition Paperback – October 31, 2008
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Your book is fantastic! Just socko. Great quotes. Great scenes. Packed with excitement, I could not put it down until I finished. Your command of natural history combined with deep and lasting friendships with local people give this page turner great depth as well as breadth. --Sy Montgomery, author
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Paul Beaver begins by relating his own personal journey, from Springfield MA, to academia and biological field research, to launching an adventure touring company in Iquitos, Peru, marrying a local woman and building a tourist jungle lodge.
But the heart of the book is a series of chapters that focus on a specific camping expedition in remote jungle, where knowledgeable and colorful native guides (including a local shaman) lead naive tourists on their adventure of a lifetime. Every group has has some fascinating, hilarious and/or hair-raising (often all three at once) encounters with local critters -- and with each other. Along the way, Beaver, a PhD biologist by training, pauses to explain a bit about the plants and animals involved, as well as the local cultures. It's so interwoven, the reader barely notices that he/she is getting an introduction to rainforest ecology and local anthropology.
Throughout, the author shows self-deprecating humor, humility and deep respect for local knowledge and culture, without romanticizing either. In passing, he movingly notes the tragic one-two punch that has been delivered to indigenous cultures and habitat, first by profiteering rubber and oil companies who carve roads and exploit native labor, followed by soul-saving missionaries seeking to "civilize" tribal people and stamp out traditional customs.
Beaver is a good storyteller, with great stories to tell. Sure, a strong copy editor could have polished the writing a bit here and there, but frankly the rough edges just reinforce the feeling that this is "the real thing;" you can feel the "thud" of authencity. It's an an honest, compassionate memoir that belongs on the bookshelf of everyone who loves outdoor adventure.
The blending of several levels of explanations in such an engaging manner makes the book special. It is, as the title states, a sort of condensed diary while also being a very practical jungle guide and scientific discussion of the rainforest. The book is light enough to keep the average reader's attention and still convey important information to those contemplating a visit to the rainforest. You get the feeling of having traveled along with some of the key participants mentioned in the text. When I tumbled off a slippery log into a mud pit up to my armpits, I was able to recall "Paul's kind of tourist" who did not flinch when a tarantula leapt onto her face. Not knowing who might be sharing my mud berth with me I was able to calmly keep smiling, as a result of recalling that particular passage, while Josias helped extract me.
It is possible that some of the experiences related would put off some people from wanting to travel in the Amazon Basin. But it is also probably a good idea to raise the issues that could happen in order to weed out those that are obviously not fit mentally or physically for such an adventure. At least the reader can make an informed decision.
Inclusion of an orientation map of the areas discussed in the book would have appealed to me. I found it hard to find a map of suitable scale to be able to follow the discussions in the book. I found the index to be especially helpful. The book is an outstanding read for anyone and a good way to explain the reality and importance of the rainforests.
Because this Diary reminded me of my past experience I am returning to Amazonia this year. Only this time I will give back to the people of the river. I will have art classes for the children. Paul Beaver, thank you for sharing your most intimate experiences and not witholding for the sake of publication. A MUST READ.....
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I had the pleasure of travelling with Paul's organization in May of this year with my son - and we read Paul's book before our departure. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Nirvaan Meharchand
Outstanding Book ! Extremely educational and great stories to learn from. Paul does an amazing job organizing great adventures and organizing so many years of experience into... Read morePublished 1 month ago by laurence j martin
This book takes you on an adventure! Follow the story of a man who went from being a college professor in the United States to guiding people through the Amazon Rainforest! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Edward Yount
Wonderful read! So much information about the Amazon delivered with delightful humor. Learning has never been so much fun! A MUST read if you are planning on visiting the region.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I will be staying at Paul Beaver's Amazon lodge in August and like others was encouraged to read his book. What a great read! Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
I am only half way through this and I can hardly put it down. Great read!Published 4 months ago by ERIC H.
I bought this book in preparation for a trip to the Amazon and as I read it my enthusiasm and excited grew with every story. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
Paul Beaver's book about his Amazonia adventures while guiding tourists in the jungle is cleverly written with humor and passion while educating the reader about the diversity of... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Sandy
What a delightful book! Whether you are heading to the lodge for a week (as I am) or reading it for pleasure, it is informative, humorous and an easy read. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer