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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

4.9 out of 5 stars 114 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

I have only had the privilege of traveling with Amazonia Expeditions once, but Paul Beaver's tales of the jungle remind me to search my photo albums and plan for the day I can return to the wild and untamed lands he describes in DIARY OF AN AMAZON JUNGLE GUIDE. Trying to classify this book as a work of literary excellence would only be doing it an injustice. Although the scientist shows through, the science never overwhelms. DIARY is a fascinating glimpse into a hidden world that makes one feel as though you've just stepped off a river boat at Iquitos, exhausted, but filled with the wonders of nature and good friendships. DIARY OF AN AMAZON JUNGLE GUIDE is an insightful and real-world thrilling read. You'll reach for the bug spray more than once while perusing this down-to-earth accounting of life in one of nature's most wonderous of wonderlands. --John Warmus, author<br /><br />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

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

Paul Beaver received his doctorate from the University of Chicago in 1976 and taught at the University of Washington and Purdue University. He has worked and explored the western forests of the Amazon for 29 years. Beaver currently is operations manager of Yale University's Tahuayo River Amazon Research Center and operates an ecotourism company, Amazonia Expeditions.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 313 pages
  • Publisher: AE Publications (October 31, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0972480919
  • ISBN-13: 978-0972480918
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (114 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #710,888 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a must read for anybody headed for the rainforest, or even just dreaming about it.

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.
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Format: Paperback
It would be extremely hard to finish reading "Diary of an Amazon Jungle Guide" By Dr. Paul Beaver and not want to immediately prepare to leave for Peru. At least it had that impact upon me.

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.

Fred Wales
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Format: Paperback
Anyone interested in adventure or reaching another level of consciousness MUST read this book. I first visited Paul Beaver's Amazonia Expeditions 15 years ago and never forgot the healing effect the jungle had on me. Paul's book brought it all back, including the dangerous Chontilla palm's spikes which lodged in my hand, searching for the illusive Hoatzin bird, or swimming with Piranha fish. This book so emphatically reminded me of the gentle souls who inhabit this part of the globe. Society today cannot comrehend how a simple people can survive and be happy with so little of what we declare as a necessity. Some books are a "page-turner" but with this book, I found myself reading a little and then pondering the experience. I could not just race through it. Diary Of An Amazon Jungle Guide is a powerfully written experience inviting the reader to smell, taste, hear and see life being lived to the fullest. If you want to grow on any level, read the book then book a trip.
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.....
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dr. Beaver's book is a MUST read if you plan to go into the Amazon. I highly recommend going through HIS business, Amazonia Expeditions. They will give you a first class experience at a very fair price, and the guides are INCREDIBLE and well-compensated. If you want to know what it's like to visit the Amazon rainforest without leaving home, THIS is the book for you, but it will make you want to go there. There are some typos (publisher's fault), and the writing, while solid, might have been edited a bit more closely (again, publishers employ professional editors for this kind of stuff), but this is a great read, and well worth the investment in time and money.
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