In the Madre de Dios ("Mother of God") region of Peru, where the Amazon River begins, the cloud forests of the Andes converge with the lowland Amazon rainforest to create the most biodiverse place on the planet. In January 2006, Paul Rosolie, a restless eighteen-year-old hungry for adventure, embarked on a journey to the western Amazon that would transform his life.Read more...
In the Madre de Dios ("Mother of God") region of Peru, where the Amazon River begins, the cloud forests of the Andes converge with the lowland Amazon rainforest to create the most biodiverse place on the planet. In January 2006, Paul Rosolie, a restless eighteen-year-old hungry for adventure, embarked on a journey to the western Amazon that would transform his life.
Venturing alone into the most inaccessible reaches of the jungle, he encountered massive snakes, isolated tribes, prowling jaguars, giant anteaters, poachers trafficking in the black market of endangered species, and much more. He even discovered a new kind of ecosystem now known as a "floating forest." Yet today the primordial depths of the Madre de Dios are in grave danger.
In Mother of God, this explorer and conservationist relives his amazing odyssey to the heart of the wildest place on earth. As he delved deeper into his search for the secret Eden, spending extended periods in isolation, he found things he never imagined could exist. But as the legendary explorer Percy Fawcett warned, "The few remaining unknown places of the world exact a price for their secrets."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-01-27
- Reviewer: Staff
A young explorer finds his soul amid the trackless jungle in this rousing eco-adventure. Rosolie, a naturalist who runs (and subtly plugs) an eco-tourism outfit, recounts his exploits from the age of 18 when he escaped New Jersey and lit out for the Madre de Dios region of the Peruvian Amazon basin, a paradise of primeval forest and riotous wildlife. Mentored by an Indian family, then graduating to solo treks to remote uninhabited areas, he wrestles with giant anacondas, faces down crocodiles, tenderly parents an orphaned anteater, feels the presence of jaguars panting over him in the night, and edges towards an encounter with possibly murderous tribesmen. Along the way he battles poachers and sounds the alarm against civilized encroachments that are obliterating the world’s wildernesses. This is old-school nature writing, unabashedly romantic and free of alienation; the author foregrounds his drama of elemental self-discovery—“along the river-bank I ran, screaming at the storm to give me its worst, in adrenaline-induced madness”—and is forever gazing into the gorgeous eyes, and tragic spirits, of the critters he meets. Rosolie’s powers of description are so vivid and engrossing that readers will be swept along in his passion. Photos. (Mar. 18)
Into the heart of the Amazon
Because he seldom cites specific dates or alludes to what’s happening in the outside world as he’s prowling through the jungle in Peru, Paul Rosolie’s Mother of God: An Extraordinary Journey into the Uncharted Tributaries of the Western Amazon has a breathless, dream-like quality—a tone one might find in the journals of a relentlessly eager and factually retentive Boy Scout.
And that’s as it should be since Rosolie brings a romantic, rather than a scientific, sensibility to his travels—at least initially. At the beginning, he’s out for adventure, pure and simple, not for such pedestrian pursuits as discovering rare ore or cataloging medicinal plants. Early on, though, he’s quick to spot the encroachments of “civilization” on his newfound paradise—poachers, miners, loggers and road builders.
“What is it about our species,” he asks incredulously, “that allows us to watch sitcoms and argue over sports while cultures and creatures and those things meek and green and good are chopped, shot, and burned from the world for a buck?”
An indifferent student, Rosolie was always a lover of the outdoors. He made his first foray into the Amazon in 2006, when he was 18, and instantly felt a part of that exotic environment. This book, his first, chronicles his many journeys into the jungle and his side trips to India, where he meets the woman he’ll marry. Not surprisingly, they bond over their mutual love of snakes.
Rosolie is a gripping storyteller who takes us along as he wrestles giant anacondas, stares closely into the eyes of a wounded jaguar and, on a solitary journey into the deepest reaches of the jungle, encounters what may have been a previously undiscovered tribe (from which he prudently runs away).
Rosolie’s enthusiasm for the wilderness and his ability to convey it poetically makes him an exceedingly persuasive advocate for conserving what’s left of the natural world.