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In Amazonia: A Natural History

By: Hugh Raffles (Author)

302 pages, B/w photos, 3 maps

Princeton University Press

Paperback | Dec 2002 | #136730 | ISBN: 0691048851
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NHBS Price: £26.95 $33/€30 approx
Hardback | Dec 2002 | #136731 | ISBN: 0691048843
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About this book

Raffles draws from a wide range of material to demonstrate that the region is an outcome of the intimately intertwined histories of humans and nonhumans. Casting new light on centuries of encounter, Raffles moves between a detailed narrative that analyzes the production of scientific knowledge about Amazonia over the centuries and an absorbing account of the extraordinary transformations to the fluvial landscape carried out over the past forty years by the inhabitants of Igarapé Guariba, four hours downstream from the nearest city.

"A new classic of the Amazon [...] In a sweeping panorama of the history of the Amazon [...] Raffles impresses with his enormous scholarship and lyrical language [...] [T]he range of Raffles's knowledge is exquisitely broad. What we thought we knew of the Amazon and the reasons for its devastation will forever be changed by this rapturous soliloquy on the region."

"[It draws] upon a range of literature not typical of Amazonian studies. Specialists and general readers will appreciate the scope."
– Stephen Nugent, Journal of Latin American Studies

"A central challenge in studies of the Amazon region is apprehending its social and natural diversity. This book is amongst the most readable and penetrating analyses we have [...] The tension between being in a place and always on the move, between dissolution and creation, are ambiguities this book manages to capture with deftness and subtlety. It would have been enough to write about this in one locality, but to have done so connecting up various places and people, and across time transforms the argument into a major achievement."
– Mark Harris, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

"Without question this is the best book about the Amazon I have read in many years. It is a major contribution to the literature (in every sense) of the region, to the history and sociology of science, and to anthropology in general. Solid, beautifully written, beautifully judged and paced, it has a great deal to offer those knowing everything or nothing about the Amazon."
– David Cleary, Amazon Program Manager, The Nature Conservancy, author of Anatomy of the Amazon Gold Rush

"Thoroughly researched and very riveting, In Amazonia is a lovely blend of personal experience and historical commentary about the making of place both in physical and ideological terms. Very rich theoretically, its lively and witty prose is mercifully leached of post-modern, post-colonial jargon, making it both accessible and clear. Not only will this book leap to the forefront of Amazonian analyses but it will certainly take its pride of place in studies of tropical development, ideologies of nature, and the history of ideas about the environment and tropical representation."
– Susanna Hecht, University of California, Los Angeles


CHAPTER 1. In Amazonia 1
CHAPTER 2. Dissolution of the Elements12The Floodplain, 11,000 BP-2002
CHAPTER 3. In the Flow of Becoming 44
Igarapé Guariba, 1941-1996
CHAPTER 4. A Countrey Never Sackt 75
Guiana, 1587-1631
CHAPTER 5. The Uses of Butterflies 114
Bates of the Amazons, 1848-1859
CHAPTER 6. The Dreamlife of Ecology 150
South Pará, 1999
CHAPTER 7. Fluvial Intimacies 180
Amapá, 1995-1996

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Hugh Raffles is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

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