An account of a perilous 3600-mile journey made in February 1993 - without compass or map - across the vast Amazon Basin, from the Andes of north-west South America through the tropical jungles of the lowlands to the dense forests of the Mato Grosso in Brazil. In all his explorations of exotic places - Papua New Guinea, Sumatra, Venezuela - Benedict Allen has deliberately immersed himself in the life of tribal peoples, and learnt their techniques for survival. His plan in setting out to cross the Amazon Basin was to place his life in the hands of the remote Matses, the "jaguar people" - Indians who aspired to the grace and strength of the powerful cat, tattooing their faces with jaguar stripes and placing bamboo spikes in their noses to resemble whiskers. From the foothills of the Ecuadorian volcano Cotopaxi he descended into Columbia and "forbidden" cocaine traffickers' country. Eluding a hitman from a drug gang, he entered Peru and, travelling mostly by canoe, made contact with the shy and elusive Matses. For two months he was taught how to make hunting traps and learnt the properties of plants. Then Benedict, jokingly dubbed "The Man Without Fear" by the Indians, had to put his newly-acquired knowledge to the test. What follows is a dramatic and often desperate journey through uncharted terrain. Abandoned by local guides, robbed of his vital machete by gold miners, barefoot and alone, he finally emerged from the forest with little more than his hat, trousers and a ragged shirt. The last man to attempt the crossing (Colonel Percy Fawcett in 1925) was never seen again.
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Benedict Allen's enthralling account of his 3600-mile journey from the Andes of Ecuador and Peru to the dense forests of the Mato Grosso confirms him as one of our most intrepid explorers. By placing his life in the hands of a remote tribe and learning the intimate ways of the rain forest, he acquires the skills to pass the supreme survival test.
'Benedict Allen's adventurous travelogue records his attempt to become the first white man to cross the Amazon at its widest point. Travelling by canoe and on foot, living on his wits and a fistful of dollars, he takes up the trail of explorer Colonel Fawcett who set off in 1925 and has not been seen since. En route, Allen encounters the Matsés – the jaguar people – and experiences enlightenment under the influence of a hallucinogenic drug administered nasally by his shaman … Allen reveals himself to be a true descendant of Fawcett, he's an Englishman abroad, espousing the virtue of standing on your own two feet.'
'For hotter reading, top travel book is Benedict Allen's 'Through Jaguar Eyes' … Is the man a nutcase? Probably, but for wimps like me … he's a hero. Poisonous snakes, electric eels, drug traffickers – Allen encounters them all. Hats off to him.'
VAL HENNESSY, 'Daily Mail'
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Book Description HARPERCOLLINS, 1994. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0002551934