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Tree of Rivers

The Story of the Amazon

Mr John Hemming

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A thrilling account of the Amazon region and the explorers, botanists, anthropologists and entrepreneurs who have both exploited and explained its fascinating diversity

Also available as an eBook from iTunes, Amazon


Amazonia contains by far the world’s largest river and the greatest expanse of tropical rain forest, home to the most luxuriant biological diversity on the planet. Tree of Rivers brilliantly explains why the rain forest is crucial for our planet’s survival, and vividly describes the passionate struggles that have taken place to utilize, protect and understand it. John Hemming’s thrilling account recalls the adventures and misadventures of intrepid explorers, Jesuits and the rubber barons who enslaved thousands of Indians. It also tells of 19th-century botanists, humanitarians and advocates for Indian rights, as well as the archaeologists and anthropologists who have uncovered the secrets of early man here. Hemming also describes the Amazon’s flora, fauna and natural beauty, all now under threat as the forests are destroyed to feed our appetite for timber, beef and soya.


'Everything you ever wanted to know about the biggest and most important environment left on earth, and a rattling good yarn at the same time'

'John Hemming's loving knowledge of the Amazon's forests and tribes is compelling … his passionate storytelling sweeps you on like the irresistible river itself'
Financial Times Magazine

'The book is a tour de force, nearly as rich and fascinating as the place itself'
New Scientist

'At last, a book about the Amazon that generates more light than hot air … a book written from the heart and the head … lucid and learned … the definitive single-volume work on the subject'
Daily Telegraph

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Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback

Size: 23.5 x 17.2 cm

Extent: 368 pp

Illustrations: 70

Publication date: 9 November 2009

ISBN: 9780500288207

Contents List

1. Arrival of Strangers • 2. Anarchy on the Amazon • 3. The Empty River • 4. Directorate to Cabanagem • 5. A Naturalist’s Paradise • 6. The Rubber Boom • 7. The Black Side of Rubber • 8. Explorers and Indians • 9. Archaeologists Find Early Man • 10. Planes, Chainsaws and Bulldozers • 11. The Largest River in the Largest Forest

About the Author

John Hemming was Director of the Royal Geographical Society for over twenty years. He has travelled extensively in the Amazon region, where he experienced many of the same thrills and hardships as the naturalists featured in this book. He was awarded Peru’s highest civil decoration, the Grand Cross of the Order of Merit.