The Enchanted Amazon Rain Forest by Nigel J.H. Smith
Stories from a Vanishing World

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Synopsis

"A masterpiece. . . . In beautiful and readable prose, the author has deftly shown how folk beliefs, myths, and superstitions regulate lives and activities in primitive societies and how they often contribute to environmental conservation."--Richard Evans Schultes, Harvard Botanical Museum
"This marvelous book, written in an engaging style, reveals the richness of caboclo folklore and, in doing so, unveils the complexity and nuances of the caboclo way of life. . . . wonderful descriptions and accounts of folk beliefs, the entire cast of spirit beings that dwell in the imagination of the people and inform their lives."--Wade Davis, Caribbean Institute of Anthropology and Sociology, Caracas, Venezuela
Concern mounts daily about the fate of fragile tropical forests and their indigenous people. This original collection of the folklore of peasants living in the Amazon basin, who regard their environment with awe and respect, focuses on the significance of myths and legends as a message of conservation.
 Compiled during Nigel Smith's quarter-century of fieldwork in Amazonia, the stories reflect the resilient culture of millions of small farmers, hunters, and fisherfolk along the region's waterways and pioneer roads. Their lore is an intriguing blend of indigenous, European, and African religious beliefs spanning all aspects of daily life and including a wide assortment of ghosts, monsters, and enchanted places.
 Many legends were conceived to entertain audiences with colorful and inspiring stories; indirectly, they serve to relieve some of the pressure on animal and plant life--for example, excessive greed when harvesting forest products, hunting, or fishing can provoke the ire and punishment of supernatural game wardens. Pugnacious black sows, giant white dogs, and three-legged cows affect the fates of other transgressors.
 As a backdrop to the tales, Smith provides information on the flora and fauna of the area, on the geographical and historical setting, and in particular on the problems of rainforest conservation. All is not lost, he says. Young people in rural areas still recount tales of spirit protectors, and the region is experiencing a revival of traditional cultural practices.
 With its intimate photographs, also by Nigel Smith, this book will appeal to the general public as well as to ecologists, anthropologists, botanists, natural historians, and all others working in the Amazon Basin.
Nigel J. H. Smith is professor of geography at the University of Florida. He is the author or coauthor of ten books, including Floods of Fortune: Ecology and Economy along the Amazon; Amazonia: Resiliency and Dynamism of the Land and Its People; Tropical Forests and Their Crops; Rainforest Corridors; and Man, Fishes, and the Amazon.
 

About Nigel J.H. Smith

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Romance author Jayne Ann Krentz was born in Borrego Springs, California on March 28, 1948. She received a B.A. in history from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Masters degree in library science from San Jose State University. Before becoming a full-time author, she worked as a librarian. Her novels include: Truth or Dare, All Night Long, and Copper Beach. She has written under seven different names: Jayne Bentley, Amanda Glass, Stephanie James, Jayne Taylor, Jayne Castle, Amanda Quick and Jayne Ann Krentz. Her first book, Gentle Pirate, was published in 1980 under the name Jayne Castle. She currently uses only three personas to represent her three specialties. She uses the name Jayne Ann Krentz for her contemporary pieces, Amanda Quick for her historical fiction pieces, and Jayne Castle for her futuristic pieces. She has received numerous awards for her work including the 1995 Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Trust Me, the 2004 Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Falling Awake, the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, the Romantic Times Jane Austen Award, and the Susan Koppelman Award for Feminist Studies for Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance.
 
Published February 10, 1996 by University Press of Florida. 208 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Nature & Wildlife, Literature & Fiction, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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