The Last Forest by Mark London
The Amazon in the Age of Globalization

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Synopsis

With a landmass larger than the continental U.S. west of the Mississippi and the richest diversity of plant and animal species on earth, the Amazon has always struck its explorers and would-be exploiters as infinite and largely impenetrable. For decades, anthropologists assumed that permanent human habitation was impossible–but they were wrong. Recently, proof of centuries-old Amazonian civilizations has been unearthed, shifting perceptions of the inhospitability of the rain forest–and providing a precedent for human occupation. Today, as developers and environmentalists clash over the region’s future, the seemingly endless forest is fast disappearing in fires, rampant mineral extraction, rogue logging operations, and encroaching urban sprawl.

Through a series of startling human encounters–interviews with government ministers and environmental crusaders, millionaire ranchers and disenfranchised slum dwellers–Mark London and Brian Kelly, longtime explorers and trailblazing chroniclers of the Amazon basin, trace the region’s transformation. Logging thousands of miles, London and Kelly take readers from the mushrooming shopping malls of Manaus to the pristine rain forest that still seems beyond the reach of civilization, from the ghostly ruins of abandoned factories and failed plantations to the thriving agribusinesses that one day may feed the entire world and change this landscape forever. Again and again, they collide with the same fundamental question: Is it too late to strike a balance in the Amazon between economic sustenance for the twenty-one million Brazilians who live there and protection for the world’s last great forest?

London and Brian Kelly have fashioned a complex, vibrant portrait of a region on the edge of crisis. At once a seductive journey and a searing account of political, environmental, and social tumult, The Last Forest is a masterpiece of contemporary reporting.
 

About Mark London

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Mark London is a practicing attorney in Washington, D.C. Brian Kelly is the executive editor of U.S. News & World Report. Together they have written two books: Amazon and The Four Little Dragons.
 
Published February 6, 2007 by Random House. 336 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Like it or not, “the Amazon is occupied and will remain so.” The book brims with anecdotes about efforts to exploit the environment, from gold-mining and illegal logging of mahogany (“green gold”) to the efforts of responsible farmers like Jaime Luiz Demarchi, who, rather than pursue slash-and-bu...

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Publishers Weekly

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Leading sustainable rainforest development is Brazilian environment minister Marina Silva, who rose from unschooled peasant daughter of an impoverished rubber-plant tapper to win a Senate seat, then became "the most important person in the Amazon" after the 2002 election of Brazil's current presi...

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News Review.

Everyone knows that cutting down trees in the Amazon is wrong, that people have no business living there and that the jungle should be left alone.

Sep 13 2007 | Read Full Review of The Last Forest: The Amazon i...

TreeHugger

The human story of the Amazon has existed for millennium, we are facing a critical challenge of how to negotiate our existence with nature- Brazil is on the front lines, and this book highlighted for me the real issues at stake when we talk about our relationship to nature.

May 01 2007 | Read Full Review of The Last Forest: The Amazon i...

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