The Wasting of Borneo by Alex Shoumatoff
Dispatches from a Vanishing World

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A provocative, multilayered discussion of the imperative of saving our planet’s environmental heritage while respecting the aspirations of indigenous people.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

Acclaimed naturalist Alex Shoumatoff issues a worldwide call to protect the drastically endangered rainforests of Borneo

In his eleventh book, but his first in almost two decades, seasoned travel writer Alex Shoumatoff takes readers on a journey from the woods of rural New York to the rain forests of the Amazon and Borneo, documenting both the abundance of life and the threats to these vanishing Edens in a wide-ranging narrative.

Alex and his best friend, Davie, spent their formative years in the forest of Bedford, New York. As adults they grew apart, but bonded by the “imaginary jungle” of their childhood, Alex and Davie reunited fifty years later for a trip to a real jungle, in the heart of Borneo. During the intervening years, Alex had become an author and literary journalist, traveling the world to bring to light places, animals, and indigenous cultures in peril. The two reconnect and spend three weeks together on Borneo, one of the most imperiled ecosystems on earth. Insatiable demand for the palm oil ubiquitous in consumer goods is wiping out the world’s most ancient and species-rich rain forest, home to the orangutan and countless other life-forms, including the Penan people, with whom Alex and Davie camp. The Penan have been living in Borneo’s rain forest for millennia, but 90 percent of the lowland rain forest has already been logged and burned to make way for vast oil-palm plantations. Among the most endangered tribal people on earth, the Penan are fighting for their right to exist.

Shoumatoff condenses a lifetime of learning about what binds humans to animals, nature, and each other, culminating in a celebration of the Penan and a call for Westerners to address the palm-oil crisis and protect the biodiversity that sustains us all.
 

About Alex Shoumatoff

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Alex Shoumatoff was born in Mt. Kisco, New York, in 1946. Formerly a staff writer for The New Yorker and now a contributing editor of Vanity Fair, he has been hailed for his profiles of personalities from Chico Mendes to Dian Fossey, and for his reporting from the farthest-flung reaches of the world, from Africa to Tibet. He is the author of nine previous books. He lives in upstate New York with his wife and four sons.
 
Published April 11, 2017 by Beacon Press. 224 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Nature & Wildlife, Travel, Science & Math. Non-fiction
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Kirkus

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on Jan 31 2017

A provocative, multilayered discussion of the imperative of saving our planet’s environmental heritage while respecting the aspirations of indigenous people.

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