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Mad White Giant Paperback – 4 Feb 2002


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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber; New Ed edition (4 Feb 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571206174
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571206179
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 106,357 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

'Mr Allen undertook one of the Last Great Adventures left: to journey between the mouth of the Orinoco and the Amazon, one and a half thousand miles as the vulture flies, through jungle inhabited by eccentric prospectors and gullible Indians. He has written a marvellous book.
PETER HILLMORE, 'Literary Review'

'Thoroughly enjoyable and frequently very funny… As he makes his picaresque journey, Mr Allen encounters just about every horror imaginable: carnivorous fish, blood-thirsty jaguars, dead bodies (human and animal), vampire bats, scorpions, ants, parasites and mosquitoes.'
NEW YORK TIMES

'The age of adventure is far from dead so long as people like Benedict Allen tread the earth.'
IAN HAMILTON, 'Yorkshire Evening Post'

'Levels of literary comedy and pathos rarely achieved outside the novel. It is an irresistibly absorbing story both for its warm humanity and affection for the Indians and for its understated but serious warnings about the various threats to their primitive way of life.'
ECONOMIST

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Benedict Allen is one of the UK's most prominent explorers. For the past twenty-five years he has conducted solo expeditions through the Amazon jungle, along Namibia's Skeleton Coast and across Mongolia's Gobi Desert without the use of GPS, satellite phone or other means of outside support, as we as having written ten books of his adventures and editing The Faber Book of Exploration. He was the first explorer to bring the full experience of remote travel to television - taking the genre to its limits by not using a camera crew and so bringing an immediacy to his experiences. Allen regularly gives lectures at the Royal Geographic Society.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By eved@oceanfree.net on 8 May 2002
Format: Paperback
A unique account of modern-day exploration into the heart of the Amazonian jungle which really will have you at the edge of your seat. I was - from start to finish - unable to put it down. From the off-set you feel like you are right there with Allen as he makes his way on this physically, emotionally and spiritually demanding journey - but at times you will most certainly be glad that you are not.
His journey is not only about the alien landscape of the Amazon and how he survives it but his encounters with new people and the friendships he forges. These people are, without doubt different from ‘us’ but you will soon discover that the common thread that binds us all is as simple as our humanity. Allen comes across the most unusual of situations and the rapid twists and turns of the journey will leave you gasping for breath. This book will give you an appetite for more - it is definitely a must read for all armchair explorers!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 11 Dec 2000
Format: Paperback
In this book Benidict tells of his journey to the mouth of the Amazon. It is an exellent account concentrating on the people and land in detail rarely expressed with such passion and understanding.
Benidict learns to live in harmony with his surroundings by following the local peoples examples, his desire to learn and to complete his journey is an inspiration. There is never a dull moment or a detail lost.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dominic Harris on 27 Oct 2002
Format: Paperback
'Mad White Giant' is Benedict Allen's tale of his one-man expedition from the mouth of the Orinoco river across the Amazon basin to the place where the sun rises. It is an enthralling journey, a learning curve at every step for the author, who by his own admission is a changed man by the time he re-emerges from the jungle among the cut branches of a cassava field at Macapa, near the mouth of the Amazon. The book is insightful in its innocence as 'Louco Benedito' simply records what he observes and undergoes along the way without the soapbox commentary that so often mars the writings of others - it is, as he says, merely the experience of "a young white man launching out into an exotic world which he didn't, and couldn't, understand." And this is its attraction and joy, the portrayal of a world in the bold colours of youth that allows the reader to draw his own opinion on matters without too much in the way of authorial didacticism. The reader's journey is as thoroughly invigorating as the young explorer's. Our initial excitement at Allen's great expedition, fuelled by such wonderful encounters with characters like Zorola, Tautau and Yepe, is soured by the same fruits that he himself is forced to taste, namely the exploitations and temptations of modernity and the western world that pervade the Amazonian gloom and corrupt the purity of the indigenous Indian tribes and their cultures. He tells us, as he dozes in a hammock at the end of his journey, that in the jungle, "I...left part of myself behind." This is overwhelmingly true. The bright eyes through which we look at the beginning of the book become glazed with a weary wisdom, even if he doesn't explicate it himself, and we as readers are privy to the lessons that he has learnt the hard way.Read more ›
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dominic Harris on 27 Oct 2002
Format: Paperback
'Mad White Giant' is Benedict Allen's tale of his one-man expedition from the mouth of the Orinoco river across the Amazon basin to the place where the sun rises. It is an enthralling journey, a learning curve at every step for the author, who by his own admission is a changed man by the time he re-emerges from the jungle among the cut branches of a cassava field at Macapa, near the mouth of the Amazon. The book is insightful in its innocence as 'Louco Benedito' simply records what he observes and undergoes along the way without the soapbox commentary that so often mars the writings of others - it is, as he says, merely the experience of "a young white man launching out into an exotic world which he didn't, and couldn't, understand." And this is its attraction and joy, the portrayal of a world in the bold colours of youth that allows the reader to draw his own opinion on matters without too much in the way of authorial didacticism. The reader's journey is as thoroughly invigorating as the young explorer's. Our initial excitement at Allen's great expedition, fuelled by such wonderful encounters with characters like Zorola, Tautau and Yepe, is soured by the same fruits that he himself is forced to taste, namely the exploitations and temptations of modernity and the western world that pervade the Amazonian gloom and corrupt the purity of the indigenous Indian tribes and their cultures. He tells us, as he dozes in a hammock at the end of his journey, that in the jungle, "I...left part of myself behind." This is overwhelmingly true. The bright eyes through which we look at the beginning of the book become glazed with a weary wisdom, even if he doesn't explicate it himself, and we as readers are privy to the lessons that he has learnt the hard way.Read more ›
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 22 Jun 2004
Format: Paperback
This book could be total fiction, or it could be a wonderful adventure. Strangely enough, it doesn't matter. This is a well told story, full of exotic sights, strange peoples and wonderous experiences, but then, so are a great deal of adventure stories. What makes this particular tale so fantastic is the absolute honesty involved; the author does not waste time impressing readers with demonstrations of skill or endurance. As a result, you find yourself reading about a very normal person, not an Indiana Jones lookalike. This book covers a whole range of themes, but perhaps most importantly it presents life in another part of the world in a very understandable way and instead of confusing figures of rainforest depletion, the reader sees the impacts in terms of the people. If you want adventure, a taste of the exotic and even, shock, horror, to think a little, then this book is an absolute must.
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