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28 Reviews
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More like a novel than a travel book
A fascinating journey through South America's Wild Coast. Seldom explored, this is a land of forests and rivers where nine tenths of the inhabitants live in a narrow strip along the coast. As he travels from Guyana (formerly British Guyana, through Suriname (formerly Dutch Guyana) to French Guyana, Gimlette introduces us to a rich cast of characters, past and present. We...
Published on 3 Mar 2011 by Panther 2

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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
It gives sufficient information on this isolated part of South America. It is a sapid, well written book. Reccomended reading, if in your travel plans.
Published 22 months ago by Nikolas


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4.0 out of 5 stars Guyana must read, 2 May 2014
Great read for anyone considering visiting Guyana and keen to hear about its eccentric past and present. Gimlette does a fine job of revealing its many charms and quirks. very evocative descriptions of the landscape and wildlife too
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read in years, 4 Dec 2013
By 
Geoffrey Rex Hill "Cowboy" (Johannesburg, South Africa) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Wild Coast: Travels on South America's Untamed Edge (Paperback)
No one writes like John Gimlette and if he carries on this way, he'll get a Nobel Prize and a Pulitzer.

He is light on adjectives, and stays away from cliche, using his own phrases to illustrate what he saw on a journey through Guyana, Surinam and French Guiana.

If there were 10 stars on the Amazon chart, I'd use them to rate this book.

You won't be disappointed.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully wild book, 30 May 2013
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Nico (Australia) - See all my reviews
A well written book about a part of the world that receives little attention from the rest of the world. Prior to reading this book I couldn't say i knew much about Guyana, Surinam or French Guyana. Certainly feel a little better informed having read this book. The author weaves together superbly the present with the past to explain the mixed and eclectic societies that today exist in these countries, Written with great humour, charm and perception this is a really good book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Clearing the Jungle, 20 May 2013
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G. M. Sinstadt - See all my reviews
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The author's subject is the Guyanas - "a land comprising three different countries, three different cultures, three official languages, three currencies, myriad religions." It is a huge task which he has tackled with energy, extensive research and fortitude in the face of many adversities (do not overlook the sodomite snake.)

This is part travel book, part history, the two interwoven skilfully and mostly seamlessly. The tribes encountered are of varying degrees of hospitality, the characters are more often villains - or at least on the shady side of what law exists - than saints, but all are worth meeting. The observation is acute and frequently wry - as, for example, in the mutation and intermingling of the importedl and the indigenous populace, "Eventually, all that will be left of them is a string of Scottish spires, and some curious African tribes such as the MacDonalds and the McLeods."

The grisly history spares no detail - particularly in the recreation of the bizarre Jonesville mass suicide or the Berbice wars. This is an instructive as well as an entertaining book. In passing, it occurs that the labour involved in its creation will surely have been no less than that undertaken by Dan Brown and his researchers and translators for his latest confection. It would be good to think that the rewards might be comparable but that is not the way of things in these market-led times.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Genius, 23 April 2013
This review is from: Wild Coast: Travels on South America's Untamed Edge (Paperback)
I'm not going to write too much here as it is difficult to put into words how fantastic this book is - I just wish the author would write more books as I have loved each and every one of them but I can fully appreciate how such well crafted tomes take a huge amount of time and energy to research, explore and then ultimately write. As well as great admiration for his bravery in many of the episodes, I particularly love the language - in the midst of chapters on very serious topics, I find myself laughing out loud at some beautiful and very funny turns of phrases. I long for the next chapter in Gimlette's global travels.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive overview of the Guyanas, 24 Feb 2013
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This review is from: Wild Coast: Travels on South America's Untamed Edge (Paperback)
It makes good reading, is up to date and relevant. I found the book even more engaging as I know a few of the characters in the book. Many Guyanese, such as myself, do not often get the opportunity to explore other parts of Guyana outside of Georgetown, so the contents of this book is very much an eye opener and encouragement for future exploration. I found it interesting to read of the other two countries that formed the 'wild coast' and how they were treated by their former colonial masters.
Historically, the book paints an accurate portrait without getting bogged down with too many fine details.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, 8 Feb 2013
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It gives sufficient information on this isolated part of South America. It is a sapid, well written book. Reccomended reading, if in your travel plans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Guianas uncovered, 10 Aug 2012
`Wild Coast' is a remarkable tour de force. The writing is evocative, and the author shows a real empathy with the many and sometimes strange people that he meets along his way.

Gimlette brings out the character of the people and landscape of the Guianas deftly. But I think his most remarkable achievement is the way he brings the past so vividly to light, and traces the connections between events of long ago and the complexities and tensions of the present day. The author's research is painstaking, and from start to finish his writing carries the ring of truth. I must add that he was pretty brave in going to some of the places that he did.

The biggest eye-opener, to me, was the evocation of the Dutch colony in slavery days. They seem to have descended to a level of depravity even lower than that prevailing in other European colonies of the day. (It is curious what horrors become embedded in the collective memory, and what others are virtually forgotten today).

I was also fascinated by Gimlette's evocation of the complex history of the maroons, the descendants of African slaves who took refuge in the forested interior and set up their own states-within-a-state. He brings the story of Suriname up-to-date with the post-independence `Hinterland War', and the stranger-than-fiction tale of the former (and recently re-elected) President Bouterse.

My wife - who is Guyanese - is finding this a most interesting and exciting read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A history and geography lesson, 2 Mar 2012
This review is from: Wild Coast: Travels on South America's Untamed Edge (Paperback)
Extraordinarily detailed research has gone into this book. And Mr Gimlette is really prepared to get his feet dirty finding out all about these three countries. I lived in Guyana for five years and I can vouch for the facts on the ground that he reports for the former British Guiana. This really is a most excellent guide.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read - adventure and interest on every page., 25 May 2011
By 
R. M. Lane - See all my reviews
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Mr Gimlette's power to observe and record detail is both fascinating and engrossing - never more so than when he is is describing people in strange lands. WILD COAST includes a visit to Jonestown, site of mass suicide, and an area deep in the jungle where Dutch settlers were massacred by slaves in revolt. He finds shards of glass still scattered in the jungle floor, put there hundreds of years ago by the settlers in the vain hope of deterring their bare foot attackers. It gives a clear impression of ghostly echoes of foul and violent deeds and enormous violence. Set against this are tales of exotic jungle and some wonderful people(how refreshing to read of lands where trees are in abundance and almost in charge!). In describing three countries that few have heard of and even fewer will ever visit he has created a book that is uplifting, stimulating and entertaining - Recommended. Wild Coast: Travels on South America's Untamed Edge
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Wild Coast: Travels on South America's Untamed Edge
Wild Coast: Travels on South America's Untamed Edge by John Gimlette (Paperback - 23 Feb 2012)
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