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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest expedition of recent years
It is no exaggeration when I say that I do not know of a single expedition in the last five years that required more dedication, pig-headedness and refusal to quit than Ed's Amazon walk.

Ed's book sounds like he is in person (I have heard one of his brilliant lectures) - humble, down-to-earth, amusing.

In the age of ridiculous celebrity...
Published on 9 Jun. 2011 by A. J. Humphreys

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful achievement - not very good book
First off, I have to say that Ed Stafford's achievement must rank as one of the greatest expeditions of the past 100 years. Amazing and hats off to him.

However, the book was almost as much of a slog as the journey. It is poorly written and doesn't convey many of the experiences Ed went through very well. His descriptions of the environment, plants, animals,...
Published 11 months ago by Damian Murphy


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5.0 out of 5 stars Authentic and one heck of an adventure!, 5 May 2014
By 
Medic2016 (Glasgow, Scotland, UK) - See all my reviews
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I had been listening to a podcast and the interviewee (Les Stroud) mentioned how he had become fed up with so called "Explorers" and "survival specialists". Ed Stafford was one of the very people Les Stroud regarded as a true original, someone who brought home the realities and genuine excitement of undertaking challenging expeditions. Google being only a few keystrokes away, I looked up Ed Stafford and found out about his amazing journey across the Amazon. The book is a wonderful account of Ed's journey and you won't be disappointed in the slightest. There have been some snobby reviews about Ed's style of writing, if you want Dostoevsky then you won't find it here. This is an unashamedly authentic and honest account of the ups and downs of a trekking adventure that takes Ed and his companions, notably "Cho" Ed's unintentional Amazon buddy, along a the dangerous and sometimes tedious path of the entire Amazon, the mental and physical punishment they endure, the people and tribes they meet, the inter-personal conflicts, the generosity of strangers and so much more. The kinship and that develops between Ed and Cho is wonderful. I read the book within 4 days, it is fascinating and just mind boggling the sheer scale of this particular journey that Ed & Cho tackle. I'm reluctant to give too much away but you won't forget "Walking The Amazon" in a hurry. No-nonsense style, genuine narrative about a physical and mental journey.

I'm surprised not just by the scale of this adventure and the obvious gusto that Ed brings to it, but by the fact that it is in actual fact a very well written book by someone with limited experience in travel writing (so far). Refreshing is Ed's willingness to use swear words and common phrases when needed to convey his emotion and attitude to a situation, instead of rephrasing or ommiting. Ed does a great job of pulling the reader in to the adventure and you constantly feel like you are there amongst the big picture. His prose are very descriptive at times, honest and unconveluting, and its his ability to use observational description of everything he sees around him to brilliant effect, whilst still focusing on the eventual goal, that does the trick and makes this a memorable read. I found large sections unputdownable. Well done.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A gripping account of an almost superhuman journey, 22 Dec. 2012
By 
*Review relates to 28 Aug 2012 release of this title* Chronicling the first successful traverse of the Amazon basin on foot, from the source of the river to its mouth, this is a gripping account of a death-defying and truly amazing adventure.

Starting from the Pacific Coast, crossing the Andes and then negotiating hundreds of miles of tangled, inhospitable forest and murky swamp, not to mention facing innumerable risks, challenges and hardships along the way - including the prospect of death at the hands of poisonous snakes, trigger-happy narcos and bow-and-arrow-wielding locals - the author takes us on a roller-coaster ride across the entire South American continent.

Ed and his 'sidekick' Cho are clearly made of quite sturdy stuff, both physically and mentally, and what this book perhaps lacks in vivid and detailed descriptions of the habitats through which they pass, it makes up for in its accounts of the psychological challenges faced on this monumental, almost superhuman journey.

In this respect Ed is refreshingly honest, and he makes no bones about the fact that, at least in terms of navigation, the expedition is assisted by modern technology - otherwise it probably would have been impossible, if not almost suicidal.

Ed is also remarkably free of ego. Not once does he 'big himself up' and shout about his achievement or the dangers faced. He also demonstrates the utmost respect for the indigenous and tribal peoples with whom he comes into contact, even when they are openly hostile, while at the same time avoiding the unthinking and rather patronising adoration of such peoples, of which we in the West are often guilty.

My only criticism is that Ed does seem to have a tendency to write in a rather matter-of-fact manner, including when describing the immense risks and challenges faced. I feel that a little more writing 'flair' would have made his prose more engaging for readers, and I can't help feeling that I may have lost interest had the subject matter of the book been somewhat less epic.

In short, this is gripping account of a truly remarkable expedition, which I would heartily recommend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One extraordinary expedition and an amazing memoir to complement it, 2 May 2012
By 
Ed and Cho's achievement in crossing the Amazon (alive and with all limbs intact, no less) is one of human's truly great accomplishments and for that I cannot commend them highly enough. The will-power, strength of character, determination, vision, ingenuity and sheer audacity of the successful expedition ranks in my mind as one of the greatest human-powered journeys of all time. The suffering, doubt, boredom and pain they went through to complete the journey is something I cannot fathom and would not even want to begin to undertake. While I appreciate how meaningful the accomplishment is - it takes uncompromisingly dedicated (perhaps slightly mad) people to actually do it.

Walking the Amazon is a must-read for anyone who loves books about adventure. I wish I could give the book a rating of 6! (Despite the literary-snob in me ;) It is, in my opinion, the 'Into Thin Air' of this generation. The book is superbly engaging, well written and detailed account of the journey, which does proper justice in documenting Ed and Cho's achievement. (In fact, I wish Rosie Swale Pope's 'Just a Little Run Around the World' had been more like this.)

What I loved about Ed's book is his ability to actually convey the many different challenges of his journey of over two years into a book and do it very effectively. Everything from the mental challenges, the fear of indigenous tribes and animals/insects, to the day-to-day life of the camp and logistics and finances are covered. It's all very engaging. At first, the author does perhaps come across as a little gung-ho but don't let this put you off. There are a great set of videos on Vimeo ([...]) which help you to better appreciate what the journey was like and I found this extremely effective in visualising the journey.

So if you like books such as Into Thin Air and Into the Wild, I would highly recommend this fantastic book. Well done Ed and Cho!
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a fantastic book, 13 Jun. 2011
I received Ed's book on Thursday 9th June & finished reading it on Saturday 11th June - I could not put it down!
It is brilliant, it made me laugh out loud & also brought tears to my eyes. I am lucky enough to have met Ed & he has managed to write his book so that I felt he was in the room talking to me. As well as telling the story of Ed's epic adventure it is so inspirational. It has really made me think about my behaviours, actions, moods & how I have total control over them. I am very much looking forward to Ed's next adventure & book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful and inspirational, 3 Mar. 2012
By 
Ms. Joan Turner (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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I'm a big fan of books detailing human endeavour and this one ranks as one of the best I've ever read. I read it straight through in two days and then in the space of a week, I'd read it twice.

Ed Stafford never pretends to be perfect and that makes this book even more enjoyable. It was, as I've said in the title, wonderful and inspirational and totally merits the five stars I've given it.

Having read this (twice) I understand that the only person stopping us achieving our dreams is ourselves and this book is marvellous. A fantastic read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good book!, 6 Oct. 2011
Just a really good book - Well written and brings the excitement that I had expected...

All in all a very good book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Startling and informative, 23 Aug. 2012
When I first heard about this trek and watched the programme I was stunned to see not only the journey but also the physical changes however the programme was just too short and didn't give me enough about the psychological side of the ordeal which is why I bought this. I genuinely feel that I got what I wanted as well as far more detail about the journey. Startling to read and thoroughly interesting. I would highly recommend this for anyone interested in Not only the journey but also just how bloody stubborn he was.
Although it doesn't read as fluidly as some stories and there were a few areas where I had to re read it to make sense of the grammar but these are very minor complaints about this.
I have no idea how he did it but wish I could buy him a beer and hear more about it

Highly recommended
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4.0 out of 5 stars The feat is amazing, the book is pretty good, 23 Jun. 2013
This is a great feat and a good book. Its well worth reading and is faily entertaining, and well written. It keeps the reader very much interested and turning those pages.

The author allows the reader into his head somewhat and the overall impression is that that is where the big battles were really fought and perhaps overcome.

Its not the best travel writing nor guide to the Amazon region or Peru or Brazil but its not meant to be.
I cant help thinking though that its a bit of a side dish for the author, the main thing being the actual trip.

The enormous challenge of the task and the empathy the reader shares with the author drive this book forward.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars East Midlands man fulfils Amazon ambition, 8 Aug. 2011
By 
Peter Durward Harris "Pete the music fan" (Leicester England) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
Because the Leicester Mercury had featured an article about myself and my Amazon reviews in November 2007, I was asked to contribute a recommendation to a Christmas gifts feature in the run-up to Christmas 2008. I bought the paper to see who else was featured and recognized some genuine established celebrities as well as some people who I'd never heard of, among them Ed Stafford. I was amused to find that I was not the only Amazonian featured, but I could immediately see that his adventure was much tougher than anything I could ever have contemplated doing. Still, I was interested in his adventure and I knew then that there was likely to be a book at the end of it and that I wanted to read and review it.

It is clear from the book that while the author had done a fair bit of preparation for his adventure, and notwithstanding his previous outdoor work experiences including four years in service with the British army, he was ill-prepared in many ways for what lay in store. It seems like a miracle that he got through it.

Ed began his adventure on the coast of Peru, so he walked from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic. This may seem odd, but if you look at a map, you'll see that the recognized source of the Amazon is relatively close to the Pacific. I say relatively, but it still took Ed and his companions nearly a month to reach the source. From there, the river runs downhill all the way, but Ed's walk involved plenty of uphill and downhill walking, as he eventually realized. He faced plenty of other problems too, but not always of the type he may have expected. The creatures he encounters can be fearsome, but most of them were not a problem. Mosquitoes were a problem, but he eventually got used to them. People, money and (eventually) boredom appear to have been his biggest problems.

Other reviewers have commented that the later stages of the adventure are covered in less depth, suspecting that these parts were skimmed a bit to meet a publication deadline. I'm not so sure. Certainly, the first year of the adventure occupies two-thirds of the book, while the remaining longer period only occupies one third, which may lead one to think that. However, some of what happened later was basically a repletion of what had happened earlier, while the later stages also seemed to be less interesting anyway as they walked through land that had been cleared by commercial operators (for want of a better phrase). Maybe there could have been more detail about the Brazilian phase of the adventure, but I'm not sure if it would have improved the book.

I found the book easy to read and entertaining. I was surprised to find that one of the most interesting aspects was the variety of people that formed part of the story. Aside from Ed, there were the people he walked with at various stages of the journey, the locals he met along the way (some hostile, some friendly), the officials and the media.

Apart from the creatures that Ed had to deal with directly, he did not say a lot about the animal and bird life to be found along the way. He admitted at one point in the book that he wasn't really able to enjoy what there was because of the need to keep going. Still, if you want a book about the creatures to be found in Amazonia, there are plenty out there. Having read both this book and Bruce Parry's Amazon, I'll be looking out for one. As for Ed, I get the impression that he wants to do another adventure, preferably another one that nobody has succeeded in doing before. I find it difficult to believe that it could be as challenging as his Amazon adventure.

Ed and I are about as different as two people could be, but apart from our association with the word Amazon, I noticed one character trait that we share. We both like things that challenge us and enjoy the difficult aspects, but sometimes find it harder to focus on the easier tasks.

Oh yes, and what did Ed recommend as a 2008 Christmas gift? A Hennessy Explorer Ultralite hammock. Never having had the need for a hammock of any kind, I'll bow to his judgement in such matters. In that same newspaper feature, I recommended Sarah Bright man's Winter symphony, but if I'm ever asked again, this book would definitely be one that I would consider nominating as a gift.
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2.0 out of 5 stars OK, but..., 20 Jan. 2014
It is a backdrop for a great book. However, I found it very plodding and dealt far too much with the personal and non Amazon specific issues. I could have done with a lot less on personal issues with the former partner, guides along the way, soggy boots & bad kit, etc and much more of the spectacular things encountered along the way. Seemed like 80% complaining and 20% Amazon adventure. I quit 60% finished, which rarely happens. So, caveat is that the remaining 40% could be much better. However, my sincere congratulations for the incredible accomplishment of the feat itself.
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