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4.0 out of 5 stars A R Wallace's Travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro, 12 May 2013
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This review is from: A narrative of travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro : with an account of the native tribes, and observations of the climate, geology, and natural history of the Amazon Valley (Kindle Edition)
This is a wonderful book. It describes Wallace's extensive travel in Amazonia to progress "toward solving the problem of the origin of species", on which he collaborated with Henry Bates. On arrival in Brazil in April 1848 they agreed to operate separately. Bates was to stay on for 11 years and published a separate account. Regrettably Wallace's extensive collection of four years' work was destroyed by fire on the voyage home. The ship sank and after 10 days in open boats its people were rescued without loss of life and landed in England in October 1852.

Wallace travelled by river on the Amazon as far as Barra, up the Rio Negro, the Branca and the Uaupés as far as Colombia and up the Tocantins that flows into the Amazon estuary from the south.

His concluding chapters describe the physical geography of the Amazon basin and its flora and fauna. There are discussions of water flow, of the causes of the tidal bore on the Rio Gauma. He concludes that the big rivers form barriers in which subspecies of fish, insects monkeys and birds have evolved. His fascination with the human population is clear. He observes the aborigines' character, their society and rituals, their economy and skills, from the building of river craft of up to 200 tons burden to the creation of a gyroscopic effect in arrows' flight. He discusses with them aspects of cosmology and the ethnic make up of the population of Britain.

This absorbing book was transcribed from the edition of 1889, the first was in 1853. Readers are indebted to those responsible for the transcription, which, however, has minor problems. Degrees of temperature and of geographical location are inconsistently transcribed, as are Portuguese accents. These have little effect on the flow of the read. The map is too small of scale to be usable even with the one step magnifier. Readers would be better off with a decent large scale Atlas map of Amazonia although some place names have changed since Wallace's day. His city of Para (Pará) is now Belém and our Manaus was then named Barra (do Rio Negro).

Wallace is a very good writer and it is no surprise to find that his next publication, The Malaya Archipelago, was one of Conrad's favourite books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Big fan of Alfred Wallace , should have had more plaudids for his work., 8 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: A narrative of travels on the Amazon and Rio Negro : with an account of the native tribes, and observations of the climate, geology, and natural history of the Amazon Valley (Kindle Edition)
Both Wallace and Darwin were great men in their field of study of evolution.
history owes them both agreat deal
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