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The Darien Gap: Travels in the Rainforest of Panama Paperback – 1 Apr 2008

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Product Description

About the Author

Martin Mitchinson has been a travel writer and photographer for the past ten years. He was born in Saskatoon and raised in northern Alberta, where he later worked in the oil fields to support his travels to Central and South America. He now lives outside Powell River, BC. "The Darien Gap" is his first book.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x9677c9fc) out of 5 stars 8 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94f994c8) out of 5 stars A MARVELLOUS EXPLORATION 24 Jun. 2008
By Hilary Bruhn - Published on
Format: Paperback
This is a marvellous read and a marvellous exploration. Author Martin Mitchinson takes us through a remote corner of the Panamanian rainforest on a journey that is paradoxically both leisurely and exhausting. At his side we undergo a full range of jungle miseries, both grim and entertaining, dipping pleasantly all the while into byways of history, geography and legend.
Whether he was enduring perilous hours in a dugout canoe or trekking painfully across the continental divide, Mitchinson held me captivated. By turns I laughed out loud at encounters with endearing characters or was moved by rippling passages of poetry and philosophy.
At its best, and in common with the best of books and journeys, The Darien Gap transforms one's vision of life and of the world. Highly recommended.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94f9951c) out of 5 stars A fascinating story of the Darien's history, folklore...... 19 Jun. 2008
By T. krentzman - Published on
Format: Paperback
The Darien Gap beautifully weaves together the local politics, geological and colonial history with native folklore in a personal voice. Finally, a travel book not focused on some hero conquering a new land. Mitchinson brings honesty and humor at his own discomfort. He offers a well researched story of a patch of jungle that "is the only missing link in what would otherwise be 16000 miles of uninterupted highway from Alaska to Tierra Del Fuego". The book is brilliant!
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94f99954) out of 5 stars A brilliantly unique portrayal of The Darién Gap 12 Jun. 2008
By Bill Motley - Published on
Format: Paperback
Martin Mitchinson's "The Darien Gap" is a wonderful book, a great collection of histories, mythologies, and personal adventures and reflections. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in traveling in Central America, as well as for anyone who loves good, and thoughtful travel writing.

In a place that is infamous for kidnappings, Colombian Guerrillas, and thick jungles, Mitchinson performs the unthinkable act of remaining in the region for a year and a half to gather together Darien's many stories into a book that is a pleasure to read. In a series of wonderfully-crafted vignettes, Mitchinson writes with a very personal voice to bring Darien's jungle to the reader - from the 65 million years of ancient geological formation, to native histories, pirates, eccentrics, and ridiculous canal schemes that are part of Darien's past and present.

This book has just been released, but I've found a handful of early reviews:

"What Mitchinson has produced, with bugs, mud, graces, dangers, superstitions and all... is a wonderfully entertaining book full of close observation and flourishes of poetry."

- Garry Geddes, poet and author of "Kingdom of Ten Thousand Things"

"... impressive and compelling..."

"... threading the history of the area, with accounts of its indigenous peoples and early explorations, into a dramatic and involving tapestry. There is much humor here,... passages of genuine suspense, including a harrowing account of a near-drowning in a jungle river..."

- The Vancouver Sun

"... the summer's best read."

- The North Island Midweek

"...hairy enough to scare even the most intrepid armchair traveler. But the stories that he tells of this wild barrier make his book come doubly alive.

Combining one part history with one part travelogue... escape reading at its best."

-The Sun Times

"... personal anecdotes are lush with honesty and sparse with reservation... it sucks you from your reading chair only to plant you in the mangrove swamps of the Darien Gap."

"...intriguing tale connects the reader to Mitchinson, the people of Darien and the Darien province itself."

- Comox Valley Record
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94f99d20) out of 5 stars A fine pick for any who would read adventure travel at its most gripping 9 Oct. 2008
By Midwest Book Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
THE DARIEN GAP: TRAVELS IN THE RAINFOREST OF PANAMA is a fine pick for any who would read adventure travel at its most gripping, and for general-interest libraries catering to armchair travel and adventure audiences. It tells of the author's twenty years of travel in Central and South America, fascinated by tales of the Colombian outpost Darien, a sanctuary for guerrillas and a long-time haven for spies, pirates and treasure hunters.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x94f99e04) out of 5 stars Shortlisted for award 3 Nov. 2009
By Don Mitchinson - Published on
Format: Paperback
His book "The Darien Gap" has just been shortlisted along with three other books
for the 2009 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction, administered by Wilfred Laurier University.


Congrats, brother and good luck!
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