The Scramble For The Amazon And The Lost Paradise Of Euclides Da Cunha

Hardcover | May 9, 2013

bySusanna B. Hecht

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The fortunes of the late nineteenth century’s imperial and industrial powers depended on a single raw material—rubber—with only one source: the Amazon basin. And so began the scramble for the Amazon—a decades-long conflict that found Britain, France, Belgium, and the United States fighting with and against the new nations of Peru, Bolivia, and Brazil for the forest’s riches. In the midst of this struggle, Euclides da Cunha, engineer, journalist, geographer, political theorist, and one of Brazil’s most celebrated writers, led a survey expedition to the farthest reaches of the river, among the world’s most valuable, dangerous, and little-known landscapes.
 
The Scramble for the Amazon tells the story of da Cunha’s terrifying journey, the unfinished novel born from it, and the global strife that formed the backdrop for both. Haunted by his broken marriage, da Cunha trekked through a beautiful region thrown into chaos by guerrilla warfare, starving migrants, and native slavery. All the while, he worked on his masterpiece, a nationalist synthesis of geography, philosophy, biology, and journalism he named the Lost Paradise. Da Cunha intended his epic to unveil the Amazon’s explorers, spies, natives, and brutal geopolitics, but, as Susanna B. Hecht recounts, he never completed it—his wife’s lover shot him dead upon his return.
 
At once the biography of an extraordinary writer, a masterly chronicle of the social, political, and environmental history of the Amazon, and a superb translation of the remaining pieces of da Cunha’s project, The Scramble for the Amazon is a work of thrilling intellectual ambition.

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The fortunes of the late nineteenth century’s imperial and industrial powers depended on a single raw material—rubber—with only one source: the Amazon basin. And so began the scramble for the Amazon—a decades-long conflict that found Britain, France, Belgium, and the United States fighting with and against the new nations of Peru, Boli...

Susanna B. Hecht is professor in the School of Public Affairs and the Institute of the Environment at the University of California, Los Angeles, and coauthor, with Alexander Cockburn, of The Fate of the Forest: Developers, Destroyers, and Defenders of the Amazon.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:632 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 1.9 inPublished:May 9, 2013Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0226322815

ISBN - 13:9780226322810

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

 

Acknowledgments

Part 1. Os Sertões: The Pre-Amazonian Life of Euclides da Cunha
1. A Short Prelude: From Os Sertões to As Selvas
2. The Unlikely Protagonist
3. The Afterlife of Revolution
4. A Quilombo Called Canudos
5. Mud-Walled Jerusalem, Mud-Walled Troy

Part 2. The Scramble for the Amazon
6. In the Times of Scrambles in the Land of the Amazons
7. Imperialisms, Revolutions, and Resolutions in the Caribbean Amazon
8. “American Amazon”? Colonizations and Speculations
9. Wall Street, Rebels, and Rio Branco
10. Peru, Purús, Brazil
11. Euclides and the Baron

Part 3. As Selvas: Into the Litigious Zones
12. “Impressions completely new to me”
13. “Such is the river, such is its history”
14. In the Realm of Rubber
15. Argonauts of the Amazon
16. In Hostile Territory, Part 1: Official Report of the Joint Boundary Commission
17. In Hostile Territory, Part 2: Ex-party Report from da Cunha to Baron Rio Branco

Part 4. Cartographer at Court
18. Return of the Native
19. Maps, Texts, and History
20. “Events that perhaps lacked a historian”: Reflections and Supplements to the Formal Report of the Joint Survey Commission
21. Everyday Forms of Empire: The Tropicalist Ethnography of Euclides da Cunha

Part 5. Abyss and Oblivion
22. Killing Dr. da Cunha
23. Hamlet’s Lament
24. Illusions and Oblivion

A Note on the Text: Fragments, Translation, and Photos
Glossary

Editorial Reviews

“Susanna B. Hecht’s extraordinary book is as penetrating and graceful as its subject matter:  the lost writings of Euclides da Cunha on the Amazon. Indeed, Hecht is our modern-day da Cunha, presenting the miraculous forest and its people in all its complex wonder. And she throws in a tragic love story to boot. The Scramble for the Amazon and the ‘Lost Paradise’ of Euclides da Cunha is a truly remarkable book, destined to be a classic.”