Searching for El Dorado: A Journey into the South American Rainforest on the Tail of the World's Largest Gold Rush

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9780375727030: Searching for El Dorado: A Journey into the South American Rainforest on the Tail of the World's Largest Gold Rush

The real land of El Dorado, deep in the Amazon rainforest, is a far cry from the mythical city of gold: though its soil could potentially yield billions of dollars, Guyana is a nation of “gilded paupers,” one of the very poorest countries in the western hemisphere.

In this adventure-filled narrative, journalist Marc Herman takes us down a supply road in a limping cargo truck, treks into a muggy and muddy mine on foot, and soars above the forest canopy in a skittering plane. He falls in with a rowdy crew of gold miners who measure manliness by the number of times they’ve had malaria, and wear their life savings in the form of oversized rings and huge gold necklaces. He also penetrates the corporate façade of international strip-mining operations, which despite tremendous technological and political power have failed to alleivate the area’s poverty. Searching for El Dorado is an eyeopening look at the scandals, the business, the mythology of gold—reaveling a fascinating, contradictory part of the world and of the human psyche.

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Review:

When we think of the Amazonian rain forest, the term gold rush does not immediately spring to mind, nor does the latter summon up thoughts of late-20th-century Guyana. In Searching for El Dorado: A Journey into the South American Rainforest on the Tail of the World's Largest Gold Rush, Marc Herman recasts our presuppositions with a fascinating story of adventure and commercialism in post-colonial Guyana. Asking how a country so rich in precious natural resources could remain so impoverished, Herman draws on his acute observation and narrative élan to tell this complex story of fierce competition, environmentalism, history, and journalistic inquiry. "If Guyana was not benefiting from its gold because outsiders were taking it all," he writes, "if Omai was just 16th-century mercantilism promoted as 21st-century globalism--then at least the foreign robber barons should be rich. But they weren't; somehow gold was turning to smoke."

Herman speaks with the precision of a journalist and the ease of a novelist, assembling a cast of marvelous personalities to describe the conditions and consequences that converge to keep Guyana among the poorest of Caribbean countries, despite the existence of gold and diamonds within its boundaries. Wisely, Herman does not advance a personal agenda. Instead, he gives a voice, in breathtaking detail, to the different constituencies that comprise this world of colorful local prospectors, foreign businessmen, and everyday people. Like the prospectors in Guyana, Herman too is on a quest--not to strip the land of gold, but rather to tell this little-known and wonderful story. --Silvana Tropea

About the Author:

Marc Herman has reported from volcanoes in central Java, vaccine trials in Mozambique, fire festivals in Spain, and Presidential debates in New Hampshire. In addition to Searching for El Dorado, his dispatches have appeared in dozens of magazines and newspapers including The Atlantic, GQ and Mother Jones. He lives in Barcelona.

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Marc Herman
Editore: Vintage (2004)
ISBN 10: 0375727035 ISBN 13: 9780375727030
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Marc Herman
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Descrizione libro Vintage, 2004. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. book. Codice libro della libreria 375727035

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Herman, Marc
Editore: Vintage (2004)
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Descrizione libro Vintage, 2004. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Codice libro della libreria P110375727035

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