An extraordinary document, as rich as it is exceptional, not only for its beautiful photos but for being the story of a true adventurer, Lost Amazon narrates the travels of the legendary explorer Richard Evans Schultes.
Considered the father of ethnobotany and described by his protégé, Wade Davis, as “the last of the great plant explorers of the Victorian tradition,” Schultes revealed in his doctoral research the botanical identity of teonanacatl, the known sacred hallucinogenic mushroom. by the Aztecs as “flesh of the gods”. Shortly afterward he left Harvard and traveled to the Amazon, intending to stay there for a semester. But he disappeared into the humid forest and remained there for twelve years in search of its mysteries. He lived with dozens of local tribes, charted the course of unknown rivers, searched for the sources of rubber for the American government during World War II, collected more than thirty thousand botanical specimens, discovered more than three hundred species, and described for the first time the use of more than two thousand medicinal plants.
As talented a photographer as he is a scientist, Schultes' extraordinary images capture both the lush landscapes of his travels as well as his deep empathy with the tribes. He established a strong friendship with them, never carried a firearm and once said: “I don't think there are hostile indigenous people.” Lost Amazonia is not only the story of their amazing journeys, but an unparalleled anthropological record.
Wade Davis presents Schultes' field notes with a biographical essay, which constitutes a personal and biographical reflection on his mentor in science and exploration. One of his disciples, Andrew Weil, writes the preface. Together with Schultes' photos, they produce for the first time the written and visual chronicle of an astonishing odyssey of discovery—and of a way of life that can never be imitated.
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