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Ebook The Naturalist on the River Amazons by Henry Walter Bates read! Book Title: The Naturalist on the River Amazons
The author of the book: Henry Walter Bates
Edition: Narrative Press
Date of issue: August 15th 2002
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 669 KB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 1742 times
Reader ratings: 7.4
ISBN: 1589761979
ISBN 13: 9781589761971
Language: English

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The tales of English naturalist and explorer Henry Bates. He spent 11 years in the Amazons, ending 1859. That's a quite remarkable time to have travelled the world. During this time he had "collected over 14,000 species, of which 8,000 were new to science." That's quite something.

The book is not, I admit, an absolute pleasure to read. Some of it is tedious. But the wonder it instills is quite something. Just imagine what it must have been like in that day and age, to experience that amazing river, the people, the animals, the sickness and hardships, the newness and excitement.

The book is also of its time. The number of times the author mentions various races and mixes of races is quite astounding. How they mix, and in what proportion, is somehow very important. The Indian's skin, is apparently hot to the touch, and speaking of a particular individual, he says "This Indian was a man of steady resolution, ambitious and enterprising; very rare qualities in the race to which he belonged, weakness of resolution being one of the fundamental defects in the Indian character." That's about the kindest quote I could find of his - there are plenty far more base.

Given all this, he does appear to be against slavery: "The problem, how to obtain a labouring class for a new and tropical country, without slavery, has to be solved before this glorious region can become what its delightful climate and exuberant fertility fit it for—the abode of a numerous, civilised, and happy people."

I wanted to learn about how it was to be in that day and age, and this book certainly delivered on that. Not just on attitudes to race, as noted above, but also on "civilization" (and how it had to be brought on other people, or how remarkable it was to him how it was rejected by some), on language (Tupi, primarily), on religion (it's taken for granted that his religion is "right") and its upholding, and how easy it is for him to kill animals. I'd be reading some beautiful passage about a rare and wondrous animal, only for it to be curtailed with something like "After watching the animal for about half an hour I gave him a charge of shot."

Also covered are the peoples (the Portuguese of course, as well), the breathtaking expanse of the river, the animals, the plants, disease (much of which would have been caused by Europeans), and science and its pursuit.

I found this quote, on disease, so sad:


The principal cause of their decay in numbers seems to be a disease which always appears amongst them when a village is visited by people from the civilised settlements—a slow fever, accompanied by the symptoms of a common cold, "defluxo," as the Brazilians term it, ending probably in consumption. The disorder has been known to break out when the visitors were entirely free from it— the simple contact of civilised men, in some mysterious way, being sufficient to create it. It is generally fatal to the Juris and Passes; the first question the poor, patient Indians now put to an advancing canoe is, "Do you bring defluxo?"


Some things were quite funny too. In all seriousness he claims "I was once two years without tasting wheaten bread, and attribute partly to this the gradual deterioration of health which I suffered on the Upper Amazons"

He arrived back the year that The Origin of Species was published, which I'm sure must have influenced some of his writing. What a pity he never had that book in hand when he explored. Darwin did, however, write the foreword and encourage that this book be written.


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Reviews of the The Naturalist on the River Amazons


JOSHUA

Phone number you need to drive to protect against robots. I wrote the number and downloaded without registering.

FREDERICK

Written easily, vividly, wisely.

JESSICA

Another one-time book, but it was interesting.

MICHAEL

All right, quick download.

HOLLIE

Pozitivnenko, but naпve to the ugly.




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