Wild Coast: Travels on South America's Untamed Edge

Wild Coast Travels on South America s Untamed Edge Guyana Suriname and French Guiana are among the least known places in South America nine hundred miles of muddy coastline giving way to a forest so dense that even today there are virtually no roads

  • Title: Wild Coast: Travels on South America's Untamed Edge
  • Author: John Gimlette
  • ISBN: 9780307272539
  • Page: 322
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana are among the least known places in South America nine hundred miles of muddy coastline giving way to a forest so dense that even today there are virtually no roads through it a string of rickety coastal towns situated between the mouths of the Orinoco and Rivers, where living is so difficult that as many Guianese live abroad asGuyana, Suriname, and French Guiana are among the least known places in South America nine hundred miles of muddy coastline giving way to a forest so dense that even today there are virtually no roads through it a string of rickety coastal towns situated between the mouths of the Orinoco and Rivers, where living is so difficult that as many Guianese live abroad as in their homelands an interior of watery, green anarchy where border disputes are often based on ancient Elizabethan maps, where flora and fauna are still being discovered, where thousands of rivers remain mostly impassable And under the lens of John Gimlette brilliantly offbeat, irreverent, and canny these three small countries are among the most wildly intriguing places on earth.On an expedition that will last three months, he takes us deep into a remarkable world of swamp and jungle, from the hideouts of runaway slaves to the vegetation strangled remnants of penal colonies and forts, from Little Paris to a settlement built around a satellite launch pad He recounts the complicated, often surprisingly bloody, history of the region including the infamous 1978 cult suicide at Jonestown and introduces us to its inhabitants from the world s largest ants to fluorescent purple frogs to head crushing jaguars from indigenous tribes who still live by sorcery to descendants of African slaves, Dutch conquerors, Hmong refugees, Irish adventurers, and Scottish outlaws from high tech pirates to hapless pioneers for whom this stunning, strangely beautiful world a sort of X rated Garden of Eden has become home by choice or by force.In Wild Coast, John Gimlette guides us through a fabulously entertaining, eye opening and sometimes jaw dropping journey.

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    1 thought on “Wild Coast: Travels on South America's Untamed Edge”

    1. I had read the author's At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig a couple of years ago, and so I knew I was in for another wildly entertaining travel book by the Gimlette-eyed author. In Wild Coast: Travels on South America's Untamed Edge, he visits the three least-known countries in the New World: Guyana, Surinam, and French Guiane.Rich in incident and lavish in descriptions of one of the most untamed places on earth, this book is a pleasure to read. In fact, three times over. What I mean is that each [...]

    2. Describes the author's systematic travels through Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. The author is a first-rate researcher, and to me the most interesting part was the history of these places - he visits even places obscure today so he can relate this history, which is generally horrifying and depressing. His account of slavery there viscerally brings home the evil and brutality of the institution and how it adversely affected not only the slaves but also the owners. Seeing this institution in [...]

    3. gimlette always does a good job of trying to go to places 'off the beaten path' and talk to all sorts of folks to get an idea of attitudes and cultures, from ex-dictators to peasant farmers, and even drunk dudes down on the waterfront . his writing about paraguay i found fun and informative At the Tomb of the Inflatable Pig: Travels Through Paraguaythe wild coast of south america is a long tragedy for the indians, then the slaves, of european colonists and companies. sugar made the dutch, french [...]

    4. I love travel books and have read a lot of them. This is the third travel book by John Gimlette that I have read and I have to say that, although the geographical location is different, this book is the same as the others in that the author takes what SHOULD be an interesting trip to the untamed and largely uncharted countries of Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana and makes it rather boring. One blurb I saw about this book favorably compared John Gimlette's travel writing to that of Redmond O'H [...]

    5. To jeden z najlepszych reportaży podróżniczych, jakie czytałam. Niestety nie udało mi się napisać o nim notki bezpośrednio po lekturze czyli w kwietniu ubiegłego roku, więc wrażenia już się zatarły, co więcej czuję, że jestem gotowa na ponowną lekturę.Bardzo długo szukałam, w ramach projektu południowoamerykańskiego, książek z Dzikiego wybrzeża, czyli Surinamu, Gujany oraz Gujany Francuskiej. Poległam tylko na tej ostatniej, ponieważ niestety nie czytam po francusku. [...]

    6. The chapter on Surinam was fascinating. It showed how centuries of intermarriage across vastly different cultures had played out economically and politically in this former Dutch colony.

    7. Wow! What a wonderful book. Wild Coast: Travels on South America's Untamed Edge is a contemporary travel account mixed with history. Don't write it off based on that statement -- it is a phenomenal book, some of which reads like good, old-fashioned travel narratives of earlier eras. Told over the space of nine chapters, the story alternates with the author's travels through Guyana, Surinam (or Suriname), and French Guiana. He's in good company: these regions were visited separately at one time b [...]

    8. Mad houses, prison islands, cult plantations, histories deep in colonisation, slavery and Jungle, with a pinch of the British and the Dutch, and a dollop of French (still being added), Guyana, Suriname and Guyane Francais are dissected and laid bare by John Gimlette.With the aid of a colourful cast of taxi drivers and boat owners John ambles across these three territories on the edge of the new world, nestled in Brazil’s tangled hair and uncovers a bloody past of oppression and revolt where se [...]

    9. I am a traveler, and was thrilled to find a book about a part of the world that is rarely written about. My expectation with this book was to really get a sense of the three countries - the culture, a little history, the peopled some reasons to follow the author's lead in visiting them. So I guess I was using Gimlette as an advance team. To his credit he did a very nicely detailed job, it's clear that he spent the time and did his homework. That said, there's something about his style that doesn [...]

    10. I always approach a new writer of literary travel books with some trepidation, having read so many excellent ones over the years and having found that more recent entrants to the genre are often not up to the mark. However, Gimlette is definitely an exception - and to be fair to him ,although it's the first book of his I've read, he has at least one other travel book under his belt. The impressive thing about this one is that he really takes time to get to know a country or region - several mont [...]

    11. This is one of the strangest books I've read in a long time. On one hand, it's about a part of the world that I--and most of the rest of the world--know next to nothing about, and after reading it, I have at last started to fill in some of the blanks in that part of my mental map. Yet there were some chapters (especially "The Golden Rupununi") in which Gimlette's descriptions of his travels were nonsensical, and even after rereading passages, I couldn't tell if it was the writing or the sheer st [...]

    12. Yay! A book full of history (which I like), abundant with gorgeous scenery (which I like) of places I travelled (which I like) almost at the same time the writer of this book was there. Thoroughly enjoyable! It would have been nice to have read this book before, or while traveling there, but hey, we can't have it all. It is great to recognize all the places and learn more about them and what formed them. Surely the Guianas and Suriname are amongst my weirdest destinations ever and even years lat [...]

    13. I loved Gimlette's "Theatre of Fish" covering his travels in Newfoundland and Labrador, but Gimlette's quirky writing style didn't work for me in this one. Some of it is my unfamiliarity with Guyana, Suriname and French Guyana, some of it is the brutal history of these places is just plain unpleasant to read about.

    14. I couldn't get through this book. It reads like he edited his travel journal and just published that. The history and stories are interresting, but the choppy construction made this impossible for me to enjoy.

    15. I must admit that while I am no stranger to odd travel writings, I am not a particularly wild traveler in the vein of this particular author [1].  One will not likely find me trying to harass a former head of state for an interview, but all the same I did find much of this book to be deeply interesting, not least because the author managed to split the difference between the unrealistic praise of a Sir Walter Raleigh and the unmitigated spleen of a much more cynical traveler like Evelyn Waugh, [...]

    16. Ages ago I was looking for books about travels in the Guianas, and there just weren't that many. But this book made my list.Overall an enjoyable ride - the author seemed to be together and did his research, although he was so British I had to look up a couple of things he said. The historical context was very helpful for me - I hadn't realized how rich the area had been at one time. I found the trip fascinating and the author very amenable. (Honestly, he reminded me of Tim Butcher.)

    17. I finished after the Guyana chapter (about half way through the book). Very informative and educational. Would have liked to continue reading and cover Suriname and French Guiana but ran out of time. So interesting though to get an insight into the three least well known South American countries!! ⭐️⭐️⭐️

    18. A great mix of history and travel to a most forbidding place. Who knows what the wild coast is like now? My guess is that there has been some shifting of humans but the jungle stays the same. Thanks to writers like Gimlette I get to visit for a while in the wild places on earth where I would never venture. There is no frigate and all that.

    19. Excellent ReadNever new much about this area, this book brought it all to life. This is a very interesting and entertaining read, of its history to present day. The author keeps a lively tempo throughout and doesn't get bogged down in useless facts all in all very well presented and written if you like a good travel story this is for you.

    20. This could have been so much better in my view. It dragged on and I just wasn't hooked even though I really wanted to be.

    21. A remarkable book of history and travel exploration in the three least-known countries of South America. Astonishing history. Astonishing places. Great writing.

    22. Gimlette, John. Wild Coast: Travels on South America’s Untamed Edge, Alfred A.Knopf, New York, 2012 (358pp.$28.95)The ungodly thrills and horrors of the wild coast---a stretch of 900 miles between the mouths of the Orinoco and the rivers in South America, first came to European attention through the medium of the miasmic and somewhat phantasmagoric imagination of Sir Walter Raleigh, whose account of his travels there (“The Discoverie of the Large, Rich and Bewtiful Empire of Guiana”), pub [...]

    23. Gimlette spent several months living and traveling in Guyana, Surinam, and French Guiana. He has a wry style which combined with his keen eye and research scholarship made for a most entertaining read. As he wanders about he describes what he sees and then relates the history of the places. This coast is so hot, humid, bug and snake infested that humans find it a hellish place. To this day few live here and they don’t seem to thrive. Many Europeans have tried to colonize the place, Dutch, Engl [...]

    24. Brilliant, lovely book! I don't think I can possibly love this book anymore than I do and am going to buy a hard copy as well. Definitely a book that I'm excited to share with others. I was hooked from the introduction, Gimlette managed to condense 300 odd years of history into a few, well written, intriguing paragraphs- amazing introduction! And it did get better from there, I loved the Georgetown segment, I learnt a lot in the Rupununi chapter. Gimlette intersperses ancient history with living [...]

    25. There is not a lot of literature written about the Guyanas -- three countries located in the Northeast of South America. Technically, it's two countries: Guyana (formerly British Guyana), Suriname (formerly Dutch Guyana), and French Guiana (actually part of France). In preparation for a trip to these three places places, I sought out modern literature and didn't find a whole lot. There is only one guidebook that even covers the Guayans together. Wild Coast was a great resource. The author is a j [...]

    26. The author's subject is the Guyanas - "a land comprising three different countries, three different cultures, three official languages, three currencies, myriad religions." It is a huge task which he has tackled with energy, extensive research and fortitude in the face of many adversities (do not overlook the sodomite snake.)This is part travel book, part history, the two interwoven skilfully and mostly seamlessly. The tribes encountered are of varying degrees of hospitality, the characters are [...]

    27. On the whole, this is a genuinely interesting book. It discusses an area of the world that is not often discussed by Westerners. Most people, in fact, wouldn't even know where the Guianas are. He starts off in Guyana, the former British colony, and describes in wonderful detail the things that are going on now and the history of the country. Slightly less than half of the book is dedicated to this country, which is fine, because it is definitely the most riveting part of the book.Once he moves o [...]

    28. This is not a travelogue of 21st century experience. It is "wild" only in that those countries in the northeast corner of South America are much less known through out the world than regions through the world, perhaps only parts of Indonesia and West Africa excepted. So what is this?Gimlette writes smoothly, and the reader soon learns that the author is working his way around from north to south while gathering unusual events from past centuries as historic vignettes - generally well known to hi [...]

    29. I was glad to learn more about Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana since I rarely hear much about these countries. None of these countries seem to be thriving. All are dealing with the consequences of colonial powers who did little to develop a healthy economy or political stability. The countries have very little development beyond the coast. Because of the jungle landscape many indigenous people have had little exposure to the modern world.France is still in control of French Guiana whose clai [...]

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