The Thief at the End of the World: Rubber, Power, and the Seeds of Empire

Penguin, 2008 - 414 páginas
The story of one man’s journey down the Amazon—and how it changed history

In 1876, a man named Henry Wickham smuggled seventy thousand rubber tree seeds out of the rainforests of Brazil and delivered them to Victorian England’s most prestigious scientists at Kew Gardens. Those seeds, planted around the world in England’s colonial outposts, gave rise to the great rubber boom of the early twentieth century—an explosion of entrepreneurial and scientific industry that would change the world. The story of how Wickham got his hands on those seeds—a sought-after prize for which many suffered and died—is the stuff of legend. In this utterly engaging account of obsession, greed, bravery, and betrayal, author and journalist Joe Jackson brings to life a classic Victorian fortune hunter and the empire that fueled, then abandoned, him.

In his single-minded pursuit of glory, Wickham faced deadly insects, poisonous snakes, horrific illnesses, and, ultimately, the neglect and contempt of the very government he wished to serve. His idealism and determination, as well as his outright thievery, perfectly encapsulate the essential nature of Great Britain’s colonial adventure in South America. The Thief at the End of the Worldis a thrilling true story of reckless courage and ambition.

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LibraryThing Review

Crítica de los usuarios  - Katong - LibraryThing

A bit uneven, with the author trying too hard in place, but still a very interesting read. Didn't realize how long was the gap between Markham's transport of the hevea seedlings to Asia and the adoption of hevea as a plantation crop. Looks like Ridley is more the key to that transition. Leer comentario completo

LibraryThing Review

Crítica de los usuarios  - lindap69 - LibraryThing

a history of the rubber industry and one of the rapes of the Amazon forest told through the stories of the adventurers -- well crafted story makes the history come alive Leer comentario completo


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Página 364 - History of a Voyage to the Land of Brazil, Otherwise Called America. Containing the Navigation and the Remarkable Things Seen on the Sea by the Author; the Behavior of Villegagnon in That Country; the Customs and Strange Ways of Life of the American Savages; Together with the Description of Various Animals, Trees, Plants, and Other Singular Things Completely Unknown over Here.

Acerca del autor (2008)

Joe Jackson is the author of one novel and four nonfiction titles, including Leavenworth Train, which was a finalist for the 2002 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime. He worked for twelve years as an investigative reporter for the Virginian-Pilot, covering criminal justice and death row.

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