Sebastian Shakespeare

Listening to the Forest Grow

A Land of Ghosts: The Braided Lives of People and the Forest in Far Western Amazonia

By

Jonathan Cape 260pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

THIS IS A profoundly depressing book. It is not so much a clarion call to save the Amazon as a lament for the wholesale destruction of the jungle and its indigenous population, which the author accepts as inevitable. Languages and species die out before his eyes. Within two generations, he predicts, the Amazon rainforest will be destroyed, both as a wilderness and as a functioning ecosystem. ‘It is an old story, stale news by now,’ he writes. ‘Yet the loss of this place, I’m convinced, will be the most egregious event of a generation of atrocities.’ The consequences will be felt not just for the next 500 years, he believes, but for the next five million.

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