John Hemming avec Naturalists in Paradise : Wallace, Bates and Spruce in the Amazon
Alfred Russel Wallace, Henry Walter Bates and Richard Spruce were English naturalists who went to Amazonia 150 years ago. This book is the first to combine all three young mens experiences of the Amazon, drawing heavily on their own letters and books. All three explored an unknown river and had many thrilling adventures: violent attacks of malaria, fearful rapids, murder attempts, encounters with newly contacted indigenous peoples, shipwrecks, and many other hardships. In addition to their huge contributions to knowledge of the Amazonian environment, each is particularly famous for one discovery. Wallace is acknowledged as a co-discoverer, along with Charles Darwin, of the theory of evolution. Bates discovered protective mimicry among insects, a phenomenon named after him. Spruce transported the quinine-bearing Cinchona tree, the most important medicinal plant of the nineteenth century, to India, where it saved countless lives from malaria.
The story has found its ideal author in John Hemming. --Times Literary Supplement
Hemming's fascination [with the Amazon] shines out of every page ... a compelling story ... Hemming tells the story of this extraordinary trio without hype, wisely content to let the facts and their own reflections speak largely for themselves. --Daily Mail
clear and compelling ... Hemming tells a hardly believable story with great clarity and sympathy. --Financial Times
I have read every individual biography of these three men, and Naturalists in Paradise is by far the best history of their lives in the Amazon ... a little piece of intellectual paradise. --Spectator
A compelling narrative ... the great strength of the book is its synthesis of these three remarkable lives. --Literary Review
An excellent addition to the slew of biographies of eminent Victorians. --Nature
Hemming uses the naturalists' writings and his own deep knowledge of the Amazon in a story that has all the elements of a Victorian adventure. --The Field
Hemming turns the technical nightmare of combined biographies into a seamless daydream ... his book is itself a little piece of intellectual paradise. --The Oldie
This beautifully crafted book is not only a pleasure to handle but also a valuable reference work as it is complemented by a substantial bibliography and detailed cross-references. --Archives of Natural History
4 out of 5 stars. --Daily Telegraph
An even-paced account of Wallace, Bates and Spruce's key finds, and the tough journey that took them there. --Wanderlust
A lively and immensely readable book. --Society of Antiquaries Newsletter
Formerly the Director of the Royal Geographical Society in London, John Hemming has traveled in and written extensively about the Amazon region. His previous books include Tree of Rivers.