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White Gold: the Diary of a Rubber Cutter in the Amazon 1896-1906

By John C. Yungjohann

Edited by Sir Ghillean Prance

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White Gold: The Diary of a Rubber Cutter in the Amazon 1896 – 1906, is a tale of humanity and the natural order working together in the midst of greed and ignorance. The crisis of the Amazon rainforest began more than a century ago when prospectors discovered the region was a rich source for rubber. This brought commercial interests into collision with the Amazon’s complex ecology—its plants, animals, and people. At the height of the rubber boom in the beginning of the 20th century, a young American, John Yungjohann, went to seek his fortune as a rubber cutter in Brazil, only to find himself struggling for survival.

John C. Yungjohann

John C. Yungjohann was a tile setter from New York who went to seek his fortune in Brazil
at the turn of the century as a rubber cutter, only to find himself struggling for survival. His diary documented some of the horrors of daily life for a rubber cutter at the height of the Amazon rubber boom, exposing the debt economy the Rubber Barons set up to entrap many others works to who couldn’t get back out. John was one of the few who did. He was an adventurer and an artist, died of natural causes in 1930 back in New York City.

Sir Ghillean Prance

Professor Sir Ghillean Prance is Director (emeritus) of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, UK, and a leading figure in the ecology, taxonomy and ethnobotany of the Amazon Basin. From 1981 to 1988, he served as the Vice-President for Science at the New York Botanical Garden and as Founding-Director of the New York Botanical Garden’s Institute of Economic Botany. He is a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London and the Explorers Club, a Member of the Royal Danish Academy of Science and Letters, and a Corresponding Member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences. He is currently Scientific Director of the Eden Project, in Cornwall, England.

Description

White Gold: The Diary of a Rubber Cutter in the Amazon 1896 – 1906, is a tale of humanity and the natural order working together in the midst of greed and ignorance. The crisis of the Amazon rainforest began more than a century ago when prospectors discovered the region was a rich source for rubber. This brought commercial interests into collision with the Amazon’s complex ecology—its plants, animals, and people. At the height of the rubber boom in the beginning of the 20th century, a young American, John Yungjohann, went to seek his fortune as a rubber cutter in Brazil, only to find himself struggling for survival.

White Gold‘s editor, Sir Ghillean Prance, leading expert of the rainforest and former director (emeritus) of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, England, has enhanced Yungiohann’s text with his own contemporary photographs and identified the fungi, plants and animals mentioned in the pages of the diary. Yungiohann’s words are especially poignant today as an onslaught of extractivist policies threaten the Amazon and rain destruction upon the region, its incomprehensible biodiversity, and the peoples to which it is home.

White Gold–like the Colombian classic La Voragine–sets forth the depravity of ruthless men who stop at nothing to exploit their fellows, heedless of their sufferings and deaths in the unfamiliar jungle environment where they hoped to earn a living…” — Dr. Richard Evans Schultes

“A thoroughly pleasing, easy reading, and would make a good supplement to a high school or college course that deals with economic plants of the Amazon … Plan on reading it in one sitting.” — George K. Rogers, Missouri Botanical Garden

“…an extremely interesting look at one man’s experiences and adventures as a rubber tapper in the Brazilian Amazon during the rubber boom. The same life and death dramas are being played out today throughout the Amazon Valley…” — Dr. Michael J. Balick, Director Institute of Economic Botany, New York Botanical Gardens

Additional information

Weight .4375 lbs
Dimensions 6 × 8.5 × .3 in
Format

Paperback, eBook

Pages 0

2 reviews for White Gold: the Diary of a Rubber Cutter in the Amazon 1896-1906

  1. greggw

    It is thoroughly pleasing, easy reading and would make a good supplement to a high-lelvel college course that deals with economic plants on the Amazon… Plan on reading it in one sitting.
    —George K. Rogers, Missouri Botanical Gardens

  2. greggw

    Readers of this journal will find this first hand account fascinating and will appreciate the efforts of a work-weary rubber cutter to not only survive the experience but to write about it.
    —Willard Van Adsall, Journal of Ethnobiology

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