The crisis of the Amazon rainforest began a century ago when it was discovered to be a source of rubber. This brought commercial interests into collision with the Amazon’s complex ecology—its plants, its animals, and its peoples. At the height of the rubber boom in the beginning of this century, a young American, John 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. The diary was edited by Sir Ghillean Prance, leading expert of the rainforest and former Director (emeritus) of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, England, one of the foremost botanical gardens in the world. The diaries are more poignant now than ever due to the onslaught of extractivist policies that threaten to encroach the Amazon and rain destruction upon the region, its incomprehensible biodiversity, and the peoples to which it is home. White Gold is a tale of humanity and the natural order working together in the midst of greed and ignorance. Dr. Prance enhances the text with his own contemporary photographs, identifying the fungi, plants and animals which are mentioned in the pages of the diaries.
“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