The Burning Season
6 x 9
6 x 9
"In the rain forests of the western Amazon," writes author Andrew Revkin, "the threat of violent death hangs in the air like mist after a tropical rain. It is simply a part of the ecosystem, just like the scorpions and snakes cached in the leafy canopy that floats over the forest floor like a seamless green circus tent."
Violent death came to Chico Mendes in the Amazon rain forest on December 22, 1988. A labor and environmental activist, Mendes was gunned down by powerful ranchers for organizing resistance to the wholesale burning of the forest. He was a target because he had convinced the government to take back land ranchers had stolen at gunpoint or through graft and then to transform it into "extractive reserves," set aside for the sustainable production of rubber, nuts, and other goods harvested from the living forest.
This was not just a local land battle on a remote frontier. Mendes had invented a kind of reverse globalization, creating alliances between his grassroots campaign and the global environmental movement. Some 500 similar killings had gone unprosecuted, but this case would be different. Under international pressure, for the first time Brazilian officials were forced to seek, capture, and try not only an Amazon gunman but the person who ordered the killing.
In this reissue of the environmental classic The Burning Season, with a new introduction by the author, Andrew Revkin artfully interweaves the moving story of Mendes's struggle with the broader natural and human history of the world's largest tropical rain forest. "It became clear," writes Revkin, acclaimed science reporter for The New York Times, "that the murder was a microcosm of the larger crime: the unbridled destruction of the last great reservoir of biological diversity on Earth." In his life and untimely death, Mendes forever altered the course of development in the Amazon, and he has since become a model for environmental campaigners everywhere.
"An admirable work...compelling. A clear, informative account of the clash in the dark heart of the rain forest."
The New York Times
"In a category of excellence of its own."
The Washington Post Book World
The Boston Globe
"The Burning Season is environmental journalism at its best, addressing a globally important issue with a riveting crime story, excellent natural history, and a brighter future for humanity foreseen."
Edward O. Wilson, author of Consilience and The Future of Life
Chapter 1. The Burning Season
Chapter 2. Amazonia
Chapter 3. Weeping Wood
Chapter 4. Jungle Book
Chapter 5. Coming of Age in the Rain Forest
Chapter 6. Roads to Ruin
Chapter 7. The Fight for the Forest
Chapter 8. The Wild West
Chapter 9. Joining Forces
Chapter 10. The Greening of Chico Mendes
Chapter 11. An Innocent Abroad
Chapter 12. Into the Fire
Chapter 13. The Dying Season
Map of South America, Brazil and the Amazon
The Murder Scene
A Resource Guide