The Sea and the Jungle Author:H. M. Tomlinson From amazon.com review by Victor A. Vyssotsky: — Tomlinson traveled in a ship hauling cargo to the head of navigation on the Madeira River, cargo for construction of the Madeira-Mamore railway. At that time, the upper reaches of the Madeira were as wild and inaccessible as any place on earth, including Antarctica. It's said that a man died for ev... more »ery cross-tie on the railroad, and that's probably not a huge exaggeration. So Tomlinson's trip was a true adventure, even though his writing style is modest.
His account of the Amazon and the Madeira near the beginning of the 20th century is fascinating, and his anecdotes about his time at the construction site are hilarious. He comes across as a modest man with an adventurous streak and a wonderful sense of humor. This book is a delight to read as a sheer travel adventure.
It is also the only easy-reading description I've encountered of what was then the sheer wilderness of much of Amazonia was like before it was opened up by the advent of airplanes and the construction of the Trans-Amazon Highway. Even now, much of Brazil's part of the Amazon basin is wild, but now one can get in and out of all but the most remote spots conveniently. In Tomlinson's day, a million square miles was still mostly unmapped and almost unexplored; reading this book is an easy way of learning what true wilderness was like.« less