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The Spears of Twilight: Life and Death in the Amazon Jungle

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  24 ratings  ·  1 review
The Spears of Twilight is the extraordinary story of three years among the legendary Jivaro Indians of South America by Philippe Descola, a student of Claude Levi-Strauss. Isolated in the jungle of the Upper Amazon on the border of Ecuador and Peru, the Achuar are a tribe of Jivaros whose reputation for headhunting has kept them safe for centuries from incursions by whites ...more
Paperback, 464 pages
Published April 1st 1998 by New Press, The (first published January 7th 1993)
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Descola cast his memoirs of youthful fieldwork (he and Anne Christine Taylor lived with the Ecuadorian jivaro from 1976 to 1978, and the book was published in 1993) in a novelistic form (he uses present tense and first person, begins each chapter with a dramatic episode, and manages to wedge the ethnographic information into a systematic form while retaining a chronological narrative.) The writing, organization, and informational content are wonderful. It sometimes became confusing because so m ...more
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“In marked contrast to the relaxed, typically Latin attitude of the Dominicans the Protestant missionaries were still proceeding at full blast with the fight for souls. These North American evangelists of strictly fundamentalist inclination combined in a curious fashion strict adhesion to the literal meaning of the Old Testament With mastery of the most modern technology. Most of them came from small towns in the Bible Belt, armed with unshakably clear consciences and a rudimentary smattering of theology, convinced that they alone were the repositories of Christian values now abolished elsewhere. Totally ignorant of the vast world, despite their transplantation, and taking the few articles of morality accepted in the rural Amenca of their childhoods to be a universal credo, they strove bravely to spread these principles of salvation all around them.
Their rustic faith was well served by a flotilla of light aircraft, a powerful radio, an ultra-modern hospital and four-wheel-drive vehicles -- in short, all the equipment that a battalion of crusaders dropped behind enemy lines needed.”
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