Sep 04, 12
Read from August 05 to September 01, 2012
When your mission is to find the Temple of Doom and turn back instead of going in, that tends to not make for the greatest story.
The whole purpose of embarking on this harrowing journey into the unmapped depths of the Amazon was to do nothing, and the expedition itself was part of a hard-fought, but ultimately losing battle—Not your typical adventure chronicle. I think these factors are what caused my feeling of discontentment at the book's conclusion. I couldn't help but want some kind of uplifting facts or figures to prove that it was all worthwhile, but Sydney was fired and Nicholas died. Since the events of the book, the Amazon has suffered terrible, destructive droughts and been looted by logging and oil companies allowed in by governments desperate for revenue. Uncontacted tribes continue to be victims of first-world greed.
True—this book isn't meant to be an environmental or anthropological call-to-arms, but the author just seems to be saying, "This happened." He doesn't offer much commentary beyond his personal gripes about his cohorts. The final chapters seemed rushed through, as though his desperation to get out of the Amazon colored the way he felt about writing the conclusion to his book. He's said that, had he known how difficult the expedition was going to be, he wouldn't have gone. I think that attitude comes through in his writing, making the experience seem more like torture than a rare and extraordinary adventure.
Maybe, had Wallace taken a little bit more of a stance on the pertinent issues concerning FUNAI and their policies, that would have added more depth to the tale. As it stands though, I can't truly love this book (even thought I really wanted to) because I can't shake the lingering feeling that something was missing.