Archives for February 2017

The Last of the Tribe: The Epic Quest to Save a Lone Man in the Amazon

The Last of the Tribe: The Epic Quest to Save a Lone Man in the AmazonThe Last of the Tribe: The Epic Quest to Save a Lone Man in the Amazon by Monte Reel
Format: Hardback
on January 1st 1970
Pages: 273

Goodreads

Throughout the centuries, the Amazon has yielded many of its secrets, but it still holds a few great mysteries. In 1996 experts got their first glimpse of one: a lone Indian, a tribe of one, hidden in the forests of southwestern Brazil. Previously uncontacted tribes are extremely rare, but a one-man tribe was unprecedented. And like all of the isolated tribes in the Amazonian frontier, he was in danger.
Resentment of Indians can run high among settlers, and the consequences can be fatal. The discovery of the Indian prevented local ranchers from seizing his land, and led a small group of men who believed that he was the last of a murdered tribe to dedicate themselves to protecting him. These men worked for the government, overseeing indigenous interests in an odd job that was part Indiana Jones, part social worker, and were among the most experienced adventurers in the Amazon. They were a motley crew that included a rebel who spent more than a decade living with a tribe, a young man who left home to work in the forest at age fourteen, and an old-school sertanista with a collection of tall tales amassed over five decades of jungle exploration.
Their quest would prove far more difficult than any of them could imagine. Over the course of a decade, the struggle to save the Indian and his land would pit them against businessmen, politicians, and even the Indian himself, a man resolved to keep the outside world at bay at any cost. It would take them into the furthest reaches of the forest and to the halls of Brazil’s Congress, threatening their jobs and even their lives. Ensuring the future of the Indian and his land would lead straight to the heart of the conflict over the Amazon itself.
A heart-pounding modern-day adventure set in one of the world’s last truly wild places, The Last of the Tribe is a riveting, brilliantly told tale of encountering the unknown and the unfathomable, and the value of preserving it.

This book is a nice overview of how Brazil is handling the indigenous population of the Amazon. In 1996 in the state of Rondonia, in the Northwest of Brazil sharing a border with Bolivia, the Brazilian government’s Indigenous Affairs Department (FUNAI) found a single male living alone in the forest. For ten years they attempted to make contact with him, to protect him from the heavy settlement happening in the state. Interspersed with the search for this one last tribesman, is the modern-day story of how Brazil is dealing with their indigenous population. Finally in 2006, though the FUNAI never made contact with the lone tribesman, the Brazilian government set aside 31 square acres for him. Once the lone tribesman is gone, the land will revert to a natural reserve.

Today there are about a 100 tribes that have not been contacted within Brazil and they wish to stay that way. Additional pictures and stories are available at Survival International

The book is a little slow at times, but an excellent read and well worth the read if interested in either the Amazon or the indigenous Peoples of the Americas.

Frozen Assets

Frozen AssetsFrozen Assets by Quentin Bates
Format: ebook
Published by Soho Crime on May 10th 2014
Pages: 330

Goodreads
Series: Officer Gunnhilder #1

A body is found floating in the harbor of a rural Icelandic fishing village. Was it an accident, or something more sinister? It's up to Officer Gunnhildur, a sardonic female cop, to find out. Her investigation uncovers a web of corruption connected to Iceland's business and banking communities. Meanwhile, a rookie crime journalist latches onto her, looking for a scoop, and an anonymous blogger is stirring up trouble. The complications increase, as do the stakes, when a second murder is committed. "Frozen Assets" is a piercing look at the endemic corruption that led to the global financial crisis that bankrupted Iceland's major banks and sent the country into an economic tailspin from which it has yet to recover.

It is interesting to read a murder mystery in a country where murder is all but non-existent, over the last two decades, an average of about two people have been murdered annually in the small and prosperous nation of 336,000. It has had entire years — 2003, 2006 and 2008 — when not a single person was murdered. Just recently, the murder of a 20 Icelander woman made the New York Times.

Iceland like the United States suffered the 2008 financial crisis, unlike the United States, the Icelandic government let its three major banks – Kaupthing, Glitnir and Landsbankinn – fail and went after reckless bankers. Many senior executives were jailed and the country’s ex-prime minister Geir Haarde was also put on trial, becoming the first world leader to face criminal prosecution arising from the turmoil. although he was cleared of negligence.

With the impending financial crisis as a backdrop Frozen Assets introduces Officer Gunnhildur, single mother, widow, police officer. After finding a body on a beach, Officer Gunnhildur does not accept the accidental death theory, she stumbles into a scheme that the energy minister and his wife are up too to make money at the expense of the taxpayer. Reading about police procedures in other countries is always interesting, unlike Arnaldur Indridason books, Quentin Bates books are not so dark and brooding. Be ready to be confused by the names.