The former editor of Adirondack Life provides a profound and entertaining account of his odyssey by canoe along the Usumacinta River and its tributaries along the border of Guatemala and Mexico, a little known region that once spawned the ancient Olmec and Maya civilizations of Mesoamerica....
|Title||:||Sacred Monkey River: A Canoe Trip with the Gods|
|Publisher||:||W W Norton 1 edition August 2000|
|Number of Pages||:||320 pages|
|File Size||:||862 KB|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
Sacred Monkey River: A Canoe Trip with the Gods Reviews
This book is one of the best written about a river. Contrary to what many "adrenaline junkies" think about paddling, running rivers is not merely about the thrill of whitewater. It is about using the water as a means to tour, learning about a new region, and dealing with the difficulties that the water itself presents. Shaw describes both his aspirations to run the entire Jatate-Lacantun-Usumacinta as well as all aspects surrounding these rivers and the trips: the wildlife, rapids, Mayan ruins, Mayan culture, history, current political situation, assaults, and plans for damming. Shaw breathes life into the river journey and gives it so much more meaning. The vocabulary he uses in his descriptions is impressive. Having paddled pretty much every river in Mexico, including the entire Jatate-Lacantuan-Usumacinta recently, I can state with confidence that Shaw's research and eloquent descriptive prose about this particular journey made the trip one of the most fulfilling that I have ever done. Good job Shaw, and thank you.
I was disappointed after getting to the end of the book to find out that the author only navegated half-way down the Usumacinta. It's like reading a book about someone who goes half-way up Everest! I understand his reasoning (security) and financial limitations, however the security situation dramatically improved shortly after he left and he could have easily finished the trip. Putting in the extra effort and completing the task would have definitely improved the book and the author's contribution to the world's body of knowledge. His insights on the Mayan's use of rivers for commerce and the east/west trade routes are excellent. His thorough research into the more recent history of the area was also excellent.
(From Planeta Journal) - Ready to explore one of the world's most intriguing regions? Take your trip with Christopher Shaw who introduces readers to the Usumacinta River and its magnificent watershed that stretches across the Mexico-Guatemala border in his new book, Sacred Monkey River (New York: W.W. Norton, 2000).
I picked this book up because when I'd read the exploration stories last year in Johnson & Coates "Nabokov's Blues" I'd gotten fascinated by their short accounts of the early penetrations of the Amazon and Oronoco rivers by Spanish and Portuguese explorers; then I'd read another book, a journal of a hike and canoe trek along Africa's Niger River and, before that, John Wesley Powell (see below). This book, Sacred Monkey River I thought would give me a chance to taste this kind of adventure not only in modern times but at book length. Bingo! If you're fascinated by this kind of adventure, where the adventurer doesn't know what's next until the next turn, and want it in the context of learning about the legacy and culture of a nation and civilization you'll like Shaw's book immensely. It differs from the others in being directly aimed, in some detail, at "studied reflection" about the area being explored. As to the adventure itself, John Wesley Powell summed it up with the words "What lies ahead, we know not..." (The Exploration of the Colorado River...); Nabokov said "The boom of the water...was enough to stun a man" (Nabokov's Blues). More in the great traditional of true adventure tales! Good job.