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Running the Amazon


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About the Author

Joe Kane's Phantom of the Movies columns and reviews have appeared in the New York Daily News. He also publishes The Phantom of the Movies' VideoScope: The Ultimate Genre-Video Guide magazine, read by movie lovers and industry insiders alike. He lives in New York City.


YA-- From the continental divide in the Peruvian Andes to the Atlantic Ocean, Kane hauls readers along with the multi-national crew striving to be the first group to traverse the Amazon River from its snowfield source to its fog-clad drain into the Atlantic. Originally hired to document and report the expedition, Kane found himself learning to kayak in order to survive and to earn a permanent place on the troubled expedition. Plagued by freezing temperatures, flu, heat, malaria, violent storms, and an ineffectual leader, the six months on the river brought deadly white-water rapids, communist guerrillas, and thrills that only four of the original ten crew members were able to endure to the climax of the expedition. This action-packed adventure story will appeal to young adult fiction and nonfiction readers alike. --Gwen Salama, Hastings High School, Alief I.S.D., TX :

It was an ill-assorted multinational party of 10 men and one woman; their object was to run the 4200 miles of the Amazon, from a snowfield in the Peruvian Andes to the Atlantic Ocean. Kane was the only American in the group. Of the original 11, only four, Kane among them, reached the sea, six months after the start. This is a spine-tingling adventure narrative that leaves the reader eager to learn what next will befall these hapless travelers. They encountered extremes of weather, altitude sickness, suicidal rapids, armed guerrillas; they met Indians who had never encountered white people; they camped on the grounds of a cocaine factory. Kane gives a vivid account of running the rapids--some of the members were swept into the river, barely escaping death. It was a grueling journey and a historic one--this expedition was the first to paddle the entire length of the Amazon. Photos not seen by PW. (June)

In 1985 11 people from five countries began the 4200-mile trip down the Amazon; four finished six months later. Kane, a U.S. journalist and observer/participant, was one of the four. The first 500 miles of the trip began at 17,000 feet in the Peruvian mountains and ran through gorges deeper than the Grand Canyon and so wild that they had never been completely run. Kane writes sensitively of river dangers, environmental effects of development, Shining Path guerrillas, Inca descendants, drug traffic in Columbia, and the personal challenges and team accomplishment in doing what no one had done before. This is an adventure story, but it also is a thoughtful account of an area little known but increasingly important worldwide. Recommended for most libraries.-- Roland Person, Southern Illinois Univ. Lib., Carbondale

"Running the Amazon is old-fashioned travel writing, where accreditation is gained in courses of misery....Kane...has created a moving diorama, an excited sense of the earth's ceaseless variety." -- The New York Times Book Review

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