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The Lost Amazon chronicles the journeys of legendary explorer, botanist, and counter-culture icon, Richard Evans Schultes.
Regarded as the father of ethnobotany and described by his protégé Wade Davis as the last of the great plant explorers in the Victorian tradition,” Schultes revealed the botanical identity of teonanacatl, the sacred hallucinogenic mushroom known to the Aztecs as the flesh of the gods.” Soon after, in 1941, he left Harvard for the Amazon, intending to be gone for only a semester. Instead, he disappeared into the rain forest and spent the next twelve years in pursuit of its mysteries. He lived among dozens of local tribes, mapped unknown rivers, sought out sources of rubber for the U.S. government during World War II, and discovered over 300 new plant species.
As gifted a photographer as he was a scientist, Schultes’s exquisite images capture the lush landscapes of his journey and his deep empathy with the peoples he lived among. The Lost Amazon is the story of one man’s astonishing journey and an unrivaled anthropological record of a way of life that can never be recaptured.
Richard Evans Schultes (19112001) was widely considered the preeminent authority on hallucinogenic and medicinal plants, and is regarded as the father of ethnobotany.” He published ten books and more than four hundred and fifty scientific articles, and in 1992 received the gold medal of the Linnean Society of London, which is often equated with the Nobel Prize for botany. Schultes’s research into hallucinogenic plants made some of his books cult favorites among drug experimenters in the 1960s. His findings also influenced such cultural icons as Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, William Burroughs, and Carlos Castenada.
Wade Davis studied for several years with Richard Evans Schultes while getting his Ph.D. in ethnobotany and is a critically acclaimed, internationally best-selling author and anthropologist, whose many books include The Serpent and the Rainbow, One River, The Wayfinders, and Into the Silencewinner of the 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize, the top award for literary nonfiction in the English language. Between 1999 and 2013, Davis served as explorer-in-residence at the National Geographic Society and he is currently professor of anthropology and the LEEF Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia.
Chris Murray edited Schultes's remarkable photographs and journals for publication in The Lost Amazon as well as curated other fine photography books, is the founder and director of Govinda Gallery in Washington D.C., where he lives. An exhibition based on The Lost Amazon, originating at the Govinda Gallery and subsequently touring, is among the more than two hundred exhibitions he has organized.
Andrew Weil, M.D., is a world-renowned leader and pioneer in the field of integrative medicine. Dr. Weil is the founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, where he is also a Clinical Professor of Medicine, Professor of Public Health, and the Lovell-Jones Professor of Integrative Rheumatology. Dr. Weil received both his medical degree and his undergraduate AB degree in biology (botany) from Harvard University. Approximately ten million copies of Dr. Weil's books have been sold worldwide.