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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2011-05-01
  • Publisher: Counterpoint
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For centuries, the Andes have caught the imagination of travelers, inspiring fear and wonder. The groundbreaking scientist Alexander von Humboldt claimed that “everything here is grander and more majestic than in the Swiss Alps, the Pyrenees, the Carpathians, the Apennines, and all other mountains I have known.” Rivaled in height only by the Himalayas and stretching more than 4,500 miles, the sheer immensity of the Andes is matched by its concentration of radically contrasting scenery and climates, and the rich and diverse cultures of the people who live there.

In this remarkable book, travel writer Michael Jacobs journeys across seven different countries, from the balmy Caribbean to the inhospitable islands of the Tierra del Fuego, through the relics of ancient civilizations and the remnants of colonial rule, retracing the footsteps of previous travelers. His route begins in Venezuela, following the path of the great nineteenth-century revolutionary Simón Bolívar, but soon diverges to include accounts from sources as varied as Humboldt, the young Charles Darwin, and Bolívar’s extraordinary and courageous mistress, Manuela Saenz. On his way, Jacobs uncovers the stories of those who have shared his fascination and discovers the secrets of a region steeped in history, science, and myth.

Author Biography

Michael Jacobs is the author of several travel books, including The Factory of Light: Tales from my Andalucian Village, which was shortlisted for the 2004 Thomas Cook Travel Book Award. He lives in Spain and London.

Table of Contents

List of mapsp. ix
List of illustrationsp. xi
Foreword: Long Ago and Far Awayp. 1
The View From Afar
How It All Beganp. 7
Cabinets of Curiositiesp. 17
The Tropics
Hotel Humboldtp. 29
Distant Mountainsp. 37
Bolívar's Dreamp. 48
Bolívar, Mirror of the Andesp. 59
Nevado the Dogp. 80
Deliriump. 90
The Consolation of Plantsp. 108
To the Enchanted Lakep. 125
The Centre
Journeys to the Middle of the Worldp. 149
Andean Baroquep. 172
Climbing the Volcanoesp. 207
Lost Treasuresp. 223
Heart of the Andesp. 251
Ancient Roadsp. 269
Omensp. 283
Extreme Adversitiesp. 297
And the Mountains Came to the Cityp. 320
Blood Fiestap. 339
Shining Pathsp. 354
Resurrectionp. 389
Villages of the Runaway Slavesp. 429
The South
Lengthening Shadowsp. 465
Spain was Herep. 495
Where the Andes Endp. 533
Further Readingp. 547
Acknowledgementsp. 551
Illustration Creditsp. 555
Indexp. 557
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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