Thief at the End of the World : Rubber, Power, and the Seeds of Empire

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  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-02-24
  • Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics)
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The story of one man's journey down the Amazon-and how it changed historyIn 1876, a man named Henry Wickham smuggled 70,000 rubber tree seeds out of the rainforests of Brazil and delivered them to Victorian England's most prestigious scientists at Kew Gardens. Those seeds, planted around the world in England's colonial outposts, gave rise to the great rubber boom of the early twentieth century-an explosion of entrepreneurial and scientific industry that would change the world. The story of how Wickham got his hands on those seeds-a sought-after prize for which many suffered and died-is the stuff of legend. In this thrilling real-life account of bravery, greed, obsession, and ultimate betrayal, award-winning author Joe Jackson brings to life the story of a fortune hunter and his collaboration with the empire that fueled then abandon him.'Fascinating . . . an admirable mix of botanical detail and storyteller's verve.'- THE WALL STREET JOURNAL'A fabulous story, well told . . . this story moves and haunts.'- LOS ANGELES TIMES'Wickham's life is a stone-cold historical thriller, a black comedy and one of the great secret fables of the modern age.'- TIME

Author Biography

Joe Jackson is the author of one novel and four nonfiction titles, including Leavenworth Train, which was a finalist for the 2002 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime.

Table of Contents

Prologue: Henry's Dreamp. 1
The Need
The Fortunate Sonp. 19
Nature Belongs to Manp. 34
The New Worldp. 53
The Mortal Riverp. 75
Instruments of the Elastic Godp. 100
The Source
The Return of the Planterp. 119
The Junglep. 136
The Seedsp. 153
The Voyage of the Amazonasp. 173
The World
The Edge of the Worldp. 197
The Talking Crossp. 217
Rubber Madnessp. 237
The Vindicated Manp. 263
Epilogue: The Monument of Needp. 291
World Rubber Production, 1905-1922p. 305
The World's Rubber Requirements, 1922p. 306
New York Price Quotations for Crude Rubberp. 307
Glossaryp. 309
Notesp. 313
Bibliographyp. 363
Acknowledgmentsp. 391
Indexp. 397
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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