Amazonia contains by far the world's largest river and the greatest expanse of tropical rain forest, home to the greatest biological diversity on the planet. This enthralling book brilliantly explains why the rain forest is crucial for our planet's survival, and vividly describes the passionate struggles that have taken place to utilize, protect and understand it. John Hemming's thrilling account recalls the adventures and misadventures of intrepid explorers, Jesuits and the rubber barons who enslaved thousands of Indians. It also tells of nineteenth-century botanists, humanitarians and advocates for Indian rights, as well as the archaeologists and anthropologists who have uncovered the secrets of early man here. Hemming also describes the Amazon's flora, fauna and natural beauty, all now under threat as the forests are destroyed to feed our appetite for timber, beef and soya.