A Glimpse into Unknown, Wild Territory
By John Gimlette
Vintage Books, $16.95, 358 pages
John Gimlette’s Wild Coast introduces the reader to a wild, untamed and mostly unknown area in South America. Gimlette’s book about Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana reveals a swampy, forested land with a rich history and interesting stories. There are maps, historical illustrations and photos interspersed throughout the book. He reveals how the European love of sugar influenced the domination of these lands by Europeans as well as the influx of slavery. Jaguars roam the land and are considered pests because of all the cattle they kill.
Guiana is still mainly known for the Jim Jones mass murder/suicide in the late ’70s and the land sits vacant. Suriname was ruled by the Dutch; Gimlette shares evidence of the Dutch influence still present today.
Gimlette’s Wild Coast gives the reader insight into a primarily unknown area of South America. Life is not easy and the landscape is unforgiving. Gimlette writes using factual details peppered with historical nuggets. Anyone interested in this area will be fascinated, but probably still hesitant to book tickets anytime soon.
Reviewed by Seniye Groff