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Lost in the Amazon: The True Story of Five…

Lost in the Amazon: The True Story of Five Men and their Desperate Battle…

by Stephen Kirkpatrick

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Lost in the Amazon by Stephen Kirkpatrick is his tale of what happened on his expedition to photograph nature deep in the Amazon jungle as they became lost and ended up having an exhaustive and terrifying experience. I did enjoy the adventure part of the story, but to me, the survival aspect was overdone as they seemed to go astray due to very poor planning and lack of good judgement. One of the biggest problems I could see was that the members of the group, in particular the author himself, kept wandering off on their own and getting turned around in the jungle. Basically, when this happened they simply had to hunker down and wait for their Indian guide to find them and guide them back to the others.

The author stressed how important this trip was to him financially. He was having difficulties making ends meet and acquiring some good pictures to sell could help to get him back on his feet. When his camera became clogged with moisture and he had to stop taking pictures, I began to wonder if this story of “survival” was simply a way to make some money to cover the loss of his photographs. Whatever, his descriptions of the excessive heat and moisture in the jungle, along with the wildlife and indigenous people they met was quite interesting.

Another aspect of the story was how religious the author is and how his religion entered into everything. He strongly felt that it wasn’t his fault that he got lost, it was part of God’s plan for him. I was uncomfortable with this part of the story, but obviously this man’s faith is very important to him and this particular trip seemed to be a test for that faith. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Oct 7, 2014 |
So, this book teaches us: If you went off for an 8 day trip down the (uncharted portions of the) Amazon with 4 other guys, bringing only these items:

*film and camera
*scant food: rice and biscuits
*a hand drawn map of an area "no one has ever visited before"
*a radio powered by (what sounds like) a car battery
*iodine tablets/water filter
*rudimentary camping equipment: pots and pans, tarps, sleeping bags
*plenty of ignorance
*a very basic first aid kit
*an abiding belief in a magical being

Would you *really* be surprised if things went badly? The author of the book plans a trip to the Amazon in order to photograph the rich wild life to be found. He is a professional photographer, recently divorced and struggling to get his career started. He doesn't leave behind contact information, dates, travel plans, or any other information that could help in the event of an emergency. He doesn't bring any food, antibiotics, or anti-malaria pills, or extra supplies.

The trip is planned so haphazardly, the participants so clueless and unskilled, that I was incredibly frustrated reading this true story. Adding to my frustration, the author, Kirkpatrick, wanders off into the Amazon, leaving his 3 small boys behind with his ex-wife, because God told him to go. No news on whether or not God was consulted on the packing list, or how his ex-wife might raise his sons in his absence.

Moreover, the author credits his survival NOT to the experience, patience and persistence of his friend/guide, Ashuco, who gamely slashes through the underbrush cutting a path, builds fires, creates a raft, rescues the camera, finds the lost author several times, informs the author he's about to pick up a poison frog...but to God.

If a horror movie started off with this premise, the audience would laugh it off the screen. There's even a man traveling with Kirkpatrick's group who is so afraid of drowning that he wears his life vest at all times...and cries for his mom.

The food is lost the first day, but luckily for the author and his companions, they manage to stumble onto no less than 5 villages during their journey, where the tribes they meet offer them food, shelter, and guides. It's not "Lost in the Amazon" but "Deluded and Dangerous to Others in the Amazon".

Three stars only because it made me feel like a competent adult, and I didn't know there were pink dolphins before I read this book. ( )
  wdlaurie | Nov 27, 2008 |
Stephen (Steve) Kirkpatrick's book is based on the true story of his expedition through an uncharted area of the Amazon. He recounts the hardships of the journey and the injuries and scares he and his companions face along the way back to civilization. Steve relies heavily on Christian faith and prayer to make it through. Although the book jacket briefly meantions "faith," after reading, I felt I had been tricked into reading religious propaganda masked as a survival story. The references to Christian faith are many, and are a main theme throughout. The dialogue was also a little stilted and obviously created to conveniently include facts about the Amazon rainforest. I kept reading to see how it ended, but was disappointed with this book overall. The theme of religious faith is not unworthy, but it is weakened by the fact the book is not advertised as such. I think YA readers expecting a survival story will react the way I did. ( )
  kimbrady | Nov 22, 2008 |
Wow, this book was amazing! It was so full of adventure. It was scary, and had you on the edge of your seat. I loved it so much when I was done reading I also bought the book on CD and listened to it! ( )
  itsJUSTme | Feb 29, 2008 |
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Recounts the experiences of a wildlife photographer and his team who got lost in the Amazon jungle, and tells of their struggle to survive and find their way back to civilization.

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