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Books and Movies

  • Insight Guides Amazon Wildlife by Hans-Ulrich Bernard. This book includes 22 features covering the area's habitats, wildlife and culture, ranging from the poison-dart frog's nightly chorus to the poison arrows of the 130 remaining indigenous tribes, a region by region visitor's guide to the sights, and a comprehensive Travel Tips section packed with essential contact addresses and numbers, plus many astounding photographs and maps.
  • Brazilian Adventure by Peter Fleming. In the summer of 1925 Colonel Fawcett embarked on a journey into the dark and uncharted heart of Brazil in search of the lost 'City of Z'. He was never seen again. In 1932, "The Times" advertised for 'guns' to join an expedition to find Fawcett. As the expedition forged its way deeper into the Amazon, disagreements fractured the group and the entire adventure ended in a chaotic race to be the first to report back home. 
  • Smithsonian Atlas of the Amazon by Michael Goulding, Ronaldo Barthem, Efrem Jorge Gondim Ferreira. This atlas is the comprehensive view of not only the Amazon River but also its thirteen major tributaries. More than 150 color maps and nearly 300 vivid photographs provide spectacular views of the river and rainforest.
  • In Trouble Again: A Journey Between Orinoco and the Amazon by Redmond O'Hanlon. O'Hanlon takes us into the rain forest between the Orinoco and the Amazon--infested with jaguars and piranhas, where men would kill over a bottle of ketchup and where the locals may be the most violent people on earth. 
  • The Naturalist on the River Amazons by Henry Walter Bates. From 1848-1859 Bates traveled throughout the Amazon and its many tributaries, taking notes on everything from the natural world to the cultures and customs of the many native and non-native peoples he encountered. Energetic, expressive and vigilant, this is a close-up view of his lengthy journey.
  • White Waters and Black by Gordon MacCreagh. With a wicked eye for absurdities, Gordon MacCreagh recounts his adventures with eight "Eminent Scientificos" as they set out to explore the Amazon in 1923 without any idea of what lies ahead of them: rapids, malaria, monkey stew, and "dangerous savages." A combination of Twain's The Innocents Abroad and a cautionary tale for explorers, this is one of the most honest accounts ever written of a scientific expedition.
  • Amazon Insects - A Photo Guide by James L. Castner. A pocket-sized gem that makes a great companion for the Amazon traveller or armchair enthusiast alike, opening up a world of breathtaking - if Lilliputian - diversity. It's an easily accessible intro: perfect for the vast majority of travellers to the region.
  • The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard. At once an incredible adventure narrative and a penetrating biographical portrait, The River of Doubt is the true story of Theodore Roosevelt's harrowing exploration of one of the most dangerous rivers on earth.
  • The Mapmaker's Wife: A True Tale of Love, Murder, and Survival in the Amazon by Robert Whitaker. Victims of a tangled web of international politics, Jean Godin and Isabel Gramesón's destiny would ultimately unfold in the Amazon's unforgiving jungles, and it would be Isabel's quest to reunite with Jean after a calamitous twenty-year separation that would capture the imagination of all of eighteenth-century Europe.
  • Discover the Amazon: The World's Largest Rainforest (Discover Your World) by Lauri Berkenkamp. Offering practical survival techniques based on real stories, children (and adults) will learn lessons that can be adapted to almost any outdoor situation, such as making fire, deciphering animal tracks, and using the natural world for all to create necessary supplies.
  • The Amazon by Roger Harris. This completely revised new edition covers all nine countries of the Amazon Basin and Orinoco and includes a detailed illustrated natural history section on native species and habitats. The Amazon is an ideal place to suit the needs of eco-travelers, naturalists, sports enthusiasts, and explorers. Travelers are given sound advice on eco-travel, combating perils, and planning their own expedition.
  • A Neotropical Companion by John Kricher. John Kricher presents the complexities of tropical ecology as accessible and nonintimidating. Kricher is so thoroughly knowledgeable and the book is so complete in its coverage that general readers and ecotourists will not need any other book to help them identify and understand the plants and animals that they will encounter in their travels to the New World tropics. 
  • In the Heart of the Amazon by Nick Gordon. By turns fascinating, funny, and horrifying, this is Nick Gordon's account of more than 10 years spent in the Amazonian forests as a wildlife filmmaker, snorting ground-up seeds with the local shaman, building an artificial tarantula habitat to film the furry monsters mating, and killing and eating a two-foot snake.
  • Neotropical Rainforest Mammals: A Field Guide by Louise H. Emmons, Francois Feer. Each species account includes information on identifying characteristics, similar species, vocalizations, behavior and natural history, geographic range, conservation status, local names, and references to the scientific literature. Twenty-nine beautiful color plates illustrate more than 220 species (including significant color variants between males and females or adults and young). 
  • The Emerald Forest (1985) An American engineer, Bill Markham (Powers Boothe), searches for his son, Tommy (William Rodriguez), who's been kidnapped by Indians in an Amazonian rain forest. But when he tracks him down, it's quickly apparent that the boy has become part of another world. This world causes Bill to question his own in director John Boorman's action-adventure, which explores the differences and the tension between primitive and developed societies.
  • Fitzcarraldo (1982) by Werner Herzog Klaus Kinski's manic intensity lends itself perfectly to the role of obsessive genius Fitzcarraldo, a rubber baron intent on building an opera house deep within the Peruvian jungle, in this film from Werner Herzog. Capturing both the enormity of the jungle and the human spirit, the film finds cast and crew hauling a steamship over a mountain to achieve their mad goal. For his efforts, Herzog earned Best Director laurels at Cannes Film Festival.
  • The Naked Jungle by Byron Haskin. A rugged, self-made man (Charlton Heston) has carved a plantation out of the South American jungle and filled it with beautiful furnishings. Now, all he needs is some feminine companionship. He orders a bride (Eleanor Parker) by mail from New Orleans, but when she arrives, he discovers she's not a virgin. A highlight of the film is when Heston's plantation is overrun by millions of invading army ants that strip away everything they crawl across.
  • The Mission (2003). The Mission depicts the challenge of conscience that confronts us all in a world convulsed by power, greed, and violence, yet it reminds us of the vitality of love, the miracle of grace, and the transforming power of acts of conscience. Featuring a majestic score by Ennio Morricone and lush Oscar-winning cinematography by Chris Menges, the film is shot through with piercing, haunting imagery. A visually stunning epic, The Mission recounts the true story of two men: a man of the sword (Robert De Niro) and a man of the cloth (Jeremy Irons), both Jesuit missionaries who defied the colonial forces of mighty Spain and Portugal to save an Indian tribe from slavery in mid-18th-century South America. The Mission images of despair, penance, and redemption that are among the most evocative ever filmed. 
  • The Argentina Reader: History, Culture, Politics. This essential introduction to Argentina's history, culture and society provides a rich, comprehensive look at one of the most paradoxical of Latin American nations. The Argentina Reader brings together songs, articles, comic strips, scholarly essays, poems, and short stories. Many of them deal with the history of indigenous Argentines, workers, women and other groups often ignored in descriptions of the country. At the same time, the book includes excerpts by major political figures and pieces from literary figures such as Jorge Luis Borges or Julio Cortázar.
  • Lonely Planet Argentina by Danny Palmerlee. The thunderous crash of icebergs calving into the icy waters of Lago Argentina; the vast landscapes of Quebrada de Humahuaca with your own pack-carrying llama; Tango like a porteno after learning the unspoken codes of Argentina's sexiest dance; Cycle between Mendoza's legendary vineyards in search of the perfect malbec. The guide includes 5 personal profiles in the "Mi Querida Argentina" section, which is accompanied by photos, one of the 3 sections in this book that is illustrated with color photos. The book also includes Chilean Patagonia, and 60 pages devoted to Uruguay, should you want to take the short trip across the Rio de la Plata to visit this small but delightful country.
  • Labyrinths by Jorge Luis Borges. The groundbreaking trans-genre work of Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) has been insinuating itself into the structure, stance, and very breath of world literature for well over half a century. Multi-layered, self-referential, elusive, and allusive writing is now frequently labeled Borgesian. Labyrinths is the classic representative selection of Borges' writing includes the text of the original edition, as well as biographical and critical essay, a poignant tribute by André Maurois, and a chronology of the author's life. Borges enthusiast William Gibson has contributed a new introduction bringing Borges' influence and importance into the twenty-first century.
  • A Universal History of Iniquity by Jorge Luis Borges. In his writing, Borges always combined high seriousness with a wicked sense of fun. Here he reveals his delight in re-creating (or making up) colorful stories from the Orient, the Islamic world, and the Wild West, as well as his horrified fascination with knife fights, political and personal betrayal, and bloodthirsty revenge. Sparkling with the sheer exuberant pleasure of story-telling, this collection marked the emergence of an utterly distinctive literary voice.
  • Kiss and Tango: Looking for Love in Buenos Aires by Marina Palmer. Tango isn't just a dance, it's a grand metaphor for sexual pursuit. Beginning with a nod from the man, signifying his desire for a woman, tango continues in a series of moves resembling stylized foreplay. After years of trying to combine her Manhattan day life with a tango nightlife, Palmer moved to Argentina, where she spent almost every night dancing at various venues. The five years of her her diary entries, make you feel at home with Buenos Aires street life and almost accustomed to the retrosexual politics of the tango scene.
  • On Heroes and Tombs by Ernest Sabato. Set in Argentina in the 1950s against a background of political upheaval, the beautiful daughter of a prominent family becomes the object of three men's obsessions. Ernesto Sabata is also the author of "The Tunnel" and "Abaddon el Exterminador" which won him the "French Prix du Meilleur Livre Etranger".
  • Imagining Argentina by Lawrence Thornton. The rich prose describes the events set in the dark days of the late 1970's, when thousands of Argentineans disappeared without a trace into the general's prison cells and torture chambers. When Carlos Ruweda's wife is suddenly taken from him, he discovers a magical gift: In waking dreams, he had clear visions of the fates of "the disappeared." But he cannot "imagine" what has happened to his own wife. Driven to near madness, his mind cannot be taken away: imagination, stories, and the mystical secrets of the human spirit.
  • Argentina - Culture Smart! A Quick Guide to Customs & Culture by Robert Hamwee. The book provides essential information on attitudes, beliefs and behavior in Argentina, ensuring that you arrive at your destination aware of basic manners, common courtesies and sensitive issues. This concise guide tells you what to expect, how to behave and how to establish a rapport with your hosts. This inside knowledge will enable you to steer clear of embarrassing gaffes and mistakes, feel confident in unfamiliar situations, and develop friendships. It offers illuminating insights into the culture and society of Argentina, as it helps you turn your visit into a memorable and enriching experience.
  • Buenos Aires: A Cultural History by Jason Wilson. Buenos Aires is more difficult to capture, yet Wilson (Latin American and Spanish literature, University College, London) succeeds admirably. Unlike Oxford, Buenos Aires is organized geographically, but the underlying cultural themes are evident: Jorge Luis Borges, Julio Cortazar, and the European literary tradition; tango, the music of longing and despair, machismo, and sensuality; the cult of Evita Peron; the life-and-death importance of soccer; totalitarian politics; and the Disappeared.
  • Hopscotch by Julio Cortazar. Horacio Oliveira is an Argentinian writer who lives in Paris with his mistress, La Maga, surrounded by a loose-knit circle of bohemian friends who call themselves "the Club." A child's death and La Maga's disappearance put an end to his life of empty pleasures and intellectual acrobatics, and prompt Oliveira to return to Buenos Aires, where he works by turns as a salesman, a keeper of a circus cat which can truly count, and an attendant in an insane asylum. Hopscotch is the dazzling, free-wheeling account of his astonishing adventures.
  • In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin. An instant classic upon publication in 1977, this is a masterpiece that has cast a long shadow upon the literary world. The book offers an exhilarating look at a place that still retains the exotic mystery of a far-off, unseen land, Chatwin's exquisite account of his journey through Patagonia teems with evocative descriptions, remarkable bits of history, and unforgettable anecdotes. Fueled by an unmistakable lust for life and a gift for storytelling, Chatwin treks through Patagonia among bandits searching for forgotten legends, the descendants of Welsh immigrants, and other colorful characters.
  • Bad Times In Buenos Aires by Miranda France. The book presents a brilliant blend of humor, personal narrative, and rich historical background as seen by a foreign journalist who movies to Buenos Aires and goes through all the required adjustments. She learns the tango, tries to crack the bureaucracy of the local library, explores the legend of Evita Peron, and she encounters first-hand the chaos and deep melancholy of the Argentine capital.
  • Evita (1997). The popular Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice musical finally made it to the big screen with Madonna in the title role of Argentina's first lady, Eva Perón. A triumph of production design, costuming, cinematography, and epic-scale pageantry, the film follows the rise of Eva Perón to the level of supreme social and political celebrity in the 1940s. Only 33 when she died, Eva Perón was instrumental in the political success of her husband, Juan Perón (Jonathan Pryce). But she was also a supremely tragic figure whose life was essentially hollow at its core despite the lavish benefits of her nearly goddess-like status. The film has a similar quality: it's visually astonishing but emotionally distant, and benefits greatly from the singing commentary of Ché (Antonio Banderas) passionately guiding the viewer through the elaborate parade of history.
  • Camila (1985). In Buenos Aires of the 1840s, a young Jesuit and a socialite fall in love and begin a torrid affair. They escape from the city and in disguise set up house in a village assuming that they are safe and beyond the cares of anyone. However the Church and Camila's family vow to hunt them down. The film is based on a true story.
  • The Official Story (1985). This is one of those rare political films that transcend politics with a stirring emotional story. Argentinean director Luis Puenzo tells the story of a strong-willed teacher who tries to learn the true identity of her adopted daughter's father, coming to suspect that he was a political prisoner. Her political awakening is actually an emotional one as well because of her detached persona, and in the end she learns the painful truth of present-day life. Tautly directed by Puenzo, The Official Story was a 1985 Oscar-winner for Best Foreign Film, with a riveting performance by Norma Aleandro.
  • Happy Together (1997). The expressionistic, stylized visual brilliance of the movie is so breathtaking and enveloping it nearly detracts from this startling, queasy, despairing glimpse at a gay relationship gone amok. The subject matter may not be the easiest to swallow, but there is a universality to Happy Together that rings true and real portraying an isolation tinged with the embarrassment of intimacy. Ho (Leslie Cheung) and Lai (Tony Leung) leave Hong Kong for Buenos Aires in an attempt to "start over." But their initial optimism is short-lived, and once they become dislocated strangers in this strange land, it only further thrusts the two into their already codependent, dark love affair. But like all crazy love, it leads to self-enlightenment, and this gorgeous, grasping film is true, tricky, difficult, and emotionally true.
  • Tango (1999). Flamboyant. Colorful. Sensual. This is the seductive world of the tango, stunningly brought to life by acclaimed director Carlos Saura, Grammy-winning composer Lalo Schifrin and Oscar-winning cinematographer Vittorio Storaro. Set against the backdrop of a director's passionate love affair with his art and the beautiful young woman who captures his heart, Tango is a mesmerizing experience, a smoky lush blend of muted light and color, of intoxicating dance and the richest tango music you could ever imagine.
  • The Mission (2003). The Mission depicts the challenge of conscience that confronts us all in a world convulsed by power, greed, and violence, yet it reminds us of the vitality of love, the miracle of grace, and the transforming power of acts of conscience. Featuring a majestic score by Ennio Morricone and lush Oscar-winning cinematography by Chris Menges, the film is shot through with piercing, haunting imagery. A visually stunning epic, The Mission recounts the true story of two men: a man of the sword (Robert De Niro) and a man of the cloth (Jeremy Irons), both Jesuit missionaries who defied the colonial forces of mighty Spain and Portugal to save an Indian tribe from slavery in mid-18th-century South America. The Mission images of despair, penance, and redemption that are among the most evocative ever filmed. 
  • Imagining Argentina (2003). An extraordinary story of love, compassion, and danger, this film. starring Antonio Banderas and Emma Thompson, is the political thriller about one family who had the courage to fight for justice in a country ruled by fear. Imagining Argentina applies the word disappear in a factual manner, the way it was used by the military government between 1976 and 1983. After the military coup in 1976, the military government began to keep track of those who opposed them. It led to eight petrifying years, as the megalomaniac military leader Videla pursued all opposition through state funded terrorism, which often meant rape and murder. Many of those who opposed the government ended up in concentration camps where the "disappeared" people faced gruesome torture and other inhuman acts of violence.