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"In equal measure environmental, economic, and diplomatic history, Seth Garfield's In Search of the Amazon is much more than the sum of its parts. With clear prose and sharp analysis, Garfield's wonderful new book is a model for how to write the social history of nature, placing the great, wondrous Amazon at the heart of America's transnational twentieth century."—Greg Grandin, author of Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City
"Seth Garfield's extraordinary book reflects an enormous amount of research, knowledge, and thought about the Amazon. Besides recounting a fascinating chapter of World War II, Garfield places the history of the Amazon within a grid of political, social, and economic concerns that transcend the region's borders but are ultimately modulated by its particular circumstances of settlement and exploitation. He demonstrates the importance of wartime events in shaping subsequent disputes over the fate of the rain forest."—Barbara Weinstein, author of The Amazon Rubber Boom, 1850–1920
"In this path-breaking study, Seth Garfield explores one of the most significant U.S. interventions in Amazonia. During World War II, the United States was desperate for rubber after losing access to Asian markets. In alliance with Brazil, the U.S. government embarked on an aggressive initiative to jump-start the Amazon rubber trade. Garfield masterfully recasts U.S.-Amazonian relations, revealing the wartime roots of the ideological and bureaucratic structures that have shaped modern Amazonia."—Susanna B. Hecht, author of The Scramble for the Amazon and the Lost Paradise of Euclides da Cunha
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Chronicling the dramatic history of the Brazilian Amazon during the Second World War, Seth Garfield provides fresh perspectives on contemporary environmental debates. His multifaceted analysis explains how the Amazon became the object of geopolitical rivalries, state planning, media coverage, popular fascination, and social conflict. In need of rubber, a vital war material, the United States spent millions of dollars to revive the Amazon's rubber trade. In the name of development and national security, Brazilian officials implemented public programs to engineer the hinterland's transformation. Migrants from Brazil's drought-stricken Northeast flocked to the Amazon in search of work. In defense of traditional ways of life, longtime Amazon residents sought to temper outside intervention. Garfield's environmental history offers an integrated analysis of the struggles among distinct social groups over resources and power in the Amazon, as well as the repercussions of those wartime conflicts in the decades to come.