"In sum, this book is a valuable addition to the specialist literature on mining and social change in Melanesia, but also written in a clear style that will be of great use in the classroom. I recommend Jacka’s accessible, straightforward ethnography to all readers." — Alex Golub, Anthropology Book Forum
"[Alchemy in the Rain Forest] is an important contribution to environmental anthropology and political ecology. Jacka ultimately argues that the mine’s promises of development are as illusive as the alchemists’ quest for gold. What is unique about the book is not that ultimate assessment, but its exploration of the ways in which people who bear the greatest social and environmental harms of large-scale mining understand and navigate those changes." — Jessica M. Smith, Journal of Anthropological Research
"[Alchemy in the Rain Forest] examine[s] at length the fascinating resource management practices, community resilience, and spirit world of the Porgera Valley." — Phillipa Jenkins, Pacific Affairs
"This is rich and detailed work on development and change and it is a convincing argument for how environmental anthropology can provide multiple scales of analysis in the pursuit of understanding local lifeworlds." — Sally Babidge, Human Ecology
"Jacka provides a multifaceted examination of gold mining in Papua New Guinea and its social and cultural impacts during the second half of the twentieth century. While highlighting the important conflicts and tensions, the author firmly resists the temptation to embark on a morality tale of evil multinationals dispossessing people of their land and culture. On the contrary, he offers nuanced analysis based on both field-work interviews and historical archives." — José Ramón Bertomeu Sánchez, Ambix
"In this field-changing analysis, Jerry K. Jacka shows us a world that is complex and changing, and he takes topics readers think they know and treats them in new and stimulating ways. Alchemy in the Rain Forest is a brilliant examination of ontological adaptation and change over the course of the history of Papua New Guinea's highlands."
— Paige West, author of From Modern Production to Imagined Primitive: The Social World of Coffee from Papua New Guinea
"In this unique and nuanced study in highland Papua New Guinea, Jerry K. Jacka shows how royalty and compensatory payments from a multi-national gold mining company percolate through the local kinship system, transform the socioecology, and exacerbate inter-clan violence in a truly horrific way. In place of the idealized relations of neoliberal economics, Jacka posits an 'alchemy,' in one of the most revealing and disturbing accounts ever written of industrial resource extraction in the Global South. Sure to become a classic."
— Michael R. Dove, Yale University