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Running the Amazon, Book Review Example

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Book Review

Running the Amazon by Joe Kane is a good example of the “traveling overseas” theme that we are currently examining in literature. As a journalist, Kane has had a lot of exposure to various countries in addition to a good amount of time to form an opinion on this subject. Therefore, I found this book to be interesting primarily because it was written by an expert in a manner that allows us to see his fascination with the Amazon compared to other places that he has travelled to. In addition, Kane’s account is fascinating not only because of how well written the book is, but it is also the only firsthand account of an individual traveling the whole 4,200 mile length of the Amazon River, which took approximately a year to complete. Thus, Kane is not only an excellent writer, but it is clear that he is passionate about his subject and likes to engage in adventure.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this book were the descriptions of the Amazon that Kane provides so that the reader is able to conceptualize his journey. As a consequence, there is a lot of non-verbal communication that occurs between Kane and his travel partners that is an essential component of the story. When he describes seeing the Amazon River and the surrounding vegetation, the reader can almost picture the look on the faces on the explorers. They seem to be in awe of their surroundings and excited because this is a new experience. Even when Kane doesn’t perfectly describe what is occurring around him in the scenery, the reader is able to picture this to some extent based on the tone that is being used in the writing.

Reading this book has made me think a lot about what I know of other places and made me realize that the Amazon is nothing close to anything I could possibly imagine. While Kane’s descriptions are precise, I believe that the Amazon rainforest is the type of image that one thinks they are familiar with, but will be completely surprised when they see firsthand. This is apparent in Kane’s descriptions. Even though the journey was long and it is likely that he saw many similar things throughout his travels, it appeared that he was in awe each time he saw the same thing. This is a theme that likely occurs regularly in overseas travel. Travelers tend to experience many sights and events than what they are used to on a daily basis, and this awe continues to inspire them even after they return home.

I was able to connect with Kane’s story personally because although I have never travelled to the Amazon rainforest nor have I seen the Amazon River, I love the outdoors and was able to picture many of the things that the author described in terms of sights I am already familiar with. Therefore, when Kane describes the fierce rapids of the Amazon, I am able to picture the fast paced rivers that I have seen and attempted to sail on. It is difficult to be certain whether the veracity of these waters were comparable to Kane’s experience, but drawing these connections allow me to put myself in the author’s shoes to a greater extent.

Overall, Kane’s travel experience is unique in that he aimed to explore the Amazon both for his own personal desire and to inform others about the experience in case they wanted to make a similar trip. What was extremely fascinating about Kane’s choice of journey is that he chose a voyage in which the risks were extremely high. In many cases throughout the book, he and his comrades were put in life threatening situations. However, Kane appeared to welcome the challenge and was thankful that he had this experience. While I am envious of Kane’s journey, as it seemed like a once in a lifetime experience, I am uncertain as to whether I would feel comfortable walking these same steps. Thus, I am grateful that Kane compiled this experience into a book so that I could enjoy the danger he met on this journey without repeating it myself.

Even though it is unlikely that I would repeat Kane’s precise trip, the author is inspiring in terms of convincing his audience to visit overseas places that they have only thought about going to before. While I am unsure of where I would like to go specifically, this book did renew my want to travel to new and unique places. Even though I am an international student and have had the opportunity to travel here to study, I believe that there are many places I have left to explore. Therefore, both during and after the completion of my studies, I aim to explore new places in order to gain the same kind of once in a lifetime experience that Kane encountered during his travels.

I would highly recommend this book to those who enjoy adventure or like to read about nature. Kane’s idea in writing this book is highly original and admirable and his story should be shared. It demonstrates the unique ability of a reporter to bring an important message to people and the extent of will power that was willing to be met to ensure that this occurred. Since Kane is highly inspirational to individuals who wish to travel, I will recommend this book to my family and friends.

References

Kane J.  (1990). Running the Amazon. Vintage.

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