May 25, 2008

The Burning Season

The Murder of Chico Mendes and the Fight for the Amazon Rain Forest
by Andrew Revkin

I like some of the music by Mana, and one of their songs "Cuando los Angeles Lloran" begins like this:

A chico Méndez lo mataron
Era un defensor y un ángel de toda la amazonia
él murío a sangre fría
Lo sabía Collor De Melo y también la policia

Roughly translated, that says:

They killed Chico Mendez
He was a defender and angel of all the Amazon
He died in cold blood
Collor de Mello knew it, and so did the police...

I had no idea what this song was really about, until I read The Burning Season, one of the books my husband brought into our home. In an easy-flowing, detailed narrative, Revkin relates the plight of the Amazon rainforest, and political turmoil in Brazil. Chico Mendes was a native Brazilian whose living came from extracting rubber and gathering brazil nuts from the trees, in a carefully planned manner which left little impact on the forest and kept the resource renewable. In 1988 he was murdered by a group with conflicting interests: cattle ranchers who were clearing the land for their own use. I felt astonished, dismayed and outraged at what I read in this book. It taught me a lot about an issue I've always heard of, but felt far removed from. Have any of you read this book?

Rating: 4/5               336 pages, 1994


Jaimie said...

That sounds like some book. I haven't read it but it is an issue that great concerns me. Thanks for the review Jeane!

Nymeth said...

I haven't, but now I'd really like to. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

bethany said...

I read sections of this book in Spanish culture class (my major being Spanish) at Oregon State U. I loved it, and I LOVE mana!!! I went to see them in Spain a while back (pre-kids, so long, time now!). I will buy this one on amazon...I need to own it. Thanks for the review,

happy sunday and memorial day tomorrow to you!

Trish said...

Wow--thanks for the review. I haven't heard of this one, but I'm going to put it on my list of books to watch out for. Sounds like an eye-opener.