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Before setting foot in the world's largest rainforest, consider one of the many excellent travelogues, wildlife guides and explorer tales that fill our bookshelves. Enhance your route with The Smithsonian Atlas of the Amazon, enjoy a classic by Peter Matthiessen or dig into any one of the great accounts by the biologists, doctors, anthropologists, musicologists and more who have braved the jungle and made it out safely.

Follow the links below to see recommended reading for each destination.

The Longitude Blog – Amazon
In his bestselling book Jungle, a true story of survival and self-discovery that reads like a thrilling novel, Yossi Ghinsberg relates his adventures as a young Israeli backpacker in the Bolivian Amazon.  After four weeks of trekking deep into the rainforest, Yossi and his companions realize that their once-in-a-lifetime adventure has become a dangerous nightmare. Yossi’s bravado will especially appeal to the independent backpacker, but any traveler can empathize with his unflagging spirit of adventure and desire to experience something unique. “What I’m doing here in South America is looking for the extraordinary,” Yossi writes to his brother Moshe before setting out.
Naturalists in Paradise
When they arrived at the mouth of the Amazon River in the late 1840s, Russel Wallace, Henry Walter Bates and Richard Spruce were not experts in science. They had little experience outside of their provincial English towns, only basic education and all three were of humble means (they planned to support their adventures through the sale of specimens). Wallace and Bates were in their 20s and Spruce only 32, yet these three adventurers were destined to become famous naturalists. Their discoveries in the Amazon, where they would spend the prime of their lives, would have an influence that outlasted even their highest hopes as they began their journeys in, as Wallace put it, “a fever-heat of expectation.