Viva South America!: A Journey Through A Restless Continent by Oliver Balch

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Simón Bolívar once inspired a continent to rise from its serfdom and throw off the shackles of Spanish rule, setting the course for independence, freedom and equality. ¡Viva South America! sets out to discover if that dream lives on. Is it fair to describe a land as ‘independent’ while poverty still enslaves millions, where violence lurks in the shadows and where lawlessness gnaws away at progress? Did the Liberators fail? Or are leaders such as Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez and Bolivia’s Evo Morales resurrecting those long-ago ideals? Armed with a reporter’s notebook and an open mind, the author hits the road in search of answers. With the ghost of Bolívar as guide, the quest takes the reader off the tourist trail and into the weird and wonderful worlds of South American culture and society. By stepping into people’s homes and into inmates’ prison cells, by climbing onto dance floors and over road blocks, Oliver Balch unearths untold stories from the front line of South America’s contemporary fight for freedom.
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Lost In The Jungle: A Harrowing True Story Of Adventure And Survival by Yossi Ghinsberg

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This is a harrowing true story of adventure and survival. Four backpackers meet in Bolivia and set off into the rainforest on a dream expedition, lured by the promise of uncharted villages and forgotten tribes hidden in places tourists only dream of seeing. But what begins as the adventure of a lifetime quickly becomes a struggle for survival when they get lost in the wilds of the Amazonian jungle. The group splits up after disagreements, and Yossi and Kevin try to find their own way without a guide. When a terrible rafting accident separates the two men, Yossi is forced to survive for weeks alone in one of the most unpredictable environments on the planet. Stranded without a knife, map or survival training, he must improvise shelter and forage for wild fruit to survive. As his skin begins to rot from his feet during raging storms, he wonders if any of them will make it back alive. Told with gripping immediacy, it’s an extraordinary, terrifying tale that you won’t be able to put down.
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Marching Powder by Rusty Young

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Thomas McFadden was a minor drugs dealer in Bolivia who was summarily arrested and thrown into jail, the notorious San Pedro Prison. Within the grim walls of the corrupt institution, he discovered a world which mirrored many of the wrongs of South American society at large: bribery, drugs, intimidation and violence at every level. McFadden needed to raise $5,000 to get released and how he managed this – for instance, by giving backpackers tours of the prison – is much of the story. Inevitably, Marching Powder recalls the nightmarish world of Midnight Express, but is sufficiently different in its own right to remain compelling. Young’s account was written partly during a three-month stay with the unfortunate McFadden and reeks of authenticity. Not for the faint-hearted, perhaps, but those who enjoyed Killing Pablo may see this often surreal history as some sort of follow.
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