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Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice: An Ethnobotanist Searches for New Medicines in the Rain Forest (Anglais) Broché – 1 août 1994


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Biographie de l'auteur

Mark J. Plotkin, Ph.D., was born and raised in New Orleans and educated at Harvard, Yale, and Tufts. Trained as an ethnobotanist, he has done extensive research throughout the lowlands of tropical South America. He currently serves as president of the Amazon Conservation Team and research associate at the Smithsonian Institution's Museum of Natural History. His research has been featured in Life, Newsweek, Smithsonian, Time, and The New York Times as well as PBS's Nova and the Academy Award-winning documentary "Amazon."


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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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20 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A Phenomenal Book 25 avril 1998
Par Samuel R. Pryor - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I agree wholeheartedly with the rave reviews for this book and it has become one of my favorites (I even sent it to an ethnobotanist in Yap as a must read). Not only is it wonderfully well-written, and not only does it address crucial ecological concerns, but it is an exciting account of Plotkin's effort to identify and explore the medical possibilities of Amazonian plants, while preserving the indigineous lore about their uses, both medicinal and spiritual; the discovery and adoption of plants by Europeans and North Americans, and Plotkin's own adventures. I found some it so fascinating on so many levels I'd read it to my family (okay, I know that may be obnoxious, but I couldn't restrain myself). It's thought-provoking, important and absolutely fascinating. Can't recommend it highly enough!!
47 internautes sur 55 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
no shamanism, no apprenticeship 30 mars 2005
Par Charles Le Tan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I have recently written a review of Plotkin's book, which was taken off these pages - apparently simply because I disagreed with the author's assertions, conclusions and motives. I wouldn't go so far as to claim Amazon.com engages in censorship, but this action does lead me to believe some of the ratings may be skewed.

I ahve two basic criticisms of this book: (1) The title is misleading. There was no apprenticeship involved - Plotkin learnt no ceremonies and no cures. He is not a shaman by any stretch of imagination.

(2) He is one of the hundreds of ethnobotanists who case the Amazon in search of clinically active plants; these people are no bleeding hearts - they do it for pharmaceutical industry, which generally pays a pittance to the indigenous people from whom the knowledge was taken. Plotkin himself was engaged with a such a company, called aptly enough, Shaman Pharmaceuticals.

Now I think this is fair to lay out in a review, don't you? In my mind, Plotkin exemplifies a self-righteous attitude with which Westerners venture into contact with indigenous peoples, all too often under the guise of conservancy and environmental activism.... and then write books about it. I frankly cannot see what Plotkin had to do with apprenticeship to Amazonian shamans and if this is enough to censor my review - well so be it.
14 internautes sur 15 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
This was the book that turned me on to Ethnobotany. 10 juin 1999
Par jakes@hotbot.com - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Reading this changed my perspective on Western civilization forever. One example is the author's revelation that the indiginous peoples weren't hunter-"gatherers" at all, but rather gardeners of the world's remaining Eden, inheritors of an agricultural tradition far more ancient and advanced than ours. I was stunned by the realization that Western agriculture's monocultures of neat little rows laid out in a landscape of squares is the simplistic imposition of a human order on a far more complex natural order- an order that the Amazonian tribes incorporate in the design of their jungle-garden. A mindblowing paradigm shift awaits you, especially if you bring some knowledge of complex adaptive systems and/or Periodic Equilibrium evolution to this lucid journal. And this amazing personal account is a ripping good yarn. The only thing this book needs is a follow-up epilog, a "where are they now" of the pharmaceuticals, the shamans, the tribes, and the author's efforts to save them from extinction. A warning: Rereading this book in the summer of '98 while watching the rainforests of Indonesia and Mexico burn deeply depressed me. It was like a thousand libraries of Alexandria going up in smoke. Future generations will never forgive us.
13 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
A fascinating and pertinent MUST-read for all adults 11 juillet 1998
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Cassette
"Everything you wanted to know about entering the Brazilian Rainforest, and more" could be the subtitle of this unusual but riveting nonfiction work Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice by an ethnobotanist, Mark Plotkin.
Remember those naming games you played on summer nights? "If you were on a desert island, but could have one book with you, what would it be?" When I go up the Amazon, I'll be carrying this little tome under my arm.
Before then, I will enjoy the adventure story and recommend it to others; use the bibliography for further research on the history of the rainforest; make lists of the flora, especially medicinal remedies, mentioned; trace along a map the various routes Plotkin took on his travels through Brazil, Surinam, and along the borders of Colombia and Venezuela. I could teach a year-long course based on the information in this book. What an English course that would be with all the links to ecology, botany, language studies, sociology, anthropology, survival training, medicine--the list goes on.
Am I enthusiastic about Plotkin's work? It is the best book I have read in years even though, teaching literature, I read many fine books. It has affected me the way some people are converted by religion. If you have ever held a thoughtful concern for the rainforest or indigenous peoples or our earth or oxygen, it will affect you, too.
Using a scholarly approach to his highly readable story makes this accessible to professional botanists or historians as well as to us lay people. The photographs each speak their thousand words and are worth the price of the book in themselves. What Rachel Carson did for the dangers of environmental pollution, Mark Plotkin does for the destruction of the fragile rainforest.
Another game you played on summer nights--asking impossible questions like "If a tree fell in a forest, but no one were there to hear it, would it create a sound?" Plotkins makes indelibly clear the effect the fallen trees of the rainfore! sts have on us all.
12 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Good science, good work 5 mars 2000
Par "dusty_pages" - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
Mark Plotkin takes the reader on a journey to the Amazon rainforests of Brazil and Suriname, along the way teaching about rainforest ecology, the medicinal plants and rituals of shamans, indigenous cultures, and his own scientific methods. Although his prose is at times tedious and repetitive, the story itself is a fascinating one, and his determination to give something back to the people of the region is admirable. The story unfolds in a way that allows the reader to understand what is happening to the rainforest both culturally and ecologically, and it offers not merely a criticism of western society but a set of reasonable solutions that could benefit the region, not just ecologically but economically. Plotkin is a responsible researcher whose work should be a model for future ethnobotanists.
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