White Gold: the Diary of a Rubber Cutter in the Amazon



The crisis of the rainforest began a century ago when it was discovered to be a source of rubber. This brought commercial interests into collision with this complex ecology – its plants,its animals and its peoples. At the height of the rubber boom in the early years of this century, a young American, John Yungjohan, struggled for survival as a rubber cutter. The diaries he kept have recently come to light and have been edited by Sir Ghillean Prance of the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, England, one of the foremost botanical gardens in the world. Dr. Prance is a leading expert on the rainforest.

The diaries are especially poignant now since the rubber cutters are fighting to preserve something of the original forest against the ravages of the indiscriminate destruction which still ignores the true wealth of the region – its almost incomprehensible variety of species. It is a tale of humanity and the natural order working together in the midst of greed and ignorance. Ghillean Prance enhances the text with his own contemporary photographs and identifies the fungi, plants and animals which are mentioned in the pages of the diaries.

2 reviews for White Gold: the Diary of a Rubber Cutter in the Amazon

  1. greggw

    It is thoroughly pleasing, easy reading and would make a good supplement to a high-lelvel college course that deals with economic plants on the Amazon… Plan on reading it in one sitting.
    —George K. Rogers, Missouri Botanical Gardens

  2. greggw

    Readers of this journal will find this first hand account fascinating and will appreciate the efforts of a work-weary rubber cutter to not only survive the experience but to write about it.
    —Willard Van Adsall, Journal of Ethnobiology

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