Canning House welcomes Amazon expert John Hemming to present his latest book, Naturalists in Paradise, which charts the adventures and achievements of three brilliant British naturalists in South America in the mid-nineteenth century.
In Naturalists in Paradise, Hemming tells the story of Alfred Wallace, Henry, Bates and Richard Spruce, recounting their experiences in the Amazon and assessing their valuable research that changed our conception of the natural world.
Each of the three naturalists is famous for a particular discovery: Wallace is credited, along with Charles Darwin, for developing the theory of evolution; Bates uncovered the phenomenon of protective mimicry among insects; and Spruce transported the quinine-bearing Cinchona tree to India, saving countless lives from malaria. Drawing on the letters and books of the three naturalists, Hemming reaches beyond the well-known narratives, offering unrivalled insight into the often lawless frontier life in South America as seen through the lives of the great pioneers of modern disciplines: anthropology, tribal linguistics, archaeology, and every branch of natural science.
Explorer, author and former Director of the Royal Geographical Society, John Hemming has travelled in and written extensively about the Amazon region. His previous books include Tree of Rivers: The Story of the Amazon.