The Darkest Jungle
The True Story of the Darien Expedition and America's Ill-fated Race to Connect the SeasBook - 2003
In the 1850s, the world's foremost scientists, capitalists, and statesmen saw the Darien wilderness in eastern Panama as the perfect spot to build a great canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Ships from three continents raced to this largely unexplored region, but the twenty-seven-man U.S. Darien Exploring Expedition, led by an ambitious, adventure-driven navy lieutenant named Isaac G. Strain, made sure it got there first. Misled by fraudulent maps and unable to find any "gap" amid the mass of precipitous peaks, the expedition marched the untracked course of the isthmus's longest and most contorted river, enduring oppressive equatorial heat and a terrifying catalogue of often bewildering tropical maladies. Their ninety-seven-day ordeal of starvation, exhaustion, and madness -- a tragedy turned largely to triumph due to the courage and self-sacrifice of their leader and the seamen who followed him devotedly is one of the great untold tales of human survival and exploration in the tropics. Based on the vividly detailed log entries of Strain and his junior officers, other newly discovered period sources, and Balf's own multiple treks through the dangerous (and still roadless) Darien Gap, The Darkest Jungle is a rich and utterly compelling historical narrative that will thrill readers who enjoyed In the Heart of the Sea, Isaac's Storm, The Endurance, and other sagas of adventure at the limits of human tolerance. Book jacket.
Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, c2003
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: xiv, 331 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm