In 1876 a man named Henry Wickham smuggled 70,000 rubber tree seeds out of the rainforests of Brazil and delivered them to Victorian England's most prestigious scientists at Kew Gardens. Those seeds, planted around the world in England's colonial outposts, gave rise to the great rubber boom of the early 20th century - an explosion of entrepreneurial and scientific industry that would change the world. The story of how Wickham got his hands on those seeds - a sought-after prize for which many suffered and died, and for which he faced deadly insects, poisonous snakes, horrific illnesses, and, ultimately, the neglect and contempt of the very government he wished to serve - is the stuff of legend. His idealism and determination, as well as his outright thievery, perfectly encapsulate the essential nature of Great Britain's colonial adventure in South America.In this utterly engaging account of obsession, greed, bravery, and betrayal, Joe Jackson brings to life a classic Victorian fortune hunter and the empire that fuelled, then abandoned, him. In his single-minded persuit of glory, Wickham faced deadly insects, poisonous snakes, horrific illnesses, and, ultimately, the neglect and contempt of the very government he wished to serve. His idealism and determination, as well as his outright thievery, perfectly encapsulate the essential nature of the Great Britain's colonial adventure in South America. The Thief at the End of the World is a thrilling true story of reckless courage and ambition.
|Publication date:||21st August 2008|
|Publisher:||Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd an imprint of Duckworth Overlook|
|Categories:||Biography: historical, political & military, Modern history to 20th century: c 1700 to c 1900, Colonialism & imperialism, Geographical discovery & exploration, History of science,|
Joe Jackson is the author of one novel and four works of nonfiction, including Leavenworth Train , a finalist for the 2002 Edgar Award for Best Fact Crime. He was an investigative reporter for the Virginian-Pilot , covering criminal justice and death row. He lives in Virginia with his wife and son.More About Joe Jackson