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The Third Bank of the River

Power and Survival in the Twenty-First-Century Amazon

Chris Feliciano Arnold


The Third Bank of the River Download image

ISBN10: 1250098939
ISBN13: 9781250098931

Trade Paperback

352 Pages



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Following doctors and detectives, environmental activists and indigenous tribes, The Third Bank of the River traces the history of the Amazon from the arrival of the first Spanish flotilla to the drones that are now mapping unexplored parts of the forest. Grounded in rigorous firsthand reporting and in-depth research, Chris Feliciano Arnold reveals a portrait of Brazil and the Amazon that is complex, bloody, and often tragic.

During the 2014 World Cup, an isolated Amazon tribe emerged from the rain forest on the misty border of Peru and Brazil, escaping massacre at the hands of loggers who wanted their land. A year later, in the jungle capital of Manaus, a bloody weekend of reprisal killings inflame a drug war that has blurred the line between cops and kingpins. Both events reveal the dual struggles of those living in and around the world’s largest river. As indigenous tribes lose their ancestral culture and territory to the lure and threat of the outside world, the question arises of how best to save isolated tribes: Keep them away from the modern world or make contact in an effort to save them from extinction? As Brazil looks to be a world leader in the twenty-first century, this magnificent and vast region is mired in chaos and violence that echoes the atrocities that have haunted the rain forest since Europeans first traveled its waters.


Praise for The Third Bank of the River

“Arnold has crafted a thrilling page-turner while delving into topics that often bypass Brazil’s mainstream media . . . The Third Bank of the River ultimately stands out as an important book for Americans looking to better understand the glorious and troubled nation to their south—in all its complexity."—Bruno Garcez, San Francisco Chronicle

"The Third Bank of the River chronicles [Arnold's] three-year effort to understand the Amazon as it exists today. Through exhaustive research and firsthand reporting, he reveals how drug lords, loggers, politicians, and tribe leaders have shaped the region, weaving together stories hundreds of years old and others he watched unfold, and explores the myriad of issues facing the people who live there."—J.R. Sullivan, Men’s Journal

"With The Third Bank of the River, Chris Arnold brings us valuable insights into the forces conspiring to devastate the Amazon and the valiant struggle of those seeking to impose the law in a land where the rule of the gun prevails."Scott Wallace, author of The Unconquered: In Search of the Amazon's Last Uncontacted Tribes

"[A] journalistic account of the rush to develop the Amazon rainforest and its cost in human lives . . . [Arnold] draws much-needed attention to crime without punishment in a remote—but not invisible—part of the world."Kirkus Reviews

“Arnold pulls few punches in this sobering account of the unfolding genocidal threat, adding another dark layer to the urgent story environmentalists are already telling about how the logging of rain forests is playing a drastically destructive role in climate change.”Booklist

"Arnold handles all of the narrative strands expertly and shows a keen eye for detail . . . The reader leaves with a newfound understanding of the diversity, complexity, and corruption to be found in the modern Amazon."Publishers Weekly

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt



It was high noon on July 18, 2014 when our 767 touched down at Eduardo Gomes International, the godfather of all jungle airstrips, cut dead center in the Amazon, and waypoint to a city of 2 million people....

About the author

Chris Feliciano Arnold

CHRIS FELICIANO ARNOLD has written for The New York Times, Harper’s, The Atlantic, Foreign Policy, Outside, Sports Illustrated, Playboy, Vice News, and other outlets, including Folha de S. Paulo, Brazil’s largest newspaper. He is the recipient of a 2014 creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Born in Brazil and raised in the United States, he now resides in northern California.

Chris is the author of The Third Bank of the River.

Reyna Tenorio

Chris Feliciano Arnold

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