The Boiling River: Adventure and Discovery in the Amazon

This stunning memoir (144 pages) was published in February of 2016 by Simon & Schuster/TED. The book takes you to deep into the Amazon of Peru. David read The Boiling River and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if he didn't recommend it.

buy is an online bookstore with a mission to financially support independent bookstores and give back to the book community.


The Boiling River

Adventure and Discovery in the Amazon

Andrés Ruzo

Andrés Ruzo’s grandfather had told him the legend of the boiling river in the rainforest of Peru. But when he asked his professors if a boiling river in the Amazon was possible, they unequivocally answered, ‘No.’ So he set out on an adventure to prove them wrong.

Buckle up for a geothermal thriller that combines enthralling adventure mixed and exciting scientific study. At the heart of the story is Ruzo, a geoscientist who became fascinated by stories of powerful shamans, silent warriors with poisoned arrows, spiders big enough to eat birds, and snakes that swallowed men whole, and a river that boiled.

With a shaman as his guide and mentor, Ruzo navigates obstacles of the plant, animal, and human world to find the boiling waters so hot that locals brew tea in the river. On his quest, he meets cattle farmers and loggers, runs afoul of government interests and political concerns, enjoys once-in-a-lifetime experiences, and walks along paths that have intrigued people for hundreds of years.

This book grew out of a TED talk, and Ruzo’s mesmerizing story is perfectly captured on the page. A natural storyteller and a committed science geek, he’s a compelling tour guide to the wonders of the Amazon. Although he understands the mechanics behind what he experiences, he revels in the idea that there is so much we don’t know about the planet we inhabit. He heard a legend that was denied by experts, but that legend was true. If it can happen to him, it can happen to the rest of us.

The world around us, he argues, is rich with amazing things; we still live in a world where shamen sing to the spirits of the jungle.

I am standing on a rock in the middle of a river. Nighttime in the jungle pours around me. Instinctively, I reach up and turn off my headlamp. The blackness is complete now, and I pause, waiting. I had missed the darkness. I breathe in. The air is thick and abnormally hot, even for the Amazon. As my eyes adjust to the dark, the outline of the jungle slowly distinguishes itself from the night: blacks, grays, dark blues, even silvery whites. It’s amazing what we miss when the lights are on. The moon is hardly a sliver, and innumerable stars dominate the sky above, illuminating the vast jungle and bathing each leaf and rock with their soft light. All around me, vapors rise like ghosts in the starlight. Some are thin streams of mist; others are clouds so large that their billowing appears to be in slow motion. I lie down on the rock and am still, watching the steam rise into the night. — Andrés Ruzo

keep reading

Dare you to not be enchanted by all that Peru has to offer. Friendly people, Incan ruins perched on mist-shrouded mountaintops, irresistible fusion cuisine, beaches and jungles and colonial architecture. And llamas.
Travel to Chicago, Cuba, Ireland, Scotland, Vietnam, and more with these well-researched, compellingly told tales of adventure. The pages practically turn themselves, and the people who populate them? Unforgettable.
With adorable alpacas, astonishing Inca ruins, and irresistible cuisine, Peru is a wonderland for travelers. In this episode, we dig into history and culture, then recommend great books for your armchair travel.

sharing is caring!

Wanna help us spread the word? If you like this page, please share with your friends.

our mission

Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.

our patreon

Strong Sense of Place is a listener-supported podcast. If you like the work we do, you can help make it happen by joining our Patreon! That'll unlock bonus content for you, too — including Mel's secret book reviews and Dave's behind-the-scenes notes for the latest Two Truths and a Lie.

get our newsletter

Join our Substack to get our FREE newsletter with podcast updates and behind-the-scenes info join in fun chats about books and travel.

no spoilers. ever.

We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.

super-cool reading fun
reading atlas

This 30-page Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.

get our newsletter
Sign up for our free Substack!
follow us

Content on this site is ©2024 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.