Brazilian Adventure

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Brazilian Adventure
Author Peter Fleming
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Genre Travel
Publisher Alden Press
Publication date
1933
Media type Print (Hardback)

Brazilian Adventure is a book by Peter Fleming about his search for the lost Colonel Percy Fawcett in the Brazilian jungle. Fawcett along with his son and another companion had disappeared while searching for the Lost City of Z in 1925. Fleming was working as literary editor for The Times when he answered a small ad asking for volunteers to join an expedition to find out what had happened to Fawcett. The story of Fleming's 1932 expedition is told in Brazilian Adventure.

Despite a great deal of fanfare, the expedition seems to have been very poorly organized and Fleming and his companions do not seem to have done much preparation, not even bothering to learn Portuguese. The expedition, commanded by an eccentric American "Major George Lewy Pingle" (in reality, an alias for Captain J. G. Holman), eventually made its way to the Araguaya river and proceeded down it, blasting away at any creature that moved.

When the expedition reached the Tapirapé River, which Fawcett was known to have traveled, the group broke up, with Major Pingle refusing to go any farther. Fleming and two other colleagues resigned from the expedition and headed up river alone. After some difficult traveling, they were forced to turn back without discovering anything about the fate of Fawcett.

The third part of the book describes Fleming and his friends racing Major Pingle and the loyalists down the Araguaya and Tocantins rivers to the Amazon River and the port of Belém, from where they could get a ship home. This part of the journey actually has a purpose, whereas it is difficult to believe that members of the expedition were really serious about the search for Fawcett.

The book is a light and amusing read and Fleming writes well, although he is very much a product of his time and class. The book's claim to fame is that it is, in the word of the author, "honest," in the sense that it lampooned earlier works of travel literature, such as the sometime over-the-top descriptions of daring-do found in Colonel Fawcett's writings. For this reason it is often considered a classic of travel literature, along with Fleming's next two books, One's Company: A Journey to China in 1933 (published in 1934) and News from Tartary: A Journey from Peking to Kashmir (1936) which were widely read by the public and influential with other travel writers.

Peter Fleming was the brother of Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond thriller series.

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