As a diamond prospector, gold-panner, surveyor of the uncharted bush, hunter and builder of roads, Matthew Young spent over fifty years working in the wild forests and savannahs of his native Guyana.
He writes vividly of the beauties and hazards of that life, of marauding jaguars, deadly labaria snakes dropping from the trees, piranhas that can strip the flesh from a body in seconds and thirty foot anacondas that can squeeze the life out of a man; of battling up river against life-threatening rapids and thunderous waterfalls.
His is a story of resourcefulness and wonder, of a practical man who never lost his sense of the forest's mystery, who learnt a profound respect for the culture, knowledge and skills of the Amerindians of the interior. This is also a fascinating social history from colonial times to the 1980s, including Young's involvement with the aftermath of the tragic mass slaughter of over 900 followers of the American cult leader Jim Jones at Jonestown in the Guyanese interior.
Guyana: The Lost El Dorado gives an engrossing account of one of the last untouched tropical rainforests in the world and its teeming wildlife. It is an indispensable guidebook for the intrepid armchair traveller, gold prospector and diamond panner!
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Matthew French Young was born in North West District of British Guiana in 1905. For fifty years between 1925-1975, he worked in Guyana's interior as a prospector, surveyor and road builder. He died in 1996.