Mark J. Plotkin, Ph.D., was born and raised in New Orleans and educated at Harvard, Yale, and Tufts. Trained as an ethnobotanist, he has done extensive research throughout the lowlands of tropical South America. He is a co-founder of the Amazon Conservation Team, where he currently serves as president. Dr. Plotkin has previously served as a research associate at the Smithsonian Institution and at the Botanical Museum of Harvard University, the director of plant conservation at the World Wildlife Fund, and the vice president of Conservation International. His research has been featured in Life, Newsweek, Smithsonian, Time, and The New York Times as well as PBS's Nova and the Academy Award-winning documentary Amazon.
Praise for Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice
"Colorful and intriguing . . . Gives us a clear sense of how
field scientists work and make the discoveries upon which modern
--The New York Times Book Review "Fascinating . . . [Plotkin] expresses a very proper awe for the charismatic and mysterious powers of the shamans . . . He has a gift for evoking a sense of place, and the characters he meets come alive on the page."
--Los Angeles Times
"Intriguing, engaging, exciting, and disturbing--a rare accomplishment in a botanical work . . . In their richness and diversity, these pages recall Amazonia itself."
"Thrilling . . . A first-rate travel and adventure tale in which scientific lore, passionate advocacy of conservation and literary gifts are combined."
"Plotkin's tales permit the reader who has never ventured into any rain forest . . . to experience almost firsthand the hazards, as well as the pleasures, of studies with witch doctors. His accounts of hacking his way through lianas thick and thin, of being soaked in sweat and rain, of avoiding large crocodilians, and of being bitten by vampire bats, are the stuff of adventure movies."
--Natural History magazine "This is a lot more than ethnobotany--it's an adventure story. . . . Plotkin is not just some fashionable rain forest Angst meister; he's been there and knows whereof he speaks."
"A compelling, insightful narrative that whisks the reader into a time and place where plants, animals, and indigenous societies coexist . . . A skillful blend of travel adventure, botanical and cultural history, and Amazonian research."
"Plotkin reminds us often of the intimate connections we still have with the rainforest. . . . This book will help save the forest and hopefully the children of the forest, as it reminds us why we should become involved."
"Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice combines high adventure, scientific insight, and a treasure trove of fascinating information."
--Zoogoer magazine "Tales of a Shaman's Apprentice teaches a great deal, while reading like a marvelously exotic travelogue. Most importantly, it re-excites our sense of wonder."
--Juliet Wittman, editor of Discovery