Masters of the Lost Land: the Untold Story of the Fight to Own the Amazon
By Heriberto Araújo
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Deep in the heart of the Amazon, an entire region has lived under the control of one notorious land baron: Josélio de Barros. Josélio cut a grisly path to success: having arrived in the jungle with a shady past, he quickly made a name for himself as an invincible thug who grabbed massive tracts of public land, burned down the jungle and executed or enslaved anyone trying to stop him. Enter Dezinho, the leader of a small but robust farm workers' union fighting against land grabs, ecological destruction, and blatant human rights abuses. When Dezinho was killed in a shocking assassination, the local community held its breath. Would Josélio, whom everyone knew had ordered the hit, finally be brought to account? Or would authorities look the other way, as they had hundreds of times before? Dezinho's widow, Dona Joelma, was not about to let that happen. After his murder, she stepped into the spotlight, orchestrating a huge push to bring national media attention to the injustices in the Amazon. Set against the backdrop of Bolsonaro's devastating cuts to environmental protections, Brazil's rapidly changing place in the geopolitical spectrum, and the Amazon's crucial role in climate change, Masters of the Lost Land is both a gripping epic into one of the last wild places on Earth and an urgent illustration of how people are fighting for – and winning – justice for their futures and the environment.