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The author is researching a history of Bolivia and is determined to visit every corner of that vast country - famous for its extremes. Along the way he visits arid deserts and steaming jungles, tours silver, copper, tin and led mines high in the Andes. He travels the most dangerous roads in the Americas. Rides buses, trains, trucks, boats and even an ox cart. He is one of the last people to take the steamer across Lake Titicaca and to ride the infamous Madeira-Mamore railway. He visits coca and rubber plantations, clashes with border guards, eats roast monkey and guinea pig, encounters river dolphins, huge butterflies, brilliant parrots and swarms of giant mosquitos. He meets everyone from students and army officers to miners, missionaries and mayors and in the process he falls in love with this huge and amazing land with its extraordinary geography, its violent history and its wildly diverse people.