By Leonard Clark
“An exploration to rival Lewis and Clark’s, remarkable both for its sense of adventure and for the breadth of its reporting.”
— Joe Kane, author of Savages
In June of 1946, former Army intelligence officer Colonel Leonard Clark arrives in Lima, Peru with $1000 – all that he owns – pinned inside his shirt pocket. His goal: to discover the gold of the legendary El Dorado and the Seven Cities of Cibola. He has arrived in South America with only a brief note of introduction to a Peruvian believed to know of the gold’s location, but Clark, broke from bad investments in both the U.S. and China, is desperate for the treasure. Warned that hundreds who have gone before him have never returned, that he goes “at his own hazard,” Clark proceeds, using the “cover” that he is, in fact, in search of the medical secrets of the native Indians. A dangerous trip would be made all the more treacherous were his true intent discovered. Remarkably, over six months later, Clark emerges from the rain forest having survived this dangerous trek and reached his illusive goal. This amazing adventure is documented in Clark’s riveting The Rivers Ran East. Long out of print, this story is once again available as part of the Travelers’ Tales Classics series.
Drawn by visions of El Dorado and a map he is certain will lead him to it, Clark heads into the unforgiving wilderness with barely the provisions to sustain him, relying on his wartime experience in Asia, his wits, and the grace of God to see him through. Clark is joined on his journey by the redoubtable Jorge Mendoza, a twenty-four-year-old Peruvian graduate of Lima University, and the fearless Inez Pokorny, a gutsy, multilingual female explorer. Along their perilous journey, they encounter headhunting Jivaro Indians, man-eating jaguars, forty-foot-long anacondas, poisonous plants, and shamanistic healers. In addition to discovering his sought-after treasure, Clark collects and documents valuable and ground-breaking information on the local flora and fauna, medical uses of local plants, and descriptions of the indigenous peoples and their languages.
Originally published in 1953, The Rivers Ran East remains one of the greatest journeys ever recorded. It is a searing adventure story from one of the all-time great explorers and adventurers.
Classic Praise for The Rivers Ran East
“…one of the most rousing adventure yarns of the season.”
— TIME Magazine
“Thoroughly authenticated…reads like fabulous legend.”
— Kirkus Reviews
— Library Journal
About the Author
Leonard Clark was one of the greatest of all twentieth-century explorers. He attended the University of California, then joined the army, attaining the rank of colonel. During World War II, he spent many months in China behind Japanese lines organizing guerrilla activity. His post-war expeditions began in Borneo, and over the years he made trips to Mexico, the Celebes, Sumatra, China, India, Japan, Central America, South American and Burma. Other books by Clark include A Wanderer Till I Die and The Marching Wind. He passed away in 1957 at the age of 49, while on a diamond-mining expedition in Venezuela.
About Travelers’ Tales
Founded in 1993, Travelers’ Tales publishes the best in travel and spiritual writing from world-famous authors as well as new writers. Our goal is to inspire and enlighten readers through true stories by travelers who have explored the depths of their experiences. The series includes: country and regional guides; books which explore the themes of women’s travel, spirituality, food, humor, and adventure; travel advice books; Footsteps, a series that features single-author travel narratives; and Travelers’ Tales Classics, a new series which introduces out-of print favorites of travel literature to a whole new audience. The Rivers Ran East is the third book in this new series.
The Rivers Ran East
By Leonard Clark
Travelers’ Tales, May, 2001
$16.95 ($26.00 Canada), trade paperback, 400 pages, 5 1/8″ x 8″