South America's story is as varied as its geography of soaring mountains, scorching deserts, and lush rainforests. In Ecuador alone, there are 25,000 kinds of plants, 1,500 species of birds, 4,500 different butterflies, and 300 mammals! Gena K. Gorrell's brilliant text combines an often tragic history with the problems and triumphs of the present. The information she offers ranges from "the Requirement" (a document read out by the conquistadors each time they came upon a new group of indigenous people to justify their actions) to drug cartels, from the hidden and secretive Elders (a civilization that retreated to the mountains to preserve its customs and now considers itself the "guardian of the world") to Gabriel García Márquez. Replete with Andrej Krystoforski's vibrant illustrations, maps, an index, and bibliography, In the Land of the Jaguar: South America and Its People is a fascinating, colorful journey of exploration and discovery.