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Political Science General

The Devil's Curve

A Journey into Power and Profit at the Amazon's Edge

by (author) Arno Kopecky

Douglas & McIntyre
Initial publish date
Aug 2012
General, South America
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Aug 2012
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2012
    List Price

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A vivid tear through South America, exposing the devastating impact of globalization.

In June 2009, 60 soldiers slipped into the thorn-covered bush above Devil's Curve, a notorious bend in the two-lane highway connecting Peru's northern Amazon to the outside world. The soldiers had orders to dislodge the 3,000 Awajun natives who had been camped at Devil's Curve for the past 57 days. The subsequent clash was deadly.

This blockade formed a crucial link in a series of protests that had shut down transport and industry across the entire Peruvian Amazon -- the third-largest tract of rainforest on earth, covering more than half the country. At issue was the lease of three-quarters of the jungle to foreign oil and mining interests over the previous decade. The Devil's Curve untangles the story behind the deadly stand of the Awajun people -- and the Canadian gold mine that provoked their drastic action.

Arno Kopecky picks up the story where the news left off. Travelling to Peru and Colombia, he follows radical left-wing politicians on the campaign trail, discusses black magic with villagers, winds up in gunfights and hallucinates in dark huts. Superbly crafted and full of complex and captivating characters, The Devil's Curve is a story that speaks to universal themes of the dislocation of Aboriginal people, the inequitable distribution of wealth globally and the abdication of responsibility from governments to corporations. Kopecky's remarkable debut is a haunting tale, brilliantly told, of how affluent Western lifestyles impact distant societies.

About the author

Arno Kopecky is the author of The Devil's Curve and Oil Man and the Sea. He is a journalist and travel writer whose dispatches have appeared in The Walrus, Foreign Policy, the Globe and Mail, Maclean's, The Tyee and Kenya's Daily Nation. He has covered civil uprisings in Mexico, cyclones in Burma, Zimbabwe's 30-year dictatorship and election violence in Kenya. He lives in Squamish, B.C.

Arno Kopecky's profile page


  • Short-listed, Canadian Science Writers' Association Award

Editorial Reviews

" eclectic blend of travelogue, character study, political history and personal journey."

Winnipeg Free Press

"a delightful narrative — replete with vivid descriptions of Awajun life in the Peruvian jungle, depressingly disturbing images of a violent and impoverished Colombia, and even a sprinkling of hilarious anecdotes"

Chronicle Herald

"Arno Kopecky's account of his journey through the Peruvian Amazon and into the desplazados' neighbourhoods of Colombia's Medellin is funny, complex, moving, and meticulously researched. Kopecky spends months talking to South American indigenous leaders about the impact of Canadian mining corporations on their communities, digging deep, asking the hard questions. The parallels to Canada's own indigenous communities' struggles against multinationals will not be lost on any reader. A must read."

Carmen Aguirre, author of Canada Reads winner "Something Fierce"