The Dictator’s Highway: Patagonian Exploits along the Carretera Austral Justin Walker

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The Dictator’s Highway: Patagonian Exploits along the Carretera Austral  by  Justin Walker

The Dictator’s Highway: Patagonian Exploits along the Carretera Austral by Justin Walker
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After seizing power in a violent coup, President Augusto Pinochet ordered the construction of the Carretera Austral, a highway across Chile’s southern wilderness. Staggering over mountain passes, skirting around volcanoes and glaciers, and cuttingMoreAfter seizing power in a violent coup, President Augusto Pinochet ordered the construction of the Carretera Austral, a highway across Chile’s southern wilderness.

Staggering over mountain passes, skirting around volcanoes and glaciers, and cutting across interminable stretches of dense rainforest, the ambitious project took the rest of the century to complete.In an absorbing account, Justin Walker explores this territory from one end to the other, a thousand kilometres and more, moving from village to village by any available means.

His expertly crafted descriptions create a vivid picture of Chilean Patagonia: devastatingly rugged landscapes, turquoise rivers, curious wildlife, and the tough realities of daily life in some astonishingly isolated communities.Through tales of the early settlers, and in regular exchanges with today’s residents, this book also engages with debates of critical importance for Chile, a country rising to prominence in a modern globalised world: hydroelectric megadams, the catastrophic destruction of forests, inequalities in schooling and the stark polarisation of wealth.Combining independent travel with local history, social conscience with environmental awareness, and contemplative reflections with light-hearted humour, The Dictator’s Highway is a unique book and a compelling read.



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