Anthropologist Kevin Jones takes the reader on a journey into the world of the Ache, hunter-gatherers of the deep jungles of Paraguay. The Ache were among the last tribal peoples to come into peaceful contact with the outside world, with some bands leaving the forest only in the late 1970s. Jones was fortunate to live among them while conducting ethnoarchaeological fieldwork as part of his graduate studies. Their stories were so compelling and the insights into their lives so profound that he wove them into this fictional account, seeking to share the uniqueness of the culture while illustrating the universal nature of the Aches' concerns.
The Shrinking Jungle tells the story of a fictional Ache band forced to deal with the tribulations of living in a forest gradually diminished by the encroachments of loggers and farmers. It follows the lives of one family and their band as they grapple for existence in a world of waning resources. The unfolding narrative captures the human struggle to live, love, care for family, fend off danger, and dream and hope for a bright future.
A compassionate look at the lives of people affected by the expansion of modern industrial society, The Shrinking Jungle gives a face to the human cost of tropical forest habitat loss. It also provides a realistic glimpse into the lifeways that were common to all human beings for much of our history.
Kevin T. Jones lived among and studied the Ache while doing graduate work. He received his PhD from the University of Utah in 1984 and he has worked as an archaeologist in the Intermountain West for more than thirty years. He holds academic appointments with the University of Utah Department of Anthropology and the Natural History Museum of Utah.