For thirty-two years, the artist Margaret Mee was enchanted by and lured back again and again to the massive, unpredictable and fertile rainforests of Amazonas. Her initial objective, to search out and illustrate the glorious flora growing in the tree canopies and along the innumerable waterways of the great rivers of the Amazon basin, was later combined with a growing concern at the commercial plunder of the great forests. Her first expedition to Amazonas was in 1956 and it was then that she began to keep the diaries that, along with her paintings, drawings and sketches, make up this book. Although plant hunting always came first whenever possible and practical, other events often took over. A small dug-out canoe could become a waterlogged, if not dangerous, place to be; rapids had to be got through; recalcitrant boatmen were gently or sternly coerced; drunken prospectors were held off with a revolver. She was fascinated by the rich mix of Brazilians she came across and often lived with for a time; she was especially fond of the riverines she met, and over the years became friends with many of them. Between expeditions, some of which lasted for up to four months, Margaret returned home to Sul Paulo, to teaching commitments, and to her own painting. Unpredictable weather, transport and guides meant she often had to make hurried in situ sketches (always meticulously annotated) which she later worked up into coloured sketches and finished paintings. In the autumn of 1988, just after what was sadly to be her last expedition, Margaret came to England to lecture to the Royal Geographic Society and attend the opening of an exhibition of her paintings, Margaret Mee’s Amazon, at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. It is ironic that this enthusiastic lover of the Amazon, who had braved so many hazardous and alarming situations, was killed in a car crash in England. She was seventy-nine, keen to return to the Amazon, and still producing fine work. There is every reason to suppose that more passion and more painting would have been forthcoming. As it is, her legacy is incalculable.