London, Mark 1952-
London, Mark 1952-
Home—Washington, DC. E-mail—[email protected]
Attorney. Admitted to the Bar of the District of Columbia, 1979; partner in the law firm of London & Mead, Washington, DC.
(With Brian Kelly) Amazon, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (San Diego, CA), 1983.
Masonry: How to Care for Old and Historic Brick and Stone, Preservation Press (Washington, DC), 1988.
(With Brian Kelly) The Last Forest: The Amazon in the Age of Globalization, Random House (New York, NY), 2007.
Attorney Mark London is the author of several books that he wrote with Brian Kelly, executive editor of U.S. News & World Report. Amazon, the first of these, is a study of the Amazon region based on observations made during two trips made by the authors. London had long wanted to see the region, and in addition to exploring the Amazon, they compiled statistics about its abuse and efforts being made to preserve it. Although they had understood the amount of rainforest cut through slash-and-burn methods to be thirty percent, they found that at the time it was more like five percent, and they note that, according to Brazil's National Institute of Amazon Research, the destruction of rainforest doubled in three years, from 1975 to 1978.
Dennis Drabelle reviewed the book for the Smithsonian, commenting: "One of the many pleasures to be found in this book is a glimpse of probably the world's richest man." The man was American billionaire Daniel I. Ludwig, at that time eighty-five years of age, a man who had granted only two interviews in his entire life. In a chapter about Ludwig, the authors relate a failed project that began fifteen years earlier, when Ludwig bought a piece of Brazilian land equal to the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. He felt that wood would become dear by the end of the century, and he established a tree farm, the initial expense for which was approximately one billion dollars. The reclusive Ludwig failed because he had not formed alliances with local bureaucrats, and the poor were unhappy that the foreigner owned so much of their land. In the end, he sold it at a huge loss. Drabelle concluded by describing Amazon as "a superior and absorbing State of the Amazon report."
London and Kelly also wrote The Four Little Dragons: Inside Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore at the Dawn of the Pacific Century, about the countries and city-states (Singapore and Hong Kong) also commonly called the "Little Tigers." The authors visited these destinations and comment on the place of these countries in global trade, particularly with the United States. Frank Gibney reviewed the book in the New York Times Book Review, commenting on the authors' "sweeping generalizations" and "an air of condescension bordering on racism." Gibney added that their "tone is all the more unfortunate because the authors—obviously bright people—have included much good and interesting material in their account. They correctly point out the continuing political and social unrest that lies behind the extraordinary South Korean economic success story, as well as the inevitable climb of the low wages on which so much of the country's economic progress has been based…. They rightly make a point of Taiwan's extraordinary congeries of huge cash surpluses and small business, with direct tie-ins to merchants and wholesale buyers in the United States."
London and Kelly return to South America with The Last Forest: The Amazon in the Age of Globalization. In this later volume, they note the changes that have occurred, including the much greater areas affected by deforestation for the purposes of cattle ranching, logging, and farming, and the greater impact of technology on speeding up the destruction of the rainforest. They also comment on current politics, culture, crime, and poverty. The authors compare Brazil with the American West, which also succumbed to the pressures of development, and the threat to contemporary American farmers who are forced to compete with imported food. They write of corruption, violence over land titles, and murdered activists.
In reviewing The Last Forest in Foreign Affairs, Richard Feinberg wrote that, although it is "not always analytically precise," the book provides an "eye-opening journey through the planet's wealthiest, most contested remaining frontier." "An incisive, information-packed update on man and nature in our greatest rainforest," concluded a Kirkus Reviews contributor.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Barron's, October 30, 1989, Jack D. Kirwan, review of The Four Little Dragons: Inside Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore at the Dawn of the Pacific Century, p. 75.
Booklist, December 1, 2006, Donna Seaman, review of The Last Forest: The Amazon in the Age of Globalization, p. 15.
Chicago, May, 1984, David Standish, review of Amazon, p. 137.
Far Eastern Economic Review, January 25, 1990, N. Balakrishnan, review of The Four Little Dragons, p. 40.
Foreign Affairs, March 1, 2007, Richard Feinberg, review of The Last Forest, p. 175.
Kirkus Reviews, December 1, 2006, review of The Last Forest, p. 1209.
Library Journal, November 1, 1983, review of Amazon, p. 2072; October 1, 1989, Steven I. Levine, review of The Four Little Dragons, p. 108; December 1, 2006, Margaret F. Dominy, review of The Last Forest, p. 160.
New Yorker, January 23, 1984, review of Amazon, p. 105.
New York Times Book Review, January 22, 1984, Edward Hoagland, review of Amazon, p. 26; October 29, 1989, Frank Gibney, review of The Four Little Dragons, p. 37.
Nieman Reports, September 22, 1990, Murray Seeger, review of The Four Little Dragons, p. 32.
Publishers Weekly, October 28, 1983, review of Amazon, p. 66; December 23, 1983, Shirley Horner, "Brian Kelly and Mark London," interview, p. 60; February 19, 1988, Penny Kaganoff, review of Masonry: How to Care for Old and Historic Brick and Stone, p. 80; August 18, 1989, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of The Four Little Dragons, p. 47; November 13, 2006, review of The Last Forest, p. 43.
Science News, March 3, 2007, review of The Last Forest, p. 143.
Smithsonian, February, 1984, Dennis Drabelle, review of Amazon, p. 157.
Times Literary Supplement, June 1, 1990, Simon Winchester, review of The Four Little Dragons, p. 577.
Washington Post, April 6, 1984, Desson Howe, "The Law of the Jungle; Attorney Mark London's Amazon Adventure," p. 3; April 14, 1985, review of Amazon, p. 12.
Washington Post Book World, February 25, 2007, Candice Millard, review of The Last Forest, p. 8.
Last Forest, Web site, http://www.thelastforest.net (November 21, 2007).