One rainy morning in the winter of 1909, a man with an altogether average look about him quit his job at the London Morning Leader, kissed his wife and children goodbye, and took a train to Swansea in Wales, where he talked his way aboard a freighter bound for the upper reaches of the Amazon. Three years later, Tomlinson published a book about his adventures. This book made him famous.
“The Sea and the Jungle,” wrote David McCord, “is an invitation to a new experience. It is more than that: an invitation to a new attitude toward life. Sadness perhaps, but no harshness; concern, but no diminution of spirit; doubt, but no hauling down the ensign. ‘The right good book,’ says Mr. Tomlinson, ‘is always a book of travel: it is about a life’s journey.’”