Books: Amazonian Advent

AT PLAY IN THE FIELDS OF THE LORD by Peter Matthiessen. 373 pages. Random House. $5.95.

Peter Matthiessen is an homme engage who is actually engaged in something more strenuous than wagging his tongue. He is a doer who indefatigably does, and a writer who skillfully writes about what he does. In intervals between the composition of three notable short novels, he has pursued a second profession of anthropology in New Guinea and South America, and has written two fine books (Under the Mountain Wall, The Cloud Forest) about his expeditions there. Now at last the scientist and the artist have collaborated...

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