The author has spent his life doing what most people only read about: living life to the fullest as an adventurer, prospector, hunter, private detective, and federal agent. He is not the only one to have done these things, but he is, arguably, the only one to get it all so candidly down on paper.
This is Mangieri’s third book, following two others dealing with his frustrations and adventures in law enforcement and the legal bureaucracy. Passport is a first-person account of his earliest forays as a young man into the jungles of Central America, searching for diamonds, and to Mexico to scale its highest peak. This may be Mangieri’s purest book, in the sense that these encounters pitted him primarily against the natural elements, where he had to survive using his wits, determination, and the support of his guides and animals. The guides prevented him from fording a stream infested with piranha, and the hunting dogs helped him make his first big kill: a jaguar.
Most refreshing is Mangieri’s willingness to share his efforts and difficulties getting into print and raising funds to go on these escapades. As a young postal clerk, he had no background in world travel or wilderness survival and no track record in publishing. Initially, he had little luck in “breaking in,” other than into low-paying men’s adventure magazines.
But Mangieri proves that, however naÃ¯ve and idealistic he may be, he is resourceful when it comes to garnering a buck for his next trip. He scored a $25 check from Ever-Ready Batteries when he shares with them his method for keeping vampire bats of the Central American jungles from attacking him while he slept: keep the flashlight on all night, using Ever-Readys, of course. That tip became a magazine ad. He also found a friend at the Miami Herald willing to keep his name in print by describing his next, planned adventure, as he sought financing.
Passport is a lively self-portrait by a dreamer in the autumn of his life who has had the resolve-throughout his whole adult life-to try to live his dream. And the most impressive part of this book, beyond the snake-ridden jungles, is the fact that he never gives up.
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