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June 02, 1996|CHARLES SOLOMON

JAGUARS RIPPED MY FLESH by Tim Cahill (Vintage: $13.; 306 pp.). Cahill's columns for Outside magazine helped to move travel-adventure writing beyond the macho fantasies of "men's" magazines. His first-person stories range in tone from awe-struck descriptions of the beauty of the Chachapoyan ruins in the Andes to slightly muddled recollections of a sweet drink made from fermented sugar cane juice that "goes down easy after a long walk and sneaks up on you like a mugger in the night." Cahill's most famous piece, "The Shame of Escobilla," exposed the slaughter of thousands of endangered sea turtles by Mexican entrepreneurs and the official efforts to hide the crimes. His humorous accounts of watching mountain gorillas in Rwanda, caving in Kentucky and kayaking in Alaska retain their appeal.

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