Wade Davis has been called "a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life's diversity." In "Shadows in the Sun," he brings all of those gifts to bear on a fascinating examination of indigenous cultures and the interactions between human societies and the natural world.Ranging from the British Columbian wilderness to the jungles of the Amazon and the polar ice of the Arctic Circle, "Shadows in the Sun" is a testament to a world where spirits still stalk the land and seize the human heart. Its essays and stories, though distilled from travels in widely separated parts of the world, are fundamentally about landscape and character, the wisdom of lives drawn directly from the land, the hunger of those who seek to rediscover such understanding, and the consequences of failure.As Davis explains, "To know that other, vastly different cultures exist is to remember that our world does not exist in some absolute sense but rather is just one model of reality. The Penan in the forests of Borneo, the Vodoun acolytes in Haiti, the jaguar Shaman of Venezuela, teach us that there are other options, other possibilities, other ways of thinking and interacting with the earth." "Shadows in the Sun" considers those possibilities, and explores their implications for our world.
Renowned anthropologist Wade Davis shows us how preserving the diversity of the world's cultures and spiritual beliefs is just as important as preserving our endangered plants, insects, and animals. In this collection of personal essays, Davis tells of dramatic personal adventures during which he visits and often lives with indigenous communities in the remote regions of the world. He offers reports of toad-smoking shamanistic journeys in the Amazon forests, tracking an elusive cloud leopard in the mountains of Tibet, and a soulful lament for the lost American buffalo.
Although he has been called a modern-day Indiana Jones, Davis has far more integrity. His stories are not in service to self-glorification, but rather to one resounding theme:
If there is one lesson I have drawn from my travels, it is that cultural and biological diversity are far more than the foundation of stability; they are an article of faith, a fundamental truth that indicates the way things are supposed to be.... There is a fire burning over the Earth, taking with it plants and animals, cultures, languages, ancient skills, and visionary wisdom. Quelling this flame and reinventing the poetry of diversity is the most important challenge of our times. --Gail Hudson
"One of the intense pleasures of travel is the opportunity to live among people who have not forgotten the old ways, who still feel their past in the wind, touch it in stones polished by rain, recognize its taste in the bitter leaves of plants."
In this riveting collection of stories and essays, gifted scientist, anthropologist, and writer Wade Davis offers a captivating look at indigenous cultures around the world--from the nomadic Penan of Malaysia to the Vodoun practitioners of Haiti--and a poetic, timely examination of the rapport between humans and the natural world. Traveling from the mountains of Tibet to the jungles of the Amazon, Davis delves into the mysteries of shamanic healing, experiences first-hand hallucinogenic plants, explores the vanishing Borneo rain forests, and describes the ingenuity of the Inuit as they hunt narwhale on the Arctic ice.
A compelling and utterly unique celebration of the beauty and diversity of our planet, Shadows in the Sun is about landscape and character, the wisdom of lives drawn directly from the land, and the hunger of those who seek to rediscover such understanding. Davis shows that preserving the diversity of the world's cultures and spiritual beliefs is as important as preserving endangered plants and animals--and vital to our understanding of who we are.
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