Shadows in the Sun: Travels to Landscapes of Spirit and Desire

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9780767904025: Shadows in the Sun: Travels to Landscapes of Spirit and Desire

"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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Review:

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

From the Back Cover:

"The wonders of the diversity of various cultures are hunted, gathered, and appreciated here--Davis's lovely, cubist, rich landscape portraits are topographies of spirit, conveying a sense of the music of place."
--Kirkus Reviews

"Delightful. . . . [Shadows in the Sun] is an educational, entertaining miscellany of hard science and weird science."
--Outside

"Essays so sensitively written their pristine language reflects the spectacular beauty of the landscapes they describe. . . . Davis deftly illuminates the little understood connection between biodiversity and cultural diversity, and strongly suggests that more be done to preserve what's left of wilderness."
--Booklist

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Davis, Wade
Published by Broadway (1999)
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