A beautiful collection of essays about the varieties of ways humans have made their way in this world and a plea for true multiculturalism in the face of an increasingly monolithic worldview. Full of rich insights from years spent in the field, Davis's book is full of insight and incident. A life-affirming book. — From Stephen's favorites
Every culture is a unique answer to a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human and alive? Anthropologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis leads us on a thrilling journey to celebrate the wisdom of the world's indigenous cultures.
In Polynesia we set sail with navigators whose ancestors settled the Pacific ten centuries before Christ. In the Amazon we meet the descendants of a true Lost Civilization, the people of the Anaconda. In the Andes we discover that the Earth really is alive, while in the far reaches of Australia we experience Dreamtime, the all-embracing philosophy of the first humans to walk out of Africa. We then travel to Nepal, where we encounter a wisdom hero, a Bodhisattva, who emerges from forty-five years of Buddhist retreat and solitude. And finally we settle in Borneo, where the last rainforest nomads struggle to survive.
Understanding the lessons of this journey will be our mission for the next century. For at risk is the human legacy -- a vast archive of knowledge and expertise, a catalogue of the imagination. Rediscovering a new appreciation for the diversity of the human spirit, as expressed by culture, is among the central challenges of our time.
About the Author
WADE DAVIS is the bestselling author of several books, including The Serpent and the Rainbow, Light at the Edge of the World, and One River. He is an award-winning anthropologist, ethnobotanist, filmmaker, and photographer. Davis currently holds the post of National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, and divides his time between Washington, D.C. and northern British Columbia.