The award-winning anthropologist and explorer shares his enthralling journey down Colombia’s Rio Magdalena – revealing its people, ancient past, and present rebirth after decades of conflict.
Heralded as a ‘rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all life’s diversity’ (David Suzuki), Wade Davis is the world’s pre-eminent living anthropologist and our most renowned documentarian of Indigenous cultures.
The subject of and inspiration behind innumerable works of fiction and non-fiction alike, from National Geographic TV series to The X-Files, as well as a licensed river guide, forest ranger and photographer whose work has appeared in Time and been exhibited at Harvard, the UN and US State Department, Wade is also an accomplished and eloquent storyteller, and the author of internationally bestselling books including The Serpent and the Rainbow and Into the Silence.
He returns to the How To Academy to share his insights into a mythic place: the Rio Magdalena, the artery of Colombia.
The Magdalena has driven the nation’s life, its stories, its history and trade, its shamanistic traditions, and is at the heart of its literature and music. Yet, as the country suffered through decades of violence in the 20th century, the great river suffered too, becoming the graveyard of the nation, an environmental catastrophe and a human dumping ground for all sides of the conflict.
In 2015, Wade returned to the secretive place he had visited as a young ethnobotanist to discover a new present. Colombia was embarking on what had previously seemed to the world an impossible change: a life-affirming healing, spiritually and politically, alongside its Indigenous peoples; heart-warming portraits of unforgettable people; the beauty of forests, the power of the river.
This is the magnificent, definitive story of Colombia itself, from the conquistadors to the corruption of the 20th century to the new years of long-hoped for peace and stability.
Praise for Wade Davis:
‘Powerful and profound, a moving, epic masterpiece of literature, history and hope (Praise for Into the Silence)’ – Sunday Times
‘Extraordinary…a biographical tapestry rich in history, adventure, intrigue and scholarship (Praise for One River)’ – Nature
‘I was enthralled by Wade Davis’s Into the Silence, an account of three failed Everest expeditions leading up to the death of Mallory in 1924, which brilliantly places those feats of endurance in the context of British imperialism and the psychological aftermath of the First World War’ – Nigel Jones, Guardian
‘Davis writes magnificently… A great lyrical book, as richly varied as the rain forests it describes (Praise for One River)’ – New York Times Book Review