Magdalena: A Story of Colombia


Out of Print
Magdalena: A Story of Colombia Author: Format: Hardback First Published: Published By: Vintage Publishing
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Pages: 432 Language: English ISBN: 9781847926104 Categories: , , , ,

An enthralling journey down Colombia’s great Rio Magdalena braiding an ancient past and culture into the wondrous story of a people and country finding healing and rebirth after decades of conflict and war, cocaine cartels and drug lords such as Pablo Escobar. At once an absorbing, intrepid narrative and an inspiring, powerful story of hope and redemption, it is a hymn to a mythic place: the Magdalena, the artery of Colombia. The great river 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 explored as a young ethnobotanist, to lead the first of several expeditions along the giant river; we discover with him the violent, sorrow-filled past and a new present as Colombia embarks 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.

Weight0.816 kg




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Anyone who wishes to understand this mysterious corner of the world deserves Magdalena. It is a capacious, generous and illuminating book -- -Juan Gabriel Vasquez After all our agonies, Wade Davis, through the evocative power of his writing and the clarity of his understanding, gives us all reason to once again love Colombia. That is the wonder of his book, which in many ways reads as a love letter to a nation -- Hector Abad, author of Oblivion Davis stocks his lively narrative with piquant characters, dramatic historical set pieces, and lyrical nature writing. The result is a rich, fascinating study of how nature and a people shape each other * Publishers Weekly * Shimmering... Never wincing from dark histories, yet never abandoning hope, Wade Davis shows us why Colombia stole his heart as a young traveller and holds it still -- Kate Harris, author of Lands of Lost Borders A magnificent, hugely important book, breathtaking in its scope and vision ... a masterpiece ... an epic journey across the nation and into its beating heart ...essential reading for anyone wanting to understand Colombia -- Anna Lewington [Magdalena] is a rallying cry to save the Magdalena from the destructive effects of industrialisation, but it also aims to reset our impressions of the country as a whole... [Davis's] passion for Colombia is better expressed in the depth of information he delivers - and the poetic way in which he captures its extraordinary landscape. Those pondering a trip will be inspired to veer off the tourist path -- Jenny Coad * The Times * Davis is a powerful, penetrating and immensely knowledgeable writer -- Charles Nicholl * Guardian, *Book of the Week* * Davis suffuses his reportage with a visionary tinge. But his subject more than warrants it -- Boyd Tonkin * Financial Times * Magdalena is a revelatory and often enchanting book * Economist * This book is the culmination of a lifetime's work in the country and is suffused with a love and knowledge that only such long acquaintance can bring -- Hugh Thomson * Spectator * Passionate and profoundly engaged... [Davis'] presentation of the great river as Colombia's Mississippi, its fountain of music, the source of its many contradictions...generates an impact that few travel books can muster. -- Brian Morton * Tablet * Music and myth, commerce and colonialism, indigeneity and identity: Magdalena is as impressively exploratory in approach as it is encyclopaedic in scope -- Oliver Balch * Times Literary Supplement * A wonderful evocation of a lifetime's travel in Colombia -- Hugh Thomson * Spectator, *Books of the Year* * Wonderful -- Ilse Crawford * Observer * [An] outstanding travelogue... [Davis] tells epic tales of passion, violence and ambition with tremendous narrative verve -- Ian Critchley * Sunday Times, *Books of the Year* * Davis manages this complex story brilliantly, mixing his knowledge of environmental complexity with a historian's grasp of the big picture... Davis's deep understanding and affection for the people and the environment sweep the reader along -- Robin Hanbury-Tension * Geographical, *Book of the Month* *

Author Biography

Wade Davis is a multi award-winning writer and acclaimed photographer whose work has taken him from the Amazon to Tibet, Africa to Australia, Polynesia to the Arctic. Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society from 2000 to 2013, he is currently Professor of Anthropology and the BC Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia. He is the bestselling author of 22 books, including One River, The Wayfinders and Into the Silence, which was awarded the 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize. In 2016, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada. In 2018 he became an Honorary Citizen of Colombia.