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Wade Davis

Author of The Serpent and the Rainbow

33+ Works 4,050 Members 91 Reviews 6 Favorited

About the Author

Wade Davis is Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society. An ethnographer, photographer, filmmaker, and writer, he is the author of Light at the Edge of the World, One River, the international bestseller The Serpent and the Rainbow, and other books. His articles have appeared in show more Outside, Cond Nast Traveler, National Geographic, Scientific American, and many other publications. show less

Works by Wade Davis

The Serpent and the Rainbow (1985) 1,245 copies
Into the silence (2011) 706 copies
One River (1996) 535 copies

Associated Works

The Missing of the Somme (1994) — Foreword, some editions — 294 copies
The Serpent and the Rainbow [1988 film] (1988) — Author, some editions — 49 copies
The Weeping Goldsmith: Discoveries in the Secret Land of Myanmar (2009) — Foreword, some editions — 16 copies


adventure (33) Amazon (29) anthropology (296) biography (51) botany (30) climbing (16) cultural studies (16) culture (55) ecology (16) essays (20) ethnobotany (95) ethnography (21) Everest (68) exploration (41) geography (19) George Mallory (16) Haiti (138) Himalayas (22) history (145) magic (19) Massey Lectures (16) memoir (18) mountaineering (73) non-fiction (298) occult (22) own (21) photography (30) read (26) religion (79) science (69) sociology (19) South America (32) spirituality (17) Tibet (19) to-read (229) travel (101) unread (18) voodoo (169) WWI (72) zombies (85)

Common Knowledge



The lives of those involved in and those excluded from British Everest attempts up to 1924 are documented. Their background, dispositions, abilities and conflicts are covered in considerable detail. In short, this book gives an extensive view of the politics.

The disillusionment of the great war figured heavily into those early Everest attempts.

The epilogue gave a convincing explanation that Mallory and Irving probably did not reach the summit.

Chapter 7: the blindness of birds

… The four Noble truths
1. First, all life is suffering.… Only that terrible things happen. Evil was not exceptional but part of the existing order of things, a consequence of human actions or karma.
2. Second, because all suffering is ignorance. By ignorance the Buddha did not mean stupidity. He meant the tendency of human beings to cling to the cruel illusion of their own permanent and centrality…
3. The third of the Noble truths was the revelation that ignorance could be overcome, And the
4. Fourth and most essential was the delineation of a contemplative practice that, if followed, promised an end to suffering and a true liberation and transformation of the human heart. The goal was not to escape the world but to escape being enslaved by it. The purpose of practice was not the elimination of self but the annihilation of ignorance and the unmasking of the true Buddha nature, which, like a berry Jewel, shines bright within every human being, waiting to be revealed.

I knock this book down one star because it would go for pages without stating what year they were talking about. Even at the start of chapters they would give a month and day, but not state the year.
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bread2u | 35 other reviews | May 15, 2024 |
A graphic history of war, Mountaineering and human endeavours. A view of politics and pomposity in the Royal Geographic Society as it affected attempts to climb Mount Everest and self interest of those involved combined with rank bad management and heroic activities of the climbers.
David-Block | 35 other reviews | Feb 6, 2024 |
Highly readable. The subject matters, botany, biography, pharmacology, anthropology, geology are all fascinating. A good map, the smaller scale the better, will help because those provided aren't up to the job. But that's a minor point.
The significant parts of this book are the understanding that Davis has of the indigenous world view of Andean and Amazonian tribes. He embraces it because the tribal views of existence are a coherent set of beliefs that can be explained through the natural world. One of the many devices used to connect with the spiritual world is through the use of coca. We Westerners have a wildly pathological view of the drug. Davis shows how nutritious, life sustaining and essential a drug it is to those who have a respect for it. (I am not talking about cocaine).
A page turner and thoroughly informative.
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ivanfranko | 12 other reviews | Jan 8, 2024 |
3.5 stars, this was just too long. Absolutely fascinating, but exhaustive in scope. The last 100 pages or so are the best, giving an excellent feel for being on the mountain with relatively primitive equipment. After reading Into Thin Air, this one just can't live up.
KallieGrace | 35 other reviews | Oct 26, 2023 |



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