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on December 16, 2009
The insights of anthropology and human ecology should not be restricted to the learned few. In this work of inspiration, accomplished scholar Wade Davis reminds us not only of the inherently fascinating diversity of humankind but also of the trauma and injustice - and, ultimately, global nihilism - that results in attempting to force a single cultural paradigm upon the peoples of the world in their many environments and historical experiences. The many solutions offered by indigenous cultures to the question "What does it mean to be alive" should tell us that we too can chart a new course for ourselves as we wrestle with the ironic consequences of the scientific and industrial revolutions that now imperil the planet.
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on May 2, 2016
This was an incredibly thought provoking and fascinating read. I’m particularly interested in worldviews and how they can change over time and this book describes in wonderful detail how indigenous cultures express the "human spirit," as Davis says. What is perhaps most incredible about these cultures is that despite unbelievable odds -- including the theft of lands, language, culture, and even children -- many have managed to persist even today. Wade Davis' book is important for so many reasons but for me it is particularly salient given our current trajectory toward annihilation -- fuelled by our addiction to endless growth on a finite planet. A change in worldview (here in the west) that incorporates ancient (and current) indigenous knowledge and honours our relationship with the living world will be essential in order to reverse the damage we've already done. This book is essential reading if you're interested in a livable future.
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on January 18, 2010
We "moderns" with all our technological advances are really arrogant no-it-alls. There are other peoples who have learned to live as families without detroying the earth where they live. They show reverence and hence respect for the land which shelters, clothes and feeds them. They have entered into conversation with all that surrounds them. The folk from modern Hawaii who fashioned an ocean going outrigger and replicated the voyages of their ancient ancestors are very brave indeed. I should like to begin in my old age to try to cultivate the virtues of patience, tolerance, respect and sharing that the peoples of whom Wade speaks have learned over the millenia. And I am going to do what I can do to speak for those people whose cultures are being rapaciously destroyed
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on January 3, 2010
I found this to be a deeply engrossing and richly informative book. Everyone should read this one. His words were beautiful descriptive, I felt as if I was on the journey with him.
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on March 21, 2010
Set in lecture format,makes for good informative reading especially for return Wade Davis readers.A more "real time" book from a favorite writer,less doom and gloom than typical of the genre.'The Wayfinders' reminds us all where we come from,and that we should never forget we are all brothers on this Island Earth.Any one who understands the perils of modern living,particularly Canadians should read this book.
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on April 24, 2010
This book was a pleasant surprise. I hadn't heard of Wade Davis before I read it, and I've definitely become a fan ever since. The book is HOPEFUL beyond all else. It is clear that Davis has an incredible expanse of experiences and insights about the world around us, cultures and civilizations, and the individuals that make them up. The descriptions of the remote tribes that Davis has had the privilege of living with are magical. Ties in extremely well with issues of globalization, modernization, the increasingly homogeneous and "western" way of living for much of the people of the world, as well as the current environmental crisis of our generation. This book is really for anyone and everything that is interested in the world around them. Easy to read for the most part, I think I slowed down a few times when it got a bit more technical, or "more of the same" but all in all... really good read.
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on June 11, 2012
Although Davis highlights the destruction of traditional cultures, there is also a great focus on indigenous values still alive today. With so much focus on biodiversity loss in nature we forget as a part of nature that our own selves are being lost in the colonized industrial age. Our relationship to the land has suffered - Davis points us in a direction that shows the past is the future, that intuition and connectedness can play a role in reviving the human spirit.
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on June 24, 2014
Wade is capable of rational thought and even incisive, biting, categorical academic criticism (as evidenced by his recent and probably partially justified trashing of Jared Diamond's latest book), but you would not know that from reading this book. It contains some mildly interesting first-hand observations and textbook-type overviews, but every time he comes close to actually make a substantial argument or observation the narrative devolves into grandiose, empty rhetoric and mystification. The fact that these "two Wades" (the rational academic and the rhapsodizing mystifier) exist side-by-side smacks of disingenuousness, if not intellectual dishonesty. If you are planning to retreat from society to your own Walden Pond, this book may be for you; if you have a job and interact with people at some point, it will likely lack relevance.
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on October 7, 2013
"It is neither change nor technology that threatens the integrity of culture. It is power, the crude face of domination." And there you have it - the central statement of Davis' book. Everything else stems from it. You could casually flip through the book and dismiss Davis as a Luddite, but you'd be dead wrong. Davis isn't some crank with an axe to grind - he's staggeringly well-read and well-travelled, his research is beyond impeccable, and he has deep personal experience about all of his subjects. The man is a phenomenon.

Wonderful book, especially if you grew up vaguely thinking that the Kon-Tiki expedition was a good thing.

Six stars.
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on December 26, 2009
Everyone interested in the survival of people on this globe should read this book. All who think that our western lifestyle is the end all and the best. I am impressed by Davis' respect and reverence for "other" ways of being. Excellent. Don't miss it. Excellent bibliography to supplement your reading.
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