- Verwacht op 20 aug. 2020
- € 17,99
A captivating new book – from the winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Into the Silence – that illuminates Colombia's complex past, present, and future through the story of the great Río Magdalena.
Travellers often become enchanted with the first country that captures their hearts and gives them license to be free. For Wade Davis, it was Colombia. In this masterful new book, he revisits the mighty Magdalena, the river that made possible the nation. Along the way, he finds a people who have overcome years of conflict precisely because of their character, informed by an enduring spirit of place, and a deep love of a land that is home to the greatest ecological and geographical diversity on the planet.
Only in Colombia can a traveller wash ashore in a coastal desert, follow waterways through wetlands as wide as the sky, ascend narrow tracks through dense tropical forests, and reach verdant Andean valleys rising to soaring ice-clad summits.
Both a corridor of commerce and a fountain of culture, the wellspring of Colombian music, literature, poetry and prayer, the Magdalena has served in dark times as the graveyard of the nation. And yet, always, it returns as a river of life. At once an absorbing adventure and an inspiring tale of hope and redemption, Magdalena gives us a rare, kaleidoscopic picture of a nation on the verge of a new period of peace.
Braiding together memoir, history, and journalism, Wade Davis tells the story of the country's most magnificent river, and in doing so, tells the epic story of Colombia.
Davis (One River), an anthropology professor at the University of British Columbia, travels the length of Colombia's Rio Magdalena through wildly varied geographies and a past of horrific massacres, in this ardent travelogue. He visits the river's mountainous source, where ancient native communities thrived before conquistadors exterminated them; surveys villages annihilated by a 1984 volcanic eruption that killed 25,000 people; recalls the thousands killed during drug kingpin Pablo Escobar's 1980s reign of terror in Medell n, and the city's rebirth as an urban-planning showcase; recounts the ordeal of farm towns trapped in the recent civil war between murderous left-wing guerrillas and even more murderous right-wing death squads; and basks in placid fishing communities in the river's delta (site of an attack by another right-wing death squad). Along the way he views the country's lush flora and fauna and heartbreaking environmental damage wrought by humans through the writings of 19th-century naturalist Alexander von Humboldt, the book's presiding spirit, and delivers a romantic profile of revolutionary hero Sim n Bolivar, a liberator turned dictator turned bitter old man. Davis stocks his lively narrative with piquant characters, dramatic historical set pieces, and lyrical nature writing ("The mouth of the Rio Magdalena is the color of the earth"). The result is a rich, fascinating study of how nature and a people shape each other.