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on 3 June 2015
Tremendously important book. Beautifully written. It is not about what you might imagine; crops circles and mysterious cults for example. It is about real cultures, real people, getting to grips with the world and understanding it with intelligence and generosity. Should be required reading in all schools.
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on 29 November 2012
Wade Davis is a fantastic writer (also get One River if you can). This book is very informative, especially for people who have been to Australasia and South America. It gives us a great insight into how most of us have lost ancient skills because we rely too much on tools, rather than our own bodies and minds. Unfortunately, those who still have the skills are a dying breed.

This is not an easy read, but the way Wade Davis writes makes the whole story and the information accessible and enjoyable.
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on 2 April 2014
There are books that you come back to time and time again. This is one of them. My wife and I have each read it three or four times, and each time it inspires us anew. One of those books that may - warning - rid you of your preconceptions and make you rethink some of your most closely held views. Reading this, you understand that our behaviours and values are learnt - all of them. Just wonderful.
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on 31 May 2013
This is a wonderful book. I found it was so beautifully written and thought provoking I could not put it down. Wade Davis has distilled years of research and interest into a single volume. The book demonstrates why we should not dismiss all traditional practices as mere superstition and why we should pay more attention to wisdom that has evolved socially over thousands of years. He highlights the travesty of the disappearing cultures and languages which far exceeds (and is related to) the rate of biodiversity loss. I am a scientist and a rationalist but I was utterly convinced by his explanations of how seafaring Polynesians navigate by skill and instinct and the intimate relationships that various peoples of the forest, desert and ice have with their worlds. The western worldview is only one among many and does a lot of harm when imposed on cultures that it doesn't fit.
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on 15 May 2016
A book to make you see the world differently. Full of important wisdom and stories. I've used extracts with my students for several years and they are always amazed to find their understanding and expectations of the world turned upside down and made far more complex and compelling.
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on 21 June 2017
Just the usual: the white man is pure evil, the indigenous are perfect and it is my ethical duty to study them because they have cool drugs. If you thought safari hunting or seven-star desert hotels are elitist tourism, you should try becoming an anthropologist (e.g. chapter 3 of this book)
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on 3 March 2014
I first heard about this from a book group and right away knew that I would want to read it and wanted my husband to read it too. This is a very important book - powerful and easy to read.
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on 15 May 2016
Probably the best book I've ever read, changed how I viewed so many things: superbly insightful
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on 31 March 2013
I found tis book distilled in just a few remarkable chapters an essential message for our time: that Western Civilization is not the only way for humankind to flourish, and indeed, other peoples have found very different ways to live upon our planet - ways that we should not just accommodate, but ways that we could learn from. Our current trajectory is literally burning up the planet's natural capital, and we will not recover unless we change our ways. We know this instinctively to be true. Davis' masterpiece points to the richness of the answers possessed by cultures not our own. The question he leaves hanging: will we have the humility - and the pragmatism - to look to them for the answers?
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on 9 May 2013
Wade Davis - heard him on the radio - had to get the book. Ordered it and have been blown away by his vision, his integrity, his knowledge and his love of language and cultures. This is a book that could save the world if only EVERYONE could read it!
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