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A captivating new book from Wade Davis--renowned, award-winning, bestselling author and photographer, and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence for more than a decade-- that brings vividly to life the story of the great Río Magdalena, illuminating Colombia's complex past, present, and future in the process The Magdalena River is the lifeline that runs the length of the A captivating new book from Wade Davis--renowned, award-winning, bestselling author and photographer, and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence for more than a decade-- that brings vividly to life the story of the great Río Magdalena, illuminating Colombia's complex past, present, and future in the process The Magdalena River is the lifeline that runs the length of the nation. For centuries, it allowed Colombians to settle their mountainous, geographically unique region--one of the most challenging on the planet. Colombia's complicated history reflects the beautiful, wild and impossible geography of its largest river: in places, it is placid and calm; in other moments, tortured and unpredictable. A cultural wellspring of music, poetry and literature, in dark times the Magdalena also served as the nation's graveyard. As the country enters a momentous period of revitalization, Wade Davis explores the three major sections of the river, alto, medio, and bajo, evoking each singular landscape and the people he meets there in poetic, nuanced writing, accompanied by his own striking photography. At once an absorbing adventure and an inspiring story of hope and redemption, Magdalena gives us a rare, kaleidoscopic picture of the past and present of a nation often reduced to unfair clichés of drug cartels and violence. Through many years of uncertainty, however, the Magdalena never abandoned its people, always returning as a life-giving force, the source of much of Colombia's wealth--and its dreams. Seamlessly weaving together memoir, history, and a remarkable tale of a nation rising to bring about transformational change, Wade Davis tells the story of this magnificent river with passion and love, and in doing so, tells the epic story of Colombia.


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A captivating new book from Wade Davis--renowned, award-winning, bestselling author and photographer, and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence for more than a decade-- that brings vividly to life the story of the great Río Magdalena, illuminating Colombia's complex past, present, and future in the process The Magdalena River is the lifeline that runs the length of the A captivating new book from Wade Davis--renowned, award-winning, bestselling author and photographer, and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence for more than a decade-- that brings vividly to life the story of the great Río Magdalena, illuminating Colombia's complex past, present, and future in the process The Magdalena River is the lifeline that runs the length of the nation. For centuries, it allowed Colombians to settle their mountainous, geographically unique region--one of the most challenging on the planet. Colombia's complicated history reflects the beautiful, wild and impossible geography of its largest river: in places, it is placid and calm; in other moments, tortured and unpredictable. A cultural wellspring of music, poetry and literature, in dark times the Magdalena also served as the nation's graveyard. As the country enters a momentous period of revitalization, Wade Davis explores the three major sections of the river, alto, medio, and bajo, evoking each singular landscape and the people he meets there in poetic, nuanced writing, accompanied by his own striking photography. At once an absorbing adventure and an inspiring story of hope and redemption, Magdalena gives us a rare, kaleidoscopic picture of the past and present of a nation often reduced to unfair clichés of drug cartels and violence. Through many years of uncertainty, however, the Magdalena never abandoned its people, always returning as a life-giving force, the source of much of Colombia's wealth--and its dreams. Seamlessly weaving together memoir, history, and a remarkable tale of a nation rising to bring about transformational change, Wade Davis tells the story of this magnificent river with passion and love, and in doing so, tells the epic story of Colombia.

30 review for Magdalena: River of Dreams

  1. 4 out of 5

    Esther

    If the option had been there, I would have given this book more than 5 stars. I am not a naturalist and Colombia has never been on my bucket list of travel destinations. Nonetheless, I found this a riveting read. The book was brilliantly researched and wove history, geography and sociology together in a fascinating and highly readable form. I am motivated to read other books by Mr. Davis. Thank you to Goodreads Giveaway for a complimentary copy.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jennie Chantal

    I really enjoyed listening to Wade Davis read the audiobook of Magdalena. His excitement, passion, and love for Colombia, the people, and the natural world are so evident in his voice. I'd been reading a lot of North American history and it was good for me to "go somewhere else" for awhile. I appreciated how he frequently brought to the forefront the stories, history, science, culture, art, power and intelligence of the Indigenous people of Colombia. He is pretty consistently critical of coloniz I really enjoyed listening to Wade Davis read the audiobook of Magdalena. His excitement, passion, and love for Colombia, the people, and the natural world are so evident in his voice. I'd been reading a lot of North American history and it was good for me to "go somewhere else" for awhile. I appreciated how he frequently brought to the forefront the stories, history, science, culture, art, power and intelligence of the Indigenous people of Colombia. He is pretty consistently critical of colonization and imperialism which is so important for white authors and outsiders who write about cultures and countries not their own. Unfortunately, he does not outright name white supremacy. His research is EXPANSIVE and despite jumping around in time and place, it's brought together in a way that makes sense. I found it quite masterful in this way. I was struck by just how much of this book was about men and men's history in Colombia. There was no discussion or even mention (I'm pretty sure) of gender roles (before and after colonization), violence against women, and LGBTQ people. While women were often on the periphery of the story, and there was one chapter that did have a focus on women's issues, it was very much a "let's devote a chapter to women and then get back to the rest of the story". There was also occasional sexist language, and some sudden whorephobia at the end in the brief discussion of Mary of Magdalena. Lastly, in the credits he mentions that without Sandra (who is frequently mentioned in the book as a traveling companion) the book would not have been possible. She did many of the interviews and much of research, the "background" work that he relied on. And this is kind of my point. Throughout the book, all the men he talks about, all their accomplishments and failures, there were women there, often doing the background work that allowed these men to make history. I want more recognition for these women than a note in the acknowledgments, if they even get that. Davis didn't give them this in his book. Nevertheless, I learned SO MUCH and look forward to reading his future work.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jayme

    This is an epic and sprawling history of Colombia covering everything from culture to conservation to politics, told through the lens of the Rio Magdalena. I was so impressed with the effort and skill that went into writing this history. Davis' descriptions of the Magdalena and Colombia range from haunting to touching, or both at once. "In the late 1980s and early 1990s, corpses were as common as driftwood. The paramilitaries...threatened anyone who interfered with the dead." In the chapter "The This is an epic and sprawling history of Colombia covering everything from culture to conservation to politics, told through the lens of the Rio Magdalena. I was so impressed with the effort and skill that went into writing this history. Davis' descriptions of the Magdalena and Colombia range from haunting to touching, or both at once. "In the late 1980s and early 1990s, corpses were as common as driftwood. The paramilitaries...threatened anyone who interfered with the dead." In the chapter "The Nameless Dead", Davis tells the grusome and defiant tale of Colombians' salvaging, burial, and adoption of the No Nombrado. But despite Colombia's complex and often dark history, Davis' love of the country is evident in his depictions of its beauty and culture, such as the musical traditions of tambora described in "Land of a Thousand Rhythms". And of course, we couldn't talk about Colombia without including Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The chapter "The General and His Labyrinth" perfectly fit Marquez' writings into the context of Colombia's history (not to mention making me want to pick up The General and His Labyrinth and do a reread of Love in the Time of Cholera). On a final, dorkier note, I loved that Davis wrote a "Bibliographical Essay" to end the book rather than a list of citations. Yes! Linked reads - fiction: - Love in the Time of Cholera - The General in His Labyrinth Linked reads - non-fiction: - Living to Tell the Tale - One River - Bolívar: American Liberator - Between the Guerrillas and the State: The Cocalero Movement, Citizenship, and Identity in the Colombian Amazon - Snowfields: The War on Cocaine in the Andes - Death Beat: A Colombian Journalist's Life Inside the Cocaine Wars - My Colombian War: A Journey Through the Country I Left Behind - The Robber of Memories: A River Journey Through Colombia - Snowblind - The Hold Life Has: Coca and Cultural Identity in an Andean Community - The Making of Modern Colombia: A Nation in Spite of Itself - The Colombia Reader: History, Culture, Politics - Colombia: A Concise Contemporary History

  4. 5 out of 5

    Juan Farfán

    I will only say this, when I finished it I had tears in my eyes, so proud of being a Colombian

  5. 4 out of 5

    John Benson

    We lived in Medellin, Colombia in the late 1980s, some of Colombia's darkest times. This book however brought back so many memories of places we had visited and to times I had visited the Magdalena River. Within the first month of our arrival, we had taken at trip to see Pablo Escobar's Hacienda Napoles near the Magdalena River town of Puerto Triunfo. I remember being amazed how Gabriel Garcia Marquez had captured the feel for one of these towns in his book LEAF STORM. During our last month in C We lived in Medellin, Colombia in the late 1980s, some of Colombia's darkest times. This book however brought back so many memories of places we had visited and to times I had visited the Magdalena River. Within the first month of our arrival, we had taken at trip to see Pablo Escobar's Hacienda Napoles near the Magdalena River town of Puerto Triunfo. I remember being amazed how Gabriel Garcia Marquez had captured the feel for one of these towns in his book LEAF STORM. During our last month in Colombia, my friend John Ireland and I took motor boat taxis through the Magdalena Medio area up to Barrancabarmeja, a scary oil town, and on to the beautiful forgotten town of Mompos. It was a trip that remained in our memories long after that trip. John died a few years ago, but his children knew the story of that trip well. Wade Davis was made an honorary Colombian citizen a few years and his love for the country shows up fully in this book. He begins in the mountains near the town of San Agustin, where the river begins and follows it all the way to the Caribbean coast. He never downplays the violence of the country and its harsh history, but he also brings out so much of his love for its geography, environment, the music, and most importantly the people. He moves down the river sharing the stories of different people's lives. I especially liked his chapter on Medellin, that contrasted what it was like in the 1980s when we lived there with how much it has changed for the better now. Davis has written a wonderful book that shows us the full panorama of life in Colombia.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Nicolás

    If I were to recommend a recent book chronicling Colombia's past, present and future challenges, I'd definitely recommend this one. It is a wonderful and well-written book... I'd love to see a translation soon so that many other Colombians could enjoy it. Highly recommended. If I were to recommend a recent book chronicling Colombia's past, present and future challenges, I'd definitely recommend this one. It is a wonderful and well-written book... I'd love to see a translation soon so that many other Colombians could enjoy it. Highly recommended.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Antonio Nunez

    I confess I began to read Magdalena: River of Dreams expecting to come across much information concerning hydrology, zoology and botanics. Although I care about these subjects, not being very conversant with them, I expected the book to be something of a slog. I was mistaken. Although it does have plenty nature science, the book is a joyful journey through the river, from its inception high in the Andes in Huila, down to its end as it flushes into the Caribbean in Bocas de Ceniza. The book deals I confess I began to read Magdalena: River of Dreams expecting to come across much information concerning hydrology, zoology and botanics. Although I care about these subjects, not being very conversant with them, I expected the book to be something of a slog. I was mistaken. Although it does have plenty nature science, the book is a joyful journey through the river, from its inception high in the Andes in Huila, down to its end as it flushes into the Caribbean in Bocas de Ceniza. The book deals with the river from prehistory, through the lives of Indian communities, the Spanish conquerors, its interactions with naturalist such as Mutis, Humboldt Caldas, through civil wars, economic development, violence and unrest, and peace again. Colombians have generally turned their back on the river, since no major city is even close to it. However, the country lives or dies by the river. Davis talks extensively with Colombians about all manner of subjects. He gives the victims or violence (particularly in the middle course of the river, the formerly dreaded Magdalena Medio) plenty of space to tell their stories. Wade and his interviewees talk about music, art, food and politics. As Colombian who regards himself as fairly well informed about his country I was pleasantly surprised to learn much from this book. But then I realized Davis is a Colombian too, and in his case he is one by choice born of decades-long love for the country, the river, nature and the people. While it is easy to be pessimistic and think the river is lost due to pollution, logging, dams and reservoirs and boneheaded public works, David shows there is much that can be done if we but choose to do it. He won me over by his learning, his optimism, his deep love for our country and his empathy for everyone he met. If you want a reading that will teach you much and make you feels hopeful about humanity, Magdalena: River of Dreams is a good place to start. Highly recommended for all.

  8. 4 out of 5

    May

    This was a great book for me to read because I am interested in botany, latin american culture, and writers that take bunny trails! I also appreciated that the author did not gloss over ugly scenes from the past in his retelling but included them as important parts of the story. He also had a hopeful message for future Colombia. Very nice.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Scott Munden

    Reading Magdalena felt like being cornered by a guy who is insistent on showing you his latest holiday snaps. Davis' passion for the Magdalena did not translate to this reader. The book also required a good edit in my opinion. Where are all the good editors these days? Davis has written better books. Reading Magdalena felt like being cornered by a guy who is insistent on showing you his latest holiday snaps. Davis' passion for the Magdalena did not translate to this reader. The book also required a good edit in my opinion. Where are all the good editors these days? Davis has written better books.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jack Hicks

    Magdalena, River of Dreams, Wade Davis, 2020 A good travel book vicariously takes you to places you have not been or even contemplated going. The country of Columbia has never been on my radar screen. Occasionally I would notice an item in the press about Pablo Escobar, the cocaine drug lord, or battles between government forces, with US assistance, battling left-wing guerillas such as FARC. Reading a biography of Simon Bolivar, I knew of his leading a rebel army over the Cordilla Oriental to att Magdalena, River of Dreams, Wade Davis, 2020 A good travel book vicariously takes you to places you have not been or even contemplated going. The country of Columbia has never been on my radar screen. Occasionally I would notice an item in the press about Pablo Escobar, the cocaine drug lord, or battles between government forces, with US assistance, battling left-wing guerillas such as FARC. Reading a biography of Simon Bolivar, I knew of his leading a rebel army over the Cordilla Oriental to attack the Spanish stronghold of Bogota and his military and political struggles in the region. What the country or culture was like; I was clueless. Wade Davis’s new book is not only a personal journal of travel along one of the great rivers of the world, but also “a compendium of stories shared by Colombians encountered along the river and beyond, living narratives strung together with historical accounts deliberately selected to reveal the true wonder of a country that has long been overlooked and misunderstood”. The Rio Magdalena starting in the high alpine glaciers of the south and proceeding 1000 miles north to the Caribbean Sea is the economic lifeblood and transportation lifeline of Columbia much as the Mississippi is to the Midwest of the US. Columbia has three major mountain ranges which parallel the coastal and interior borders of the country. The Magdalena drains the two western ranges and encompasses ecosystems from alpine to temperate forest to tropical rainforest to coastal mangrove. The river not only runs through some of the most ecologically rich regions of the world but is central to the countries culture. Distinct musical genres such as Cumbia and Tambora have evolved from a fusion of African, Mestizo, Zambo roots. Carlos Vive one of the most world famous Cumbia musicians says: “For too long we’ve turned our backs to the sea, to the mountains, to the river, hiding away in the cities, always in conflict with nature, in conflict with our land. Music makes us pay attention, to look at the forests, the mountains, and especially the Magdalena, because the origins and the essence of everything we work with musically comes from there – rhythms, phrases, melodies. What the Magdalena needs is what Columbia needs. After all the violence, we need to cleanse our souls, and only then will we heal. And to heal ourselves, we must heal the river”. As Davis travels down the river he encounters the recent disastrous history of the country through the stories of the people he meets. The last 60 years have been particularly disastrous where wars between drug lords, the leftist FARC and paramilitary forces have caught a hapless population in a vise of murder and mayhem. The recent peace agreement in 2008 has revived hope in a new future for the country. An interesting and hopeful case in point being the city of Medellin. Once a center of the cocaine cartels and complete murderous chaos, the city has been transformed in the last 20 years into one of the most livable cities in the world. A new mayor and a Harvard trained city planner have transformed the city by enlisting all the stakeholders including the poorest of the slums to the elite of the richest haciendas to come together for a new vision of the city with mass transit for all including subways, teleferics to the favelas in the surrounding mountains. New schools, museums, public botanic gardens have given all the inhabitants a newfound pride in their city. Can Democracy work in a country birthed in hundreds of years of colonial exploitation, with extreme inequality of wealth and racked with decades of drug war violence? Can a new environmental ethic bring back the former ecological abundance of one of the great rivers of the world? This book is a blaring warning about the horrors that can be unleashed when right and left political conflict turns to violence, but after reading this book I have some hope that even after suffering some of the most debilitating murderous horrors, political instability and inequitable racism, Columbia can in the end maybe make their Democracy work and rehabilitate their countries once amazing ecological bounty, and beauty. I also know a lot more about a country and a people that before reading I had no clue. JACK

  11. 5 out of 5

    Juan

    An extraordinary book by an incredible story teller. This book offers so much on so many levels... The ambition of his account "a story of Colombia" is laughable, but he not only meets the challenge, he also elevates his topic to epic proportions, while also giving an account about a river that is universal in scope. We should indeed retell te story of humanity through that of its rivers... One note of caution, for one chapter of Colombia´s history in the otherwise impressively well-documented ac An extraordinary book by an incredible story teller. This book offers so much on so many levels... The ambition of his account "a story of Colombia" is laughable, but he not only meets the challenge, he also elevates his topic to epic proportions, while also giving an account about a river that is universal in scope. We should indeed retell te story of humanity through that of its rivers... One note of caution, for one chapter of Colombia´s history in the otherwise impressively well-documented account stands out like a sore thumb: the story of the violent take-over of the Palace of Justice, in 1985, should be completely ignored and researched elsewhere. I am at a loss of how such an achievement could include such a glaring oversight. Aside from that, I have already gifted this book to people I respect, assured of the wealth it embodies.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Richard

    interesting journey through time,society,botany,culture and politics

  13. 4 out of 5

    Peggy K.

    Magnificent! Read my full review posted at BookBrowse: https://www.bookbrowse.com/mag/review... Magnificent! Read my full review posted at BookBrowse: https://www.bookbrowse.com/mag/review...

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kristjan

    I am not giving a rating because I only read the preface. However, I do want to express here some of the reasons I decided not to read this book. With my limited scope, I found the topic of the book interesting, but found it to be dry and difficult to read (which may be partially a function of the preface, but is surely also due to the author's writing style). In short, it did not capture me. But my biggest problem is that it is abundantly clear that the author is writing from a worldview that is I am not giving a rating because I only read the preface. However, I do want to express here some of the reasons I decided not to read this book. With my limited scope, I found the topic of the book interesting, but found it to be dry and difficult to read (which may be partially a function of the preface, but is surely also due to the author's writing style). In short, it did not capture me. But my biggest problem is that it is abundantly clear that the author is writing from a worldview that is quite opposed to mine. I don't have a problem with people disagreeing with me, but I'm not going to use my limited reading time for letting others preach at me when they have an upside down view of reality (from my point of view, of course). The author explicitly advocates the legalization of hard drugs. He does not declare that as one solution to a complex problem, not as The solution, but as "the only rational solution" (p. xix). So, not only is the author all-knowing, but he paints anyone who dares to disagree as irrational. Perhaps full legalization in the United States would be helpful in Colombia, but would it be helpful in the United States? It does not appear that the author cares about the answer to that question (author is Canadian, although I don't know if that makes any difference). It would appear that he blames the United States and other Western nations (specifically names New York, London, Paris, and Madrid) for Colombia's ills. Is this book an anti-US screed? I don't know, but I do not think this would be the enjoyable read that I was looking for.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jan P

    Wade Davis loves Colombia, as evidenced by this book of stories in which he weaves together beautifully the history and cultures of the country as a whole as well as the influence of El Rio Magdalena on those who have lived nearest to it. The Rio Magdalena flows the length of the country and is a major atery and he summarizes it in the closing of his preface with the words: "Colombia as a nation is the gift of the river. The Magdalena is the story of Colombia". The author, an ethnobotanist and Ex Wade Davis loves Colombia, as evidenced by this book of stories in which he weaves together beautifully the history and cultures of the country as a whole as well as the influence of El Rio Magdalena on those who have lived nearest to it. The Rio Magdalena flows the length of the country and is a major atery and he summarizes it in the closing of his preface with the words: "Colombia as a nation is the gift of the river. The Magdalena is the story of Colombia". The author, an ethnobotanist and Explorer-in-Residence at National Geographic, has written many books on the country and has lived and traveled there for decades studying the people and the place. In this, his latest, he travels the length of the Magdalena to understand the people and places surrounding it. I lived in Colombia for ten years, off and on, and learned so much about the country from reading this book. Of what I did have knowledge of, I have to say his research is impeccable. I'm very envious of all he has seen and done in Colombia and am thankful for sharing his love and hope for a country and people that are dear to me as well.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Blair

    I quite enjoyed this book. Magdalena, River of Dreams, is mostly a compilation of stories that the author gathered while travelling northward, with various Colombians, along the length of the Magdalena River. Many of Wade Davis' companions are experts in their respected fields - naturalists, historians, and musicians - and I found the the author excelled at bringing their stories together to tell and interesting and comprehensive narrative of this famous river. Before reading this book, my knowle I quite enjoyed this book. Magdalena, River of Dreams, is mostly a compilation of stories that the author gathered while travelling northward, with various Colombians, along the length of the Magdalena River. Many of Wade Davis' companions are experts in their respected fields - naturalists, historians, and musicians - and I found the the author excelled at bringing their stories together to tell and interesting and comprehensive narrative of this famous river. Before reading this book, my knowledge of Colombia was quite limited. A large part of this is because Colombia was a war zone for much of my adult life. This constrained my interest as I could not visit. I also concentrated on other regions of the world, and particularly Asia, so I left South America neglected. But with this book, Wade Davis has interested me in learning more about this great river, ecosystems and country.- and perhaps even travelling along the Magdalena. For that reason alone I recommend this book. It has the potential to open your eyes!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laurent Reinhardt

    Heartfelt love letter to Colombia. Davis intertwines a 1000-mile journey from the Andes to the Caribbean on Río Magdalena, the nation's main artery, with the nation's rich culture, stunning biodiversity and complicated history. I had the pleasure of traveling there in the 1980's and 1990's - it's inspiring to see how much has been achieved since those much gloomier days. The book also gave me a better appreciation for its pre-Columbian civilizations, long history of domestic conflict, Simón Bolí Heartfelt love letter to Colombia. Davis intertwines a 1000-mile journey from the Andes to the Caribbean on Río Magdalena, the nation's main artery, with the nation's rich culture, stunning biodiversity and complicated history. I had the pleasure of traveling there in the 1980's and 1990's - it's inspiring to see how much has been achieved since those much gloomier days. The book also gave me a better appreciation for its pre-Columbian civilizations, long history of domestic conflict, Simón Bolívar, Gabriel García Márquez and its various genres of music, including cumbia, tambor and vallenato. I found one minor error: p239 mentions the pre-Columbian Zenú cultivating plátanos (plantains), which originated in Southeast Asia and weren't introduced to the Americas until the 16th century. Pretty trivial in the overall scheme of things for a book with such a impressive breadth. Looking forward to a return trip to the nation Davis has so wonderfully described.

  18. 4 out of 5

    John Eric Pollabauer

    Wade Davis has created yet another Masterpiece in telling the story of a country, its people and the majestic river that The story told by Wade Davis in his latest book, “Magdalena: River of Dreams”, is one which should be made mandatory reading for school students every where. The content covers everything a person could ever experience in their human lifetime, and than some. I plan on re-reading this book many many times, simply because there is just so much wisdom to extract from Wade Davis t Wade Davis has created yet another Masterpiece in telling the story of a country, its people and the majestic river that The story told by Wade Davis in his latest book, “Magdalena: River of Dreams”, is one which should be made mandatory reading for school students every where. The content covers everything a person could ever experience in their human lifetime, and than some. I plan on re-reading this book many many times, simply because there is just so much wisdom to extract from Wade Davis that one reading won’t do justice to his masterpiece. One of the best books I have ever read and highly recommend it to everyone.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Amalthea Birkholz

    The book is quite descriptive and moves back and forth through history as he travels through Colombia, meeting people or escorted by locals. It reveals a multidimensional landscape of culture and geography that spans decades. The overview seems to be the author's specialty. It is a disturbing and often violent history and at times has given me pause as to whether to continue reading. But I feel drawn back in by enough hopeful moments and luscious landscapes, that I find myself rooting for a long The book is quite descriptive and moves back and forth through history as he travels through Colombia, meeting people or escorted by locals. It reveals a multidimensional landscape of culture and geography that spans decades. The overview seems to be the author's specialty. It is a disturbing and often violent history and at times has given me pause as to whether to continue reading. But I feel drawn back in by enough hopeful moments and luscious landscapes, that I find myself rooting for a long-awaited break for the Colombian people. Perhaps their fortunes are about to change for a long while into the future.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Graham

    A fantastic book. Not just a journey down the Magdalena River, but a commentary on Colombia's history including a long chapter on the drug cartels, extensive history on the Spanish conquest and the insurrection of Simon Bolivar that liberated large swathes of northern South America. The book informed me throughout and the writing was excellent, words flowed from the page and ignited images in my mind of a beautiful country and wonderful people. A fantastic book. Not just a journey down the Magdalena River, but a commentary on Colombia's history including a long chapter on the drug cartels, extensive history on the Spanish conquest and the insurrection of Simon Bolivar that liberated large swathes of northern South America. The book informed me throughout and the writing was excellent, words flowed from the page and ignited images in my mind of a beautiful country and wonderful people.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Raven

    A wonderful meandering travelogue/history/ethnography. Sets a very high standard for travel writing Davis is a compelling writer but what really comes though is his deep love and knowledge of Colombia and the Magdalena River. This, paradoxically, means he is mostly comfortable getting out of the way and letting the various people he meets tell some aspect of the story. It's like being in the hands of a sophisticated curator. Really great. A wonderful meandering travelogue/history/ethnography. Sets a very high standard for travel writing Davis is a compelling writer but what really comes though is his deep love and knowledge of Colombia and the Magdalena River. This, paradoxically, means he is mostly comfortable getting out of the way and letting the various people he meets tell some aspect of the story. It's like being in the hands of a sophisticated curator. Really great.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Andrea DeGreiff-Beisser

    What a captivating story of this Country. An amazing journey throughout all these beautiful small towns along the main artery of this nation. Wade Davis does an amazing job telling the extensive history of Colombia narrating with stories from native people whom had to survive the horrible violent years Colombia. This is mixed with the story of our Music, culture, food, literature, personalities... etc.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Polly Krize

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Wade Davis has written such a beautiful book about his travels in the country of Colombia. It brings to life the history, politics and beauty of this intriguing country. Recommended. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Wade Davis has written such a beautiful book about his travels in the country of Colombia. It brings to life the history, politics and beauty of this intriguing country. Recommended.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Miguel

    My priors about this book knowing it was roughly about Columbia were that it would be about the river, Pablo Escobar, the FARC, Bolivar, and maybe the Medellin mass transit system. All of these were covered plus quite a few other topics as well. 3 or 4 star in the end.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Dave Butler

    In his sublime lyrical style, Wade Davis tells the story of Colombia, using the Rio Magdalena as a thread that weaves through the story. It's a beautiful enchanting book, and will sit beside his others on my bookshelf. In his sublime lyrical style, Wade Davis tells the story of Colombia, using the Rio Magdalena as a thread that weaves through the story. It's a beautiful enchanting book, and will sit beside his others on my bookshelf.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Melanie Taylor

    Lovely!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tessy Consentino

    Who knew a book about a river in Columbus could be so fascinating?!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    An interesting look and travel of this river in Columbia. A bit of history and locals stories. Nicely done for those who have an interest in this.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    A lyric ode to Columbia, and its river of life, written with love and hope for the country's future. It will make you cry, A lyric ode to Columbia, and its river of life, written with love and hope for the country's future. It will make you cry,

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sal

    Beautifully written & heartbreaking and yet it is full of beauty and hope. It is certainly a testament to Davis’s love of Colombia and its history

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