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The Clouded Leopard: Travels to Landscapes of Spirit and Desire

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Clouded Leopard: Travels to Landscapes of Spirit and Desire.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Wade Davis(Author)

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For many years and through many of the world’s most remote regions, Wade Davis has traveled in search of the rare places where cultural diversity survives, untainted by the influences of globalization and modernization. The Clouded Leopard brings together the extraordinary travels that sprang from this quest. His travels emphasize the fragility of the planet yet also illuminate the places and people where the bond between landscape and spirit is preserved. Beautiful and disturbing, tragic and yet hopeful, his work sends out a timely message that cannot be ignored.

Wade Davis is Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society - named one of their 'Explorers of the Millenium'.  He writes for publications including National Geographic, the New York Times, Outside, Harpers, Fortune, Condé Nast Traveler, the Wall Street Journal, and many others. His books include the international bestseller, The Serpent and the Rainbow, as well as Shadows in the Sun, Light at the Edge of the World and One River. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Book details

  • PDF | 224 pages
  • Wade Davis(Author)
  • Douglas & McIntyre; 1st edition (June 24, 1999)
  • English
  • 2
  • Reference

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Review Text

  • By Donald E. Gilliland on August 7, 2015

    Wade Davis is one of those writers who had been on the periphery of my book-reading vision for many years, but one that I had never actually read before until I got this book recently. What motivated me to pick up the book was a recent interview with composer Philip Glass in the “By The Book” column in the New York Times Glass’s description of the book he had been reading by Davis, “The Wayfinders”, very much intrigued me. I couldn’t find a copy of that book in my local bookshop, so I read the one that I see, “The Cloud Leopard.” A very compelling and eye-opening read.This book is described by the publisher as “a spellbinding collection of travels, from Peru to Haiti, conveying a timely and urgent message for our times.” It is indeed that and more. Davis is an ethnographer and photographer (among other accomplishments) with a passion for understanding more about other cultures, particular indigenous ones who are threatened by the spread of “progress” in these modern times. Despite his academic background, the writing style is far from stodgy or dense. Davis has a fluid, engaging writing style not unlike John McPhee, another master of non-fiction prose. To give you an example of the power of his writing, here is a paragraph from one of the chapters of The Clouded Leopard, about the Penan people who live in the rainforests of Borneo:“Language is the reflection of the soul of a people. In Penan there are forty words for sage, and none for good-bye or thank you. In a forest of such abundance, in a culture in which sharing is an involuntary reflex, in a life of endless wandering, certain words have no relevance. Certain concepts have no meaning. For the Penan, land is a living entity, imbued with spiritual meaning and power, and the notion of ownership and land, or fragile documents granting a human the right to violate the Earth, is an impossible idea.”In case you haven’t gleaned it yet, Davis is concerned about environmental issues and the threats to traditional way of life for indigenous people. For many years Davis traveled through many of the world’s most remote regions in search of places where cultural diversity survives, untainted by the influences of globalization and modernization. Even during the 1980s and 1990s, when many of his books were researched and written, that wasn’t such an easy task.Reading the essays in The Clouded Leopard takes the reader into what feels like another world, until you realize that this is OUR world and it’s all connected. As he notes in the last chapter: “The earth is a finite place that can endure our foolish ways for only so long … There is a fire burning over the earth taking with it plants and animals, cultures, languages, ancient skills, and visionary wisdom. Quelling this flame and reinvesting the poetry of diversity is the most important challenge of our times.”Very well put. Davis writes about important issues (well, the chapter that describes the phenomenon of toad licking borders on the bizarre, but it’s still fascinating stuff), and offers us lessons and things to think about. This is powerful writing.

  • By Brian Allen on April 2, 2008

    In one chapter of this book Wade Davis quotes British writer Lawrence Durell as saying "To know a people..you need only a little patience, a quiet moment and a place where you might listen to the whispered messages of their land."Wade Davis has lived this suggestion and has harvested the knowledge of some of the most interesting cultures of the world, cultures threatened by the far reach of modernization and environmental destruction.Reading this book makes me feel like a teenager again, enthused with the prospects of travels and new adventures. It is full of the fascination of discovery and novel knowledge about the world that is buried under the incessant wash of media news and popular culture. Here you will read of the "survival" culture of Canada, the reason the ethnic cultures of the Amazon have no word for the color blue, an Malaysian forest people without a concept of time, the fragility of our modern economy at risk of collapse from the lack of resin from a jungle tree.If you have read "The Serpent and the Rainbow" or "One River" you will find familiar but reexamined thoughts on the Vodoun ceremonies of Haiti and the hallucinogen religious journeys of Amazonian shamans.Wade Davis himself has traveled the world far enough to know and tell many fascinating stories but it is his ability to find those places and moments to listen that have made him an exceptional writer and this book one more treasure to read.

  • By Linda Ballou on April 3, 2010

    It is rare that a scientific-minded individual can write with the engaging fluidity of creative non-fiction author, but Wade Davis strides both worlds effortlessly. It never occurred to me that an ethnobotany could be so riveting. Wade Davis takes you to his homeland Canada, to the heights of Peru and the depths of the Amazon basin, to Haiti and Tibet in pursuit of the secrets of plants and how mankind has used them over the centuries. The accounts in this book of travels reveal mysterious practices of the shamans in Amazon, the horrid outcome of human intervention in nature's plan, and the importance of our connection to the land. You will learn, you will smile and you will wonder why this author has not received more popular acclaim. The message is clear. We are living in an ecological disaster. It is our responsibility to understand and reclaim the natural order of things, but the medium is one of pure entertainment. A must read if you dare to care about our planet.[...]Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler's Tales


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