Conversations with Authors - Wade Davis (Virtual Event)

Sunday, September 20, 2020 - 4:00pm


Sunday, September 20th • 7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT

Wade Davis

in conversation with Don George

Conversations with Authors is our free virtual event series! Join us throughout the week at 7:00pm ET/4:00pm PT for a new chat with a different author.


Dear Friends,

I was so delighted to have had a chance to share with the Book Passage family a few thoughts on the unraveling of the American dream and all the new hopes for Colombia. Many thanks to everyone for supporting Book Passage and all the private bookstores that so value the lives of writers, but more importantly the hopes and yearnings, the curiosity and whimsy of readers, which include all of us.

I wish I could say that the books I've been reading lately were uplifting, but I've become a bit obsessed with Germany in the 1930s, and have revisited William Shirer's astonishing two volume memoir, most especially The Nightmare Years.

Colombia is always my passion and only last week I read for a third time, Oblivion, Hector Abad's excruciatingly haunting and beautiful account of his father's assassination, one of a handful of killings that shook the entire war weary country.

Somehow this led me back to Vera Brittain, author of Testament of Youth, perhaps the best book ever written on the agony of war. Vera, a nurse, served on the Western Front, even as she lost her fiancée, Roland, her two best friends from Oxford, and finally her beloved brother Edward. By 1918, she wrote, there was no one left to dance with.  The war, wrote Roland in a letter to Vera, “distilled all youth and joy and life into a fetid heap of hideous putrescence.” Testament of Youth traces a journey from innocence through horror, agony to revelation. It is to my mind the most poignant and heartrending memoire to emerge from the Great War.

In these uncertain times, I find solace in history, which tells us that no matter how bad things may appear to be in the moment, they have often been far worse, and every time of despair only serves to unveil new horizons of hope.

All best wishes,


Below, please find links to purchase their books, as well as Wade's recommended titles.



Nightmare Years: 1930 - 1940 Cover Image
ISBN: 9781841581224
Availability: Special Order
Published: Birlinn Publishers - November 1st, 2002

As European correspondent for a number of American newspapers during the 1930s, William L. Shirer witnessed at first hand many of the pivotal events in the buildup to World War II. At the Nuremberg rallies, when Hitler roared through the streets celebrating his newly-won domination of Germany, Shirer was there. In Munich, as Chamberlain abandoned the Czechs, Shirer was there.

Oblivion: A Memoir Cover Image
By Héctor Abad, Anne McLean (Translated by), Rosalind Harvey (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780374533939
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - May 14th, 2013

"An irreplaceable testimony of the struggle for democracy and tolerance in Latin America." —El País

Testament of Youth Cover Image
By Vera Brittain, Mark Bostridge (Introduction by), Shirley Williams (Preface by)
ISBN: 9780143039235
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Penguin Classics - May 31st, 2005

Giving a voice to a lost generation, this edition features a new introduction by Brittain’s biographer. Now a major motion picture starring Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Hayley Atwell, and Taron Egerton

Magdalena: River of Dreams: A Story of Colombia Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375410994
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - September 15th, 2020

A captivating new book from Wade Davis--award-winning, best-selling author 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

River Notes: A Natural and Human History of the Colorado Cover Image
ISBN: 9781610910200
Availability: Special Order
Published: Island Press - October 15th, 2013

Plugged by no fewer than twenty-five dams, the Colorado is the world’s most regulated river drainage, providing most of the water supply of Las Vegas, Tucson, and San Diego, and much of the power and water of Los Angeles and Phoenix, cities that are home to more than 25 million people.

Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest Cover Image
ISBN: 9780375708152
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - October 2nd, 2012

The definitive story of the British adventurers who survived the trenches of World War I and went on to risk their lives climbing Mount Everest.

The Sacred Headwaters: The Fight to Save the Stikine, Skeena, and Nass Cover Image
By Wade Davis, Carr Clifton (Photographer), Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. (Afterword by)
ISBN: 9781771640237
Availability: Special Order
Published: Greystone Books - May 5th, 2015

In a rugged knot of mountains in the remote reaches of northern British Columbia lies a spectacularly beautiful valley known to the First Nations as the Sacred Headwaters. There, on the southern edge of the Spatsizi Wilderness, the Serengeti of North America, are born in remarkably close proximity three of the continent's most important salmon rivers--the Stikine, the Skeena, and the Nass.

The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World (CBC Massey Lectures) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780887847660
Availability: Special Order
Published: House of Anansi Press - October 13th, 2009

Every culture is a unique answer to a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human and alive? Anthropologist and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis leads us on a thrilling journey to celebrate the wisdom of the world's indigenous cultures.

One River Cover Image
ISBN: 9780684834962
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 5th, 1997

The story of two generations of scientific explorers in South America—Richard Evans Schultes and his protégé Wade Davis—an epic tale of adventure and a compelling work of natural history.

In 1941, Professor Richard Evan Schultes took a leave from Harvard and disappeared into the Amazon, where he spent the next twelve years mapping uncharted rivers and living among doze

The Serpent and the Rainbow Cover Image
ISBN: 9780684839295
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 5th, 1997

A scientific investigation and personal adventure story about zombis and the voudoun culture of Haiti by a Harvard scientist.

In April 1982, ethnobotanist Wade Davis arrived in Haiti to investigate two documented cases of zombis—people who had reappeared in Haitian society years after they had been officially declared dead and had been buried.

Shadows in the Sun: Travels to Landscapes of Spirit and Desire Cover Image
ISBN: 9781597263924
Availability: Special Order
Published: Shearwater - October 12th, 2010

Ranging from the British Columbian wilderness to the jungles of the Amazon and the polar ice of the Arctic Circle, Shadows in the Sun is a testament to a world where spirits still stalk the land and seize the human heart.

Light at the Edge of the World: A Journey Through the Realm of Vanishing Cultures Cover Image
ISBN: 9781553652670
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Douglas & McIntyre - February 7th, 2007

For more than 30 years, renowned anthropologist Wade Davis has traveled the globe, studying the mysteries of sacred plants and celebrating the world's traditional cultures.

Passage of Darkness: The Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807842102
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: University of North Carolina Press - May 27th, 1988

In 1982, Harvard-trained ethnobotanist Wade Davis traveled into the Haitian countryside to research reports of zombies--the infamous living dead of Haitian folklore. A report by a team of physicians of a verifiable case of zombification led him to try to obtain the poison associated with the process and examine it for potential medical use.

The Lost Amazon: The Pioneering Expeditions of Richard Evans Schultes Cover Image
By Wade Davis, Richard Evans Schultes (By (photographer))
ISBN: 9781608876549
Availability: Backordered
Published: Earth Aware Editions - May 10th, 2016

Explore the uncharted Amazon with acclaimed botanist and pioneering Amazonian explorer, Richard Evans Schultes, guided by an intimate narrative that supplements his photography of indigenous tribes, hallucinogenic plants, stunning vistas, and much more.

The Way of Wanderlust: The Best Travel Writing of Don George Cover Image
By Don George, Pico Iyer (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781609521059
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Travelers' Tales Guides - September 8th, 2015

As a professional travel writer and editor for the past 40 years, Don George has been paid to explore the world. Through the decades, his articles have been published in magazines, newspapers, and websites around the globe and have won more awards than almost any other travel writer alive, yet his pieces have never been collected into one volume.