Thursday, May 17, 2012

Our May Author: Wade Davis

This month we are reading The Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World by National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis. His personal website has a good selection of links and is worth a visit just to browse the photograph section. His National Geographic page will connect you to some of his more recent articles for the magazine.  The Wayfinders is a compendium of the talks Davis gave in 2009 for the CBC Massey Lectures.  You can find out more about this series here and also listen to the audio of the first lecture/chapter for free. A condensed form of the lecture is also available from several sources on YouTube. I like this version from SALT. Those who have already read the book can skip ahead to the Q&A portion. Likewise, this Big Ideas audio gives you a summary of the book's main ideas and in the second half more background on the author. If you're really short on time there's always one of his TED talks (see above), though personally, I feel there's so much information packed in there, a more leisurely pace is better. Inevitably when you read this book you'll wish for some visuals to pair with the lectures. On his website and also his Vimeo page, you can watch two film series, "Ancient Voices" and "Light at the Edge of the World" which will allow you to meet some of the people described in the book.

Recently, Davis has been involved in an effort to protect Canadian wilderness in northern British Columbia from exploitation by mining and oil companies. You can hear his eloquent defense of the 'Sacred Headwaters' here.

If you enjoyed this book, Davis has written several others. His most recent book is Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest. The Browser interviewed him about it and got him to recommend several books about WWI. I've tossed one of those into the pile of titles we may consider some day. I'll let you try to figure out which one!

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