House of Anansi Press

The Wayfinders

Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World CBC Massey Lectures

Written by Wade Davis

Published October 01, 2009 | ISBN 9780887849695
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / Cultural & Social

Cover of The Wayfinders

Regular price $16.95 CAD

272 pages
Digital Format

Also Available in Print

About this book

The Wayfinders

Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World

CBC Massey Lectures

Wade Davis

Every culture is a unique answer to a fundamental question: What does it mean to be human and alive? In The Wayfinders, renowned anthropologist, winner of the prestigious Samuel Johnson Prize, and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis leads us on a thrilling journey to celebrate the wisdom of the world's indigenous cultures.

In Polynesia we set sail with navigators whose ancestors settled the Pacific ten centuries before Christ. In the Amazon we meet the descendants of a true lost civilization, the Peoples of the Anaconda. In the Andes we discover that the earth really is alive, while in Australia we experience Dreamtime, the all-embracing philosophy of the first humans to walk out of Africa. We then travel to Nepal, where we encounter a wisdom hero, a Bodhisattva, who emerges from forty-five years of Buddhist retreat and solitude. And finally we settle in Borneo, where the last rainforest nomads struggle to survive.

Understanding the lessons of this journey will be our mission for the next century. For at risk is the human legacy -- a vast archive of knowledge and expertise, a catalogue of the imagination. Rediscovering a new appreciation for the diversity of the human spirit, as expressed by culture, is among the central challenges of our time.

About the Author

Wade Davis

Wade Davis is professor of anthropology and the B.C. Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia. Between 1999 and 2013 he served as Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society and is currently a member of the National Geographic Society Explorers Council and Honorary Vice-President of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. An ethnographer, writer, photographer, and filmmaker, Davis holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his PhD in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University. Davis is the author of 275 scientific and popular articles and 20 books including One River (1996), The Wayfinders (2009), The Sacred Headwaters (2011), Into the Silence (2011) and River Notes (2012). Davis is the recipient of 11 honorary degrees and numerous awards. His recent book, Into the Silence, received the 2012 Samuel Johnson prize, the top award for literary nonfiction in the English language. In 2016 he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

Awards and Praise
  • Short-listed Writers' Trust of Canada Non-Fiction Prize, 2009