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Passage of Darkness: The Ethnobiology of the Haitian Zombie Paperback – May 27, 1988
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From Library Journal
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A remarkable journey into the natural and supernatural world of the zombie.
Davis manages to demystify the concepts 'voodoo' and 'zombie.'
"New York Times Book Review"
Davis offers the only firsthand account of the structure and functions of clandestine Bizango societies.
Moves far beyond formula or sensationalism and directly confronts the 'why' of the zombie phenomenon.
ÝA¨ fascinating book.
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Top Customer Reviews
Preface by Dr. Richard Evens Schultes (Harvard).
We have all seen the stereo-typical archetypes of the zombie portrayed on TV, in the movies, in video games, etc. But what if zombies are real? Dr. Wade Davis has given us the science of fact behind the mythological tales of the Haitian zombie.
Dr. Davis provides evidence beyond reasonable doubt for documented cases of zombies. As a student of the famed Dr. Richard Evens Schultes of Harvard's Botanical Museum, Dr. Davis sets out to uncover the mysterious history, pharmacology, anthropology (enthobiology) and socio-political motivations behind zombies.
As it turns out, the history of creating zombies is a political one. The slaves brought with them from Africa to Haiti their shamanic knowledge of powerful poisons as well as their systems of punishment, law, politics, government and secret societies (Bizango) that formed from the maroons. It is herein revealed that the Vodoun religion of Haiti is as much a political structure as it is a religious one. Part of the magic dealt by bokers and houngan of the Bizango societies of that of law and order, and sometimes punishment is dealt to the guilty in the form of zombification.
However, in Haiti, and juxtaposed to foreign concepts of zombies, the people actually fear becoming zombies, not being attacked by them. This is because the pariahs of society, the criminals, repeat thieves, rapists, those who take advantage of others for their own gain, those who don't properly share land with kin according to need and family size, are those who will be targeted for zombification. Zombification is not dealt out on a whim by evil sorcerers.Read more ›
The chapter when he talks about the driver of the commandant of St Marc who was actually a secret society leader and actually had more power and influence than his boss is really key point in the balance of power in Haiti. Those who seem to be nobodies sometimes have more power than presidents
For anyone interested in this field, the work bears up under multiple readings. As to why "no followup"... take a look at Wade Davis's collected essays: the man is a polyglot in a marvelous sense. His current projects are absolutely essential, and he documents some cultures that are dying out. He has laid the groundwork for probably a number of Phd theses.
Check out :
Haiti: Guide to the Periodical Literature in English, 1800-1990 (Bibliographies and Indexes in Latin American and Caribbean Studies)
by Frantz Pratt (Compiler)
for more source material on Haiti. Wade Davis's Books including this one, PASSAGE OF DARKNESS, provide a great list of material to study a very significant culture.
Not written in the personal narrative style indicative of The Serpent and the Rainbow or One River, Passage of Darkness is more of a focused anthropological textbook. The process of zombification is described in scientific detail. A wonderful addition to the literature on Haiti, diaspora studies, psychology, social sciences, botany, chemistry, or those interested in the zombie phenomenon generally.
Is hard to imagine a way or expanded topics to improve this book, but I could enjoy more info about the magic rituals.I recommend look for Lydia Cabrera books (spanish mostly) in magic and plants involve in Vodo near cousin, Santeria from Cuba.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent sequel to Serpent and the Rainbow that goes into more detail about the world of the zombies, and a scientific explanation of the zombie phenomenon.Published on December 15, 2013 by Glenn Shepard
Wade Davis is an initiate of the Bizango and a reputable Anthropologist. He's work seems to be the only one that gives any accurate information on the Bizango. Read morePublished on May 21, 2008 by C. Helsson