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The Serpent and the Rainbow: A Harvard Scientist's Astonishing Journey into the Secret Societies of Haitian Voodoo, Zombis, and Magic Paperback – August 5, 1997
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"Zombis do come back from the dead, and Wade Davis knows how." -- Washington Post Book World
"An account solving one of the most puzzling biological mysteries of all time." -- Omni
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Top Customer Reviews
When he does talk about the Zombie poison, Davis makes it easy to understand how without giving specifics but revealing the major components. Beginning with a sound hypothesis when starting on his adventure and unraveling the mystery scientifically as the book progresses. He loves is terminology, but never does it frustrate the reader. Also, where he excels again is when he uses historical reference to provide many examples how similar or the same poisons have accidentally given the appearance of death in different parts and times of the world. Furthermore Davis explains that the poison is just a component to religious and social conditioning that reinforce the defintion of "Zombi".
After reading "The Serpent and the Rainbow" it will compel you to look up figures such as Macandal, Dr. Francois Devalier and especially Zore Neale Hurston, in which he names a chapter from the works of this remarkable woman.
My only complaint about the book is that I wish the author had provided a map. As descriptive as he is, it's hard to get a point of reference. One would say go on the net, but that's hard to do when your reading on a bus.Read more ›
Davis' quest began with a commission to investigate anesthetic drugs from plants and animals. His mentor, Richard Schultes, was considered the founder of ethnobotany, the study of plant chemistry as a cultural artifact. Davis is sent to Haiti in 1982, a time of growing awareness of the numbers of natural products overlooked for medicinal use. Davis is sent to Haiti to investigate the zombi myths. He learns of the use of "magic powders" to bring about a catatonic state. People are declared dead, buried, but are exhumed and led away, often to a life of near slavery. Davis, using Schultes' work as background, investigates the Datura genus of plants. Datura in various species, ranges across the Western Hemisphere and is widely used by Amerindian and other peoples for various rituals. So, too, are the excretions of Bufo marinus, the Central American "cane toad," that today is the scourge of vast reaches of Australia.Read more ›
While not a reference work on the Voudoun religion, "The Serpent and the Rainbow" sheds new light on Voudoun practice and theology, and it's ubiquitous presence in all levels of Haitian society. This is not a horror story of "devil drums" and "Voodoo dolls" but an exploration of how history has shaped the lives and culture of the people of Haiti.
In a nutshell, this is a real life adventure that is, if anything, more entertaining, and interesting than the fictional adventures of Indiana Jones, and far more satisfying than the Wes Craven film which is loosely (very loosely) based on this book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In the back of my mind, when reading Serpent and the Rainbow, I was constantly reminded that the author conducted this work while a PhD candidate. Read morePublished 18 days ago by Thomas Blakiston
This is a must read. I believe it also a movie. It's a super interesting story that has roots in anthropology, science and voodoo. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Ginger M.
If I hasn't been forced to read this for a class, I never would've chosen this. And for good reason. This story was horrible! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Not quite finished with it yet but its fasinating thus farPublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Easy read kept me entertained nothing like the movie but books and movies hardly ever arePublished 2 months ago by tomas rosales
Great book, it is a really interesting read. There is some controversy over his findings, and it is not written like a scientific book at all, it is more of a travel log, and I am... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Pen Name