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The Elder Brothers Hardcover – February 18, 1992


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 243 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 Amer ed edition (February 18, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679406182
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679406181
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #708,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Kogi, survivors of a pre-Columbian civilization who live in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta mountains of Colombia, call themselves the "Elder Brothers" of humanity: they believe they are the guardians of all life on earth. In 1988, the leaders of this isolated and secretive tribe, whose main purpose is to live in harmony with nature, decided the time had come to warn their "Younger Brothers" that activites like strip mining and oil drilling were killing the earth. They invited British radio and television producer Ereira to convey their message to the world, and the result was a PBS film, From the Heart of the World. In this account of how the movie was made, Ereira vividly portrays the Kogi society and recounts his difficult but often humorous relationship with a mysterious people whose metaphysical, nature-centered view of life is so different from that of modern industrial society. He combines his narrative with long translations in which the Kogi speak for themselves, delivering their urgent message in the hypnotic cadences that characterize their language. Ereira came away from his encounter with the Kogi convinced by their dire warning, which he forcefully reiterates in a moving and compelling book. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Ereira, a London-based TV producer, brings a chilling doomsday message from Colombia's isolated Kogi Tribe in this captivating mix of anthropology and travel writing. It was while filming a documentary about the Spanish Armada that Ereira first heard of the Kogi, a tribe who call themselves the ``Elder Brothers'' of humanity and consider it their mission to care for ``Mother Earth.'' Secluded in the high-altitude jungles of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta on Colombia's Caribbean coast, flanked by cocaine ranches and the Guajira Desert, the Kogi were once a complex pre-Columbian civilization who managed to outlast the 16th-century conquistadors and preserve their culture through a ruthless code of isolation. To Ereira's surprise, the reclusive tribe accepted his offer to make a documentary about them--but as it turned out, the Kogi had their own agenda, assigned to them by their high priests, or ``Mamas.'' Having divined that Earth and all her people will die unless the civilized world quickly modifies its shortsighted way of life, the Mamas had decided to offer their own culture as an example of a better way to live. Pressed on by an unprecedented sense of urgency, the Kogi opened their homes to illustrate to Ereira and his cameras how, in their culture, each act is considered in its spiritual or moral dimension; how wisdom and sensitivity are so prized that some apprentice priests spend their first 30 years in total darkness to better attune themselves to ``aluna,'' the spiritual world; and how the interrelatedness of nature is so taken for granted that our own recent discoveries in that regard seem almost childlike. In the end, Ereira traveled to the top of the mountain for a terrifying view of melted glaciers and stark, snowless peaks--empirical evidence that the Kogi mystics' urgency, backed by a thousand years of keeping watch, may indeed be justified. A frightening and wondrous journey. (Eight pages of magnificent color photographs.) -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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The book was in great shape and it was very interesting.
Andres
The book tells the story of Ereira's friendship with these highly intelligent and spiritually evolved people and how the film came to be made.
Joanna Garrett
It is the land of the Kogi...the special Indian people who consider themselves the Elder Brothers of humanity.
Bert Ruiz

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
The heart-breaking story of the Kogi indians of Colombia, who believe that their divine purpose is safeguarding the planet from the ecological holocaust caused by modern civilization. The description of the elderly shaman and the young boy, secluded in a cave high in the Andes as they enact ancient rituals in a desperate attempt to save the world, is one of the most mind-blowing passages I have ever read. A gut-wrenching, haunting, and ultimately terrifying book, the message of the Kogi people could very well contain the key to our survival as a species.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book should be required reading in order to qualify for participation in the human race. WHY IS IT OUT OF PRINT??? This book is an eye-opener to the tragic environmental destruction we all are causing to the Earth. I have no doubt that we could make miraculous healing changes to the world environment if everyone read a copy. It not only features an incredibly important environmental message, it is a great read! The reader is invited into the world of the Kogi of Colombia and blessed with the opportunity to perceive the world through their eyes. This book is a rare jewel, one does not often find a recounting this valuable and moving. After reading it, I gathered my children and talked about the impact we all make on the global environment every day. We went through our home to find ways to improve and change as much as one family can. This book will prove to be an epiphany to anyone fortunate enough to read it. It is startling that the "younger brothers" have gutted the Earth, burnt the sky, poisoned the sea and are now working on the extinction of human life.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Bert Ruiz on July 24, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The Elder Brothers are the last surviving high civilization of pre-conquest America. They live in Colombia's Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta...the highest coastal mountain in the world...19,000 feet above the sea and only 26 miles inland. The mountains gradually rise from the Caribbean beaches and burning desert at the base to eternal snows at the top. It is the land of the Kogi...the special Indian people who consider themselves the Elder Brothers of humanity.

From the start, author/film maker Alan Ereira did not want to make a film about the Kogi...he wanted to make a film with them. His willingness to allow the Kogi to tell their story rather than dictate to them...lead the Elder Brothers to break centuries of suspicion and secrecy. This wonderful book is about how Ereira managed to make his documentary film. The author is careful to explain that the Kogi Elder Brothers offer us a way of understanding our own past. The Elder Brothers believe that they are the guardians to life on earth. The Kogi are not a violent people but like all indigenous people of America who were hospitable...they have learned that hospitality is the most dangerous virtue on earth. Hence, now that they have given Ereira the message...they want to be left alone again.

The Kogi have a powerful message...true "words of wisdom" that can help mankind. The Elder Brothers look on us as children, dangerous, irrational and essentially helpless. They call us, the "Younger Brothers." They also see as moral idiots, greedy beyond all understanding. Over and over Ereira informs us that the Kogi speak of us sacking, looting the planet, tearing at is flesh without respect. If we fail to respond...the Elder Brothers say all life will be destroyed.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 13, 1998
Format: Paperback
Very moving account of what is happening to the Kogi-Indians in Colombia. Makes you think about what the "white brothers" did to indigenous people in America.
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