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Showing 1-10 of 63 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 96 reviews
on June 8, 2015
As an ethnobotanist myself, I enjoy all of Wade Davis' books, because I see his images from the same side of the street. This being his first book,(I believe), it was well written,and Davis' ability to blend science, and literature is more than excellent. I wasn't as entranced with this book as I was with "One River".(a later book) The Back in Boston chapter lost my attention just temporarily, but probably because the secrets shared of Haitian culture and viewed aspects of Afro-Caribbean religion of the earlier section's of the book were so intoxicating to read. An fascinating and knowledgeable read
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on June 18, 2017
For a short book this is not a quick read. Absolutely fascinating telling of the subject matter, and a window into the mind of a young grad student
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on February 25, 2013
I loved this book! Learn about plants, other cultures, secret societies, cultural ideas, and kept interested with adventurous travel. The whole concept of zombi and voudon is now completely changed in my mind, and I believe for the better. It's well written, he makes an effort to wholeheartedly embrace a culture and people who he initially knows nothing about. The characters are well described, evolving as he learns more about them. As I see it, this is a must read book that will be gracing my library shelf for many years to come. So glad I purchased it. Might I add, I never knew it was a movie til I read other folks' reviews and knew very little about this book before I got it so my views weren't tainted by any expectations. Guess now I'll watch the movie and be disappointed by Hollywood's rendition...
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on April 6, 2016
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.I am a skeptic in things of the supernatural but this book had me really second guessing my feelings. I sat down to read it and went through the entire book in one sitting. This is a book I could read over and over
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on January 9, 2016
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 sure it is embellished heavily, but it is interesting and well written, at least the first half is anyway, after that it gets a little slow, but thats just for my taste.
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on January 17, 2017
Such a looooooooooooong slow read...I have to agree with other folks that have made these same comments; it was very long and dry which made it a bit harder to maintain my attention span (and I've lived in West Africa where voodoo originated)!
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on February 6, 2013
I bought this book and read it so that I could use it as a reference on a college psychology paper on the "Voodoo Death Curse". Let me tell you, if you love anthropology or just mind-blowing things in general, this book is phenomenal. The only problem I had was the use of abstract words. I found myself having to look words up a lot, but I don't know what else anyone would expect from a Harvard anthropologist. You can also skip over them. I found that it doesn't really matter.

Great for college students!
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on October 13, 2014
The book is about a researcher who travels to Haiti to discover the components of zombi poison in order to find a medicinal use for it. What he ends up getting is a change in world view as he immerses himself in the voodoo culture. I found the first 3/4 of the book engaging and very interesting, but the last quarter of the book seemed to drag on as it goes into the history of voodoo culture. The book is almost nothing like the movie btw.
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on October 24, 2009
This is the first book I have read by Davis. I was initially expecting something akin to Burrough's drug filled romps through the tropics. I am very pleased that Davis has an academic approach to his writing. It is fun to read and insightful about the history, culture, and anthropological aspects of the places he is going. He is also able to handle the ethnobotany aspects of his material with impressive clarity. The works lacks drug story giggle-moments, but it does have it own very expressive way of carrying you deep in to a place few of us will ever see.
I think fans of the movie will enjoy the deeper exploration involved in the book. The movie's focus was undoubtedly more the quick-hit voodoo moments, but if someone was at all intrigued by the actual subject matter then this book will fill in the experiences rewardingly.
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on July 17, 2013
The book is written in the form of novel and I guess it might be considered fiction but make no mistake - it is a serious study of society laced with intriguing history facts. Not so new and you can clearly see that the world has moved on since the time of the book's publishing but nevertheless extremely interesting if you care to learn about the people outside of your neighborhood/city/country/continent.
Don't expect zombie infections or car chases or whatnot - I take this book as a documentary and recommend it as a good read.
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