top of page
  • booksoverdrinks

E13: Wade David - Magdalena: River of Dreams

We sat with Dr. Wade Davis, an anthropologist, and Professor of Anthropology at the University of British Columbia.

Wade is A prolifc writer, photographer, and filmmaker whose work has taken him from the Amazon to Tibet, Africa to Australia, Polynesia to the Arctic. An Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society, he was named as one of the explorers for the millennium, Davis holds degrees in anthropology and biology and received his Ph.D. in ethnobotany, all from Harvard University.

He spent over three years in the Amazon and Andes as a plant explorer, living among fifteen indigenous groups in eight Latin American nations. Himself an honorary Colombian citizen, a country that he knows well enough to have written detailed accounts of his travels and the people and land that hosted him along the way.

Author of 23 books, he joined us to discuss his latest one. Magdalena: River of Dreams. A wonderful book about a country with a complex past, widely misunderstood by those who have only come to hear the name through the protagonists of its darkest moments.

A book that is as much about Colombia’s political and cultural history as it is about the river from which it takes its name. A land of biological and ecological diversity, a land covered by pristine forests, spared by the hand of progress, home to snow covered volcanos, 1900 different bird species (half of the total world species), and more natural resources and cultural diversity than almost any other nation in the world. A country fueled by its land, and rivers but also by its more than 50 million people, those who seek comfort in the wishful future by letting go of the misfortunes of the past.

The Magdalena river, or as the author calls it, the Misisipi of Colombia, is the country’s environmental and economic heart. A river that flows northward across the country, acting as its engine of progress. Responsible for most of the country’s GDP, agricultural production, and hydroelectric energy, all of which have taken a toll on the river tainting its waters with sediments and pollution.

This is a book that transports readers to this beautiful country and along 1000 miles from south to north of the Magdalena river, painting a more accurate depiction of the country’s past, present, and future.

All in all, Davis' pragmatic take on the country is filled with the poetic beauty and magical realism characteristic of the country’s most important literary gift to the world. Something he modestly explains as simply being a literal depiction of a magical place.

This is a book we are certain you’ll enjoy from cover to cover, and hope sparks interest in this beautiful country and the work of this amazing author and explorer.

To learn more about this amazing author and explorer visit:

To get your copy of Magdalena: River of Dreams visit:



bottom of page