The Serpent and the Rainbow

The Serpent and the Rainbow A scientific investigation and personal adventure story about zombis and the voudoun culture of Haiti by a Harvard scientist In April ethnobotanist Wade Davis arrived in Haiti to investigate two

  • Title: The Serpent and the Rainbow
  • Author: Wade Davis
  • ISBN: 9780684839295
  • Page: 453
  • Format: Paperback
  • A scientific investigation and personal adventure story about zombis and the voudoun culture of Haiti by a Harvard scientist.In April 1982, ethnobotanist Wade Davis arrived in Haiti to investigate two documented cases of zombis people who had reappeared in Haitian society years after they had been officially declared dead and had been buried Drawn into a netherworld of riA scientific investigation and personal adventure story about zombis and the voudoun culture of Haiti by a Harvard scientist.In April 1982, ethnobotanist Wade Davis arrived in Haiti to investigate two documented cases of zombis people who had reappeared in Haitian society years after they had been officially declared dead and had been buried Drawn into a netherworld of rituals and celebrations, Davis penetrated the vodoun mystique deeply enough to place zombification in its proper context within vodoun culture In the course of his investigation, Davis came to realize that the story of vodoun is the history of Haiti from the African origins of its people to the successful Haitian independence movement, down to the present day, where vodoun culture is, in effect, the government of Haiti s countryside The Serpent and the Rainbow combines anthropological investigation with a remarkable personal adventure to illuminate and finally explain a phenomenon that has long fascinated Americans.

    One thought on “The Serpent and the Rainbow”

    1. Wade Davis's renowned investigation into Haitian zombies has the benefit of featuring a hero who is fearless, rugged and insightful. It has the drawback that the hero is also the author, and so his presentation of himself as a latter-day Indiana Jones (an inevitable comparison that comes up in every review ever printed of this book; I will shamefacedly join the queue) is tinged with more than a little self-aggrandisement.Still, if you can't find a Boswell to write this stuff about you, you might [...]

    2. Just got reminded that I've read this book, and never spoken about it.Tetrodotoxin - it's a word to live and die by. But is it death, if you comeback as a zombie.Read this book and find out. It's a classic if you would like to know more about Voudoun and Haitian culture. (Note - this is not the movie by Wes Craven) this is the real stuff.

    3. Wade Davis is a dedicated scientist and a very brave man. He dared to venture into deepest Haiti and consort with dangerous characters in his search for the chemical used to change an ordinary person into a mindless (non-flesh eating) zombie. Too bad he's not a more compelling storyteller. He misses almost every opportunity to build suspense. I know his aim was to strip away the mystery surrounding his subject, but a little atmosphere wouldn't have hurt. This is the stuff of legends after all.Da [...]

    4. I have a deep and abiding fear of zombies. I spend more time thinking about what to do in the event of a zombie outbreak than is probably good for one's mental health. But then I also a good amount of time worrying about giant squid attacks as well, so perhaps my fears aren't the most rational. Regardless, some wise person whose name I have long forgotten once said that if you faced you fears you would realize how foolish they were. I tried this with sharks once and ended up far more afraid than [...]

    5. Everything you think you know about voodoo is probably wrong. Voodoo dolls were never part of the religion, and zombies are not the living dead. "Voodoo" simply means "god" or "spirit" in the Dahomey language. The beliefs and practices are every bit as logical as those of any other religion when viewed as a means of providing social structure and maintaining order in the community.

    6. Уейд Дейвис забива пирон право в сърцето на парцаливата кукла на клишетата. Защото зомбитата и вуду магиите съществуват, но съвсем не приличат на това, което Холивуд показва.„Змията и дъгата” е риба балон (защо тази аналогия – като прочетете книгата). Прочитът ѝ или ще те у [...]

    7. After graduating from Shimer College, my youngest stepbrother, Erik Badger, sponsored by an undergraduate mentor long active in Haiti, went to the island to work on education projects. The first step in the process was total immersion in the culture in order to learn, among other things, Creole. He was deposited, alone, in a village where no one spoke English and lived there for several months. It worked and he worked in Haiti for several years, educating educators offering classes to the (mostl [...]

    8. Too bad they made this wonderful book into a horror flick. The book is about a Harvard trained ethnobotanist who goes to Haiti to learn about some of the naturally occuring compounds used in the voudoun culture. The hope is that some of the active compounds may provide a safer alternative to general anaesthesia. What I found remarkable about the book was Wade Davis' ability to embrace and respect the voudoun culture (and it is a culture in the full sense of the word) without making western value [...]

    9. …народът се състои от осемдесет и пет процента католици и сто и десет процента водунисти…: knigolandiafo/book-review/zРобите в Хаити донасят своите специфични вярвания и ритуали, които залягат в основата на вуду-културата, която Холивуд изкриви до неузнаваемост за своите цели, и имен [...]

    10. A book that starts off with the taste of sterile laboratory text. And grows throughout to ensnare and hold you, till your sitting next to this man, feeling the mists from this massive waterfall caress your face. Hearing the great roaring crash of the water. Seeing the rainbow, and knowing serenity as the light falls upon your face. He shows you the deep well from whence the the people draw life from, and he shows you the purpose and rite of zombification. A really thorough description of a mans [...]

    11. Very different from the Wes Craven 80's horror film (I just watched it in all its cheesey glory). I found it very interesting, and it made me want to know more about Haiti and voudon.

    12. I wonder how many great biographies are ruined by autobiography - not so much because the content must inevitably differ but because it is so different to read “Look at him, he is great, look at what he can do” than it is “Look at me, I am great, look at what I can do.”It’d be a tricky thing for Indiana Jones to write his own autobiography. He could play it jocky or nerdy or self-deprecating but he absolutely could not play it straight down the middle. That scene when he shoots the dud [...]

    13. I would highly recommend reading this in conjunction with Mountains Beyond Mountains so that you can compare the different appearances of the Ton Ton Macoute. I believe this book is very good for 'blancs' to read, because Western society just doesn't engender the capacity to understand Haitian culture, or for that matter any culture that is highly spiritual outside of Judeo-Christian religions. Just from an anthropological standpoint, this book is highly interesting, but combined with all of the [...]

    14. Обширно изследване на вудуизма и зомбитата извън холивудските клишета, особено интересно в частта с лични наблюдения и информацията за различните отровни растения и животни. Книгата е доста разхвърляна, с много повторения и ненужно подробно задълбаване в историята на Ха [...]

    15. I noticed most of the poor reviews of this book come from people who were expecting to read about zombies and then the odd person who really dislikes Wade Davis.So movie style zombies aren't real and I happen to have a mad author crush on Wade Davis so I feel free to enjoy this book. He's an anthropologist, he's an ethnobotonistnd of a sexy geek, which isn't what some people were expecting. I love his TED talk on the destruction of cultures and my guess is that he is better at speaking than at w [...]

    16. I really don't understand most of the reviews for this book. I guess most of you saw the movie first and expected that. This book offered much more than just a zombie story. You actually learn. And not just about voodoo and "zombies". I completely understand how and why Haiti has evolved to where it is today because of this book. I've read this book 3 times. Will read it again. The most interesting and unique non-fiction book I have ever read. The Haitian history, voodoo, cultures, people. Scary [...]

    17. Това беше най-увлекателният и интересен нехудожествен текст на който съм попадал. Допълнителни точки и за минималистичните корица и разделител, както и за смелостта на „Ерове” да издадат вече втора книга с антропология.Уейд Дейвис е етноботаник(нещо като криптозоолог пр [...]

    18. When I bought THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW by Wade Davis I was on a horror kick, a quest to find a genuinely scary book. I’m glad I didn’t read this then, because the book is nothing like the movie of the same name, from which it was adapted by Wes Craven in 1988. The movie was bad, the book is good, but it’s not a horror story. It starts as a scientific adventure to discover the chemical makeup of the formula used to create zombis in Haiti. From that start Wade delves into the Haitian cult [...]

    19. In 1982 Canadian anthropologist Wade Davis ventured to Haiti to learn if and how voodoo sorcerers turn people into zombies. His motive? Their poisons, he thought, might be medically valuable—the way curare, an arrow poison discovered by Harvard ethnobotanist Schultes, had proved valuable as a muscle relaxant for surgery. Assisted by local contacts, Davis penetrated the society of houngans (vodoo priests) and bokors (voodoo sorcerers), attended voodoo ceremonies, and after a false start or two [...]

    20. First off forget anything you saw in the film, which bears little resemblance to the book. THE SERPENT & THE RAINBOW is a fascinating anthropological study that reads like fiction; capable of holding a reader’s interest from start to finish.It is the early 1980’s and Harvard educated ethnobotantist (one who scientifically studies the relationship between people and plants) Wade Davis is sent to Haiti to investigate the validity of two reported cases of zombification. The theory being the [...]

    21. I have very mixed feelings about this book. Part of me would like to like it more than I do, and another part wants to hate it, but I can’t commit to either one or the other. There’s definitely some very interesting information in here, and the author deserves credit for taking a sober and serious attitude towards what is a sensationalist topic in the United States, but somehow the fact that it’s written (as a review on the back cover comments) as “a corker of a read” undermines its cr [...]

    22. A fascinating true life account of four years spent in the Voudoun culture by Davis, a Harvard ethnobotanist sent on a mission to explore the mysteries of "zombis." Not pure sci-fi, the phenomenon is given real attention, both as cultural myth and actual occurance (the events are set off by the appearance of two people, in their Haitian villages, who were declared dead in an American hospital and buried with witnesses). The resulting exploration covers a great deal of fascinating ground, from Ha [...]

    23. Zombies exist. Not in the form we think of. But they are real. Davis proves it in this wonderful sociological/anthropological/botanical book.Davis arrives in Haiti with a theory and a grant to uncover a drug that would cause zombieism. His theory is proven incorrect, but through the progress of the book, he does discover a combination of drugs used to create death-like symptoms in a person and one that can be used to keep a person stupified, in a "zombie" state.The drugs are not the important pa [...]

    24. The Serpent and the Rainbow is an interesting mix of science and myth, as Davis attempts to dispel the myths of Haitian voodoo. Contrary to popular opinion, voodoo does not necessarily involve sticking pins in dolls of people you don't like. Voodoo is an old religion that can be traced all the way back to the times of the African slave revolts. Haiti was the place of one of the only successful slave revolts in the "Americas," and because of this, an interesting culture developed around the runaw [...]

    25. Davis' account of his research in Haiti into the zombi phenomenon and its potential pharmaceutical basis is just as fun as you'd imagine it to be, and just as ultimately unsatisfying as you might imagine it to be. Of course, the years have shown that the toxin hypothesis might not stand up so well (the matter is still unsettled between Davis and his detractors) but Davis makes a convincing early argument for the chemical basis for the fake death and "reanimation" as blathering servant of Haiti's [...]

    26. This book blew my MIND - don't see the movie, it's total bunk, but this book is bad ass. Basically, this story starts with somebody who a doctor in Port Au Prince, using up-to-date medical technologies, diagnoses as dead and leaves them to be buried. Decades later, this person is found, alive but incoherent, and all the people know this person to now be a Zombie.The best part about this book is that the "Zombie" that we think of, walking slowly in large packs and calling monotonously for brains, [...]

    27. I can tell Wade Davis is going to become a favourite of mine. This book was exceptionally well written and researched. Davis takes you on an interesting and unique journey with him during his travels to Haiti to discover the secrets behind the voodoo zombi poison rumours. Throughout the main story of his quest for the poison there is all sorts of interesting information on Haitian culture and biology. Some cool things I learned:- Anesthesia is more dangerous and experimental than most people rea [...]

    28. Wade Davis's The Serpent and the Rainbow is, of course, nothing like the movie. Thank god. Davis, an ethnobotanist, travels to Haiti to learn the medical truths about zombification and becomes enamored of voodoo society and its practitioners. No one attacks him, no one kills his pals, and he isn't, as far as we know, in a sexual relationship with the young Rachel, his young Haitian escort. I'm not a biologist, so I won't critique Davis's explanation of the chemicals that make up the zombie powde [...]

    29. A fantastic tale and an education dive into the history and culture of Haiti and the Guinean cultures from which it sprung. To me he most intriguing facet of belief was the idea that after death one's essence drifts into a sort of communal pool of psychic energy and that it is from this pool that the gods are created. This idea reveals the gods to be not divine constants here before humanity but rather universal archetypes of humanity. Erzulie, the voudon goddess of love, would not be the invent [...]

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