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Shadows in the Sun: Travels to Landscapes of Spirit and Desire

Shadows in the Sun: Travels to Landscapes of Spirit and Desire
Wade Davis
Washington, D.C.: Island Press
Publication Date: 

Cloth, 292 p., $22.95

Is ecotourism just another excuse for travel into the hinterlands, a means to collect exotic stamps in a passport, gathering nothing but a few faint memories? Wade Davis argues that properly attuned ecotourists should be sensitive to local opportunities and situations, contributing to local culture and environments with their own skills and experiences. Ecotourism is not another form of entertainment. Wade Davis' descriptions expand your imagination with spectacular images and scenes. His analysis of life on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic (where narwhal skin and caribou guts are excellent sources of vitamin C), in the Shining Crystal Monastery of Tibet or in the Peruvian Andes challenge you — in a not-so-subtle way — to look at the world differently. Davis literally makes you part of his expeditions, a part of a group solving a difficult problem not yet resolved by anthropology or botany. This sense of intellectual adventure — combined with Davis' ability to paint landscapes with an economy of words — makes this book one of the best examples of science and travel writing in recent memory. If you are familiar with Davis' other books, you will not be disappointed by this collection of engaging and thoughtful essays.

— Edward J. Valauskas