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  • Published: 2 November 2021
  • ISBN: 9781529112214
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • RRP: $22.99


River of Dreams

From the bestselling author and winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize: the epic story of Colombia's Rio Magdalena and of the country's past, present and future

A captivating new book from Wade Davis - winner of the Samuel Johnson Prize for Into the Silence - that brings vividly to life the story of the great Río Magdalena, illuminating Colombia's complex past, present, and future.

For Wade Davis, Colombia was the first country that captured his heart and gave him license to be free. Here, he tells of his travels on the mighty Magdalena, the river that made possible the nation. Along the way, he finds a people who have overcome years of conflict precisely because of their character, informed by an enduring spirit of place, and a deep love of their remarkable land.

Braiding together memoir, history and journalism, Magdalena is at once an absorbing adventure through a spectacular landscape and a kaleidoscopic picture of Colombia as it stands on the verge of a new period of peace.

'Outstanding... Davis tells epic tales of passion, violence and ambition with tremendous narrative verve' Sunday Times, Books of the Year

'A wonderful evocation of a lifetime's travel in Colombia' Spectator, Books of the Year

  • Published: 2 November 2021
  • ISBN: 9781529112214
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 432
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Wade Davis

Wade Davis is a multi award-winning writer and acclaimed photographer whose work has taken him from the Amazon to Tibet, Africa to Australia, Polynesia to the Arctic. Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society from 2000 to 2013, he is currently Professor of Anthropology and the BC Leadership Chair in Cultures and Ecosystems at Risk at the University of British Columbia. He is the bestselling author of 22 books, including One River, The Wayfinders and Into the Silence, which was awarded the 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize. In 2016, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada. In 2018 he became an Honorary Citizen of Colombia.

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Praise for Magdalena

Anyone who wishes to understand this mysterious corner of the world deserves Magdalena. It is a capacious, generous and illuminating book

-Juan Gabriel Vásquez

Davis stocks his lively narrative with piquant characters, dramatic historical set pieces, and lyrical nature writing. The result is a rich, fascinating study of how nature and a people shape each other

Publishers Weekly

After all our agonies, Wade Davis, through the evocative power of his writing and the clarity of his understanding, gives us all reason to once again love Colombia. That is the wonder of his book, which in many ways reads as a love letter to a nation

Héctor Abad, author of Oblivion

Shimmering... Never wincing from dark histories, yet never abandoning hope, Wade Davis shows us why Colombia stole his heart as a young traveller and holds it still

Kate Harris, author of Lands of Lost Borders

A magnificent, hugely important book, breathtaking in its scope and vision . a masterpiece . an epic journey across the nation and into its beating heart .essential reading for anyone wanting to understand Colombia

Anna Lewington

[Magdalena] is a rallying cry to save the Magdalena from the destructive effects of industrialisation, but it also aims to reset our impressions of the country as a whole... [Davis's] passion for Colombia is better expressed in the depth of information he delivers - and the poetic way in which he captures its extraordinary landscape. Those pondering a trip will be inspired to veer off the tourist path

Jenny Coad, The Times

Davis is a powerful, penetrating and immensely knowledgeable writer

Charles Nicholl, Guardian, *Book of the Week*

Davis suffuses his reportage with a visionary tinge. But his subject more than warrants it

Boyd Tonkin, Financial Times

Magdalena is a revelatory and often enchanting book


This book is the culmination of a lifetime's work in the country and is suffused with a love and knowledge that only such long acquaintance can bring

Hugh Thomson, Spectator

Passionate and profoundly engaged... [Davis'] presentation of the great river as Colombia's Mississippi, its fountain of music, the source of its many contradictions...generates an impact that few travel books can muster.

Brian Morton, Tablet

Music and myth, commerce and colonialism, indigeneity and identity: Magdalena is as impressively exploratory in approach as it is encyclopaedic in scope

Oliver Balch, Times Literary Supplement

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