The Serpent and the Rainbow

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, Oct 5, 2010 - Social Science - 304 pages
2 Reviews
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 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.

What people are saying - Write a review

Inspiring & Eye-Opening

User Review  - TY of NY - Borders

Wade Davis opens the doors to other cultures in a way that no history or social studies book could ever do! He does not explore the realms of these cultures with the eyes of a westerner seeking to ... Read full review

The serpent and the rainbow

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The book is an anecdotal and personal account by Davis, an ethnobotanist who pursued research on zombification in Haiti. During the course of several field trips, Davis discovered the ... Read full review


A Note on Orthograflay
PART TWO Interlude at Harvard
In Summer the Pilgrims Walk
to The Serpent and the Rainbow
Dancing in the Li0ns Jaw 2 16
Annotated Bibliography

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

Radiation Hormesis
T. D. Luckey
Limited preview - 1991
All Book Search results »

About the author (2010)

Wade Davis received his doctorate in ethnobotany from Harvard University and is an Explorer-in-Residence at the National Geographic Society. He is the author of many books, including The Serpent and the Rainbow and One River. He lives in British Columbia, Canada.

Bibliographic information