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#2430: Wade Davis' work: Corbett replies to Young

>From Bob Corbett

David, I agree with you that there a good deal of most useful scholarly
work in Davis' book THE SERPENT AND THE RAINBOW.  However, were list
members (or others) interested in this work, I would suggest that Davis
has a much better book to offer:  PASSAGE OF DARKNESS: THE ETHNOBOTANY OF 
THE HAITIAN ZOMBIE.  (University of North Carolina Press, 1988).  This
work is a more scholarly inquiry and has less of the personal 
sensationism which, while making SERPENT a fun read, is more distracting 
to the more universal issues involved in the main thesis.

Further I would suggest that a significant amount of the historical
research was ready to hand, as Davis himself acknowledges.  He cites
three different works of Michelle Laguerre from 1980 and 84 which deal 
with the issues of the secret societies.  This is not to take away from 
Davis' finding these useful sources and re-organizing the material in
a very useful manner.  That is a wonderful service.

If you'd like to see a longer review of that more scholarly book of Davis'
and some discussion of objections raised to his scholarship by people in
his field of ethnobotany, (where I try to defend Davis' position) please 
see my review of it at:


Bob Corbett