• Magdalena

  • River of Dreams: A Story of Colombia
  • By: Wade Davis
  • Narrated by: Wade Davis, Xandra Uribe
  • Length: 16 hrs and 17 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (82 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $35.00

Buy for $35.00

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

A captivating new book from Wade Davis - award-winning, best-selling author and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence for more than a decade - that brings vividly to life the story of the great Río Magdalena, illuminating Colombia's complex past, present, and future.

Travelers often become enchanted with the first country that captures their hearts and gives them license to be free. For Wade Davis, it was Colombia. Now in a masterly new book, Davis 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 a land that is home to the greatest ecological and geographical diversity on the planet. As Gabriel García Márquez once wrote during his own pilgrimage on the river: "The only reason I would like to be young again would be the chance to travel again on a freighter going up the Magdalena". Only in Colombia can a traveler wash ashore in a coastal desert, follow waterways through wetlands as wide as the sky, ascend narrow tracks through dense tropical forests, and reach verdant Andean valleys rising to soaring ice-clad summits. This rugged and impossible geography finds its perfect coefficient in the topography of the Colombian spirit: restive, potent, at times placid and calm, in moments explosive and wild. 

Both a corridor of commerce and a fountain of culture, the wellspring of Colombian music, literature, poetry, and prayer, the Magdalena has served in dark times as the graveyard of the nation. And yet, always, it returns as a river of life. 

At once an absorbing adventure and an inspiring tale of hope and redemption, Magdalena gives us a rare, kaleidoscopic picture of a nation on the verge of a new period of peace. Braiding together memoir, history, and journalism, Wade Davis tells the story of the country's most magnificent river, and in doing so, tells the epic story of Colombia.

©2020 Wade Davis (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"This shimmering portrait of the Río Magdalena, evoking its moods and depths, ultimately reveals the complicated nation those waters sustain and reflect. Never wincing from dark histories, yet never abandoning hope, Wade Davis shows us why Colombia stole his heart as a young traveler and holds it still." (Kate Harris, author of Lands of Lost Borders)

"Illustrative... Davis's deep knowledge of and decades-long familiarity with Colombia notwithstanding, the freshest and most insightful sections occur when he is in the company of resident experts, and he is gracious enough to acknowledge that debt... Illuminating." (The Times Literary Supplement)

"Ardent.... 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, starred)

More from the same

What listeners say about Magdalena

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    71
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    67
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    67
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    3
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A must read for colombians

I enjoyed a lot listening to Wade Davis. Being.a colombian myself the story telled in this audiobook has helped me connect many dots as the river Magdalena has ports. It is true we have our backs facing the river and realizing this brought me to tears many times while walking and listening how for decades we have turn this artery of the country in our flowing graveyard.
Realizing we are an anfibian culture is something I will keep from this reading. This is a reminder of an idea developed early on by Orlando Fals Borda, founder of sociolocy as an academic career at the Universidad Nacional de Colombia. It is an idea that hopefully not comes too late in my career as a teacher. I intend to spread this meme on to my students.
Wade Davis' profound love for Colombia is felt in every sentence in this book. We colombians need to feel it too in order to give the river, and therefore the country, a chance

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Incredible, opened my eyes wide

Still reeling from the interwoven complex beautiful nature of the story telling.
Amazing tour through the time and place that left me unduly impressed and hopeful.
The history as told with reference to the Rio Magdalena is unforgettable logical and truly magical
Thank you Wade

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful tapestry

Wade Davis has used the broad theme of the Magdalena River, that crosses most of Colombia, to present a sweeping tapestry of the country’s history, culture and natural history. I can think of no other book that does such a good job of introducing the reader to a place and people in Latin America. The author has a well deserved reputation as a naturalist, and this book enhances that reputation- showing us a person who not only can bring life to Colombia’s biogeography but also its diverse peoples, music and cultural landscape. The book is inhabited not only by “ordinary people,” especially musicians, but also historic figures like Alexander von Humboldt and Simon Bolivar. The book does not shy away from or gloss over the dark and bloody recent history of Colombia, but it leaves the reader with a sense of optimism about natural and social recovery. The book is Wade Davis’s “love letter” to a country that welcomed him as a young man and scientist. Colombia is now rewarded for its hospitality, and the reader is made a welcome guest at the banquet.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Exceptional

I'm amazed at the magnitude of this work. it is more history than geography, or should I call it "human geography". The 15 chapters cove most aspects of Colombian history, moving from the origin of the river in the macizo and across the country going north towards the Caribbean sea. I remembered many words studied in the school and other events experienced during my 40 years living in Bogota and the north coast. There is this constant flow of words related to specific topics that only an educated Colombian would know. this book should be mandatory reading in Colombia, and I look forward to a translation to Spanish. My admiration and respect goes to Dr. Davis, I have dropped many tears of emotion listening to some of the passages and also to his interview with Rick Steve.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

wanted to like it more

the story is just hard to be drawn into throughout the book... their are some slow parts. but it's a great insight into Columbia

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Magdalena River of dreams

Fué extraordinario y más leído por el, sería importante que todos los Colombianos lo leyeran como cultura general, y para tener en la cabeza todo el país, tan biodiverso y grandioso en el que nacimos y amarlo, cuidarlo y conservarlo. Wade debería ser nuestro ministro de Medio Ambiente. Gracias!! lo he recomendado muchisimo.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A glimpse into the beauty and resilience of Colombia

Listening to the audio version feels like your sitting with friends around a campfire sharing stories of incredible sadness, ever present hope and nostalgia. If you have spent any time in Colombia you know that it’s people and terrain are easy to love. This book explains why.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

'magic realism'

Wade Davis is a sensitive anthropologist and superb story teller. Even though "Magdalena" deals with some of the bloodiest and most violent passages of the history of Colombia, the elegance and precision of his descriptions transport the reader with ease to the natural theater of unfolding tragedies and accept their inevitable outcomes.
The comparison with "Love in the Time of Cholera" (El amor en los tiempos del cólera) a novel by Colombian Nobel prize winning author Gabriel García Márquez is within easy reach: a question of 'similar differences' and 'different similarities', imagination and reality overflowing each other's boundaries — its setting also the Magdalena River.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I need to go to Colombia NOW!! post covid...;)

Wade Davis love and longing for all things Colombian is infectious. This living narrative as told by many and written by Wade so expressively weaves the story and history of Colombia together like a brilliantly colored Wayuu mochila!! Love this book and love Colombia!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Living in Colombia

for the last 5 years but with bits and pieces of the county's history - Magdalena is a colorful lesson of it's history, It covers 1000 years up to present day political conflicts from the perspective of the river. I now have a million more places to explore in this breathtaking county.