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The Falling Sky: Words of a Yanomami Shaman
by Davi Kopenawa and Bruce Albert
translated by Nicholas Elliott and Alison Dundy
foreword by Bill McKibben
Harvard University Press, 2023
eISBN: 978-0-674-29356-4 | Paper: 978-0-674-29213-0
Library of Congress Classification F2520.1.Y3K6613 2023
Dewey Decimal Classification 981.0049892

ABOUT THIS BOOK | REVIEWS | TOC
ABOUT THIS BOOK

The 10th anniversary edition

A Guardian Best Book about Deforestation
A New Scientist Best Book of the Year
A Taipei Times Best Book of the Year


“A perfectly grounded account of what it is like to live an indigenous life in communion with one’s personal spirits. We are losing worlds upon worlds.”
—Louise Erdrich, New York Times Book Review

“The Yanomami of the Amazon, like all the indigenous peoples of the Americas and Australia, have experienced the end of what was once their world. Yet they have survived and somehow succeeded in making sense of a wounded existence. They have a lot to teach us.”
—Amitav Ghosh, The Guardian

“A literary treasure…a must for anyone who wants to understand more of the diverse beauty and wonder of existence.”
New Scientist

A now classic account of the life and thought of Davi Kopenawa, shaman and spokesman for the Yanomami, The Falling Sky paints an unforgettable picture of an indigenous culture living in harmony with the Amazon forest and its creatures, and its devastating encounter with the global mining industry. In richly evocative language, Kopenawa recounts his initiation as a shaman and first experience of outsiders: missionaries, cattle ranchers, government officials, and gold prospectors seeking to extract the riches of the Amazon.

A coming-of-age story entwined with a rare first-person articulation of shamanic philosophy, this impassioned plea to respect indigenous peoples’ rights is a powerful rebuke to the accelerating depredation of the Amazon and other natural treasures threatened by climate change and development.


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