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In the tradition of Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, Robert Sapolsky, a foremost science writer and recipient of a MacArthur Genius Grant, tells the mesmerizing story of his twenty-one years in remote Kenya with a troop of Savannah baboons. “I had never planned to become a savanna baboon when I grew up; instead, I had always assumed I would become a mountain gorilla,” writes Robert Sapolsky in this witty and riveting chronicle of a scientist’s coming-of-age in remote Africa. An exhilarating account of Sapolsky’s twenty-one-year study of a troop of rambunctious baboons in Kenya, A Primate’s Memoir interweaves serious scientific observations with wry commentary about the challenges and pleasures of living in the wilds of the Serengeti—for man and beast alike. Over two decades, Sapolsky survives culinary atrocities, gunpoint encounters, and a surreal kidnapping, while witnessing the encroachment of the tourist mentality on the farthest vestiges of unspoiled Africa. As he conducts unprecedented physiological research on wild primates, he becomes evermore enamored of his subjects—unique and compelling characters in their own right—and he returns to them summer after summer, until tragedy finally prevents him. By turns hilarious and poignant, A Primate’s Memoir is a magnum opus from one of our foremost science writers.
Discover this remarkable account of twenty-one years in remote Kenya with a troop of Savannah baboons from the New York Times bestselling author of Behave. 'One of the best scientist-writers of our time' Oliver Sacks Brooklyn-born Robert Sapolsky grew up wishing he could live in the primate diorama in the Museum of Natural History. At school he wrote fan letters to primatologists and even taught himself Swahili, all with the hope of one day joining his primate brethren in Africa. But when, at the age of twenty-one, Sapolky's dream finally comes true he discovers that the African bush bears little resemblance to the tranquillity of a museum. This is the story of the next twenty-one years as Sapolsky slowly infiltrates and befriends a troop of Savannah baboons. Alone in the middle of the Serengeti with no electricity, running water or telephone, and surviving countless scams, culinary atrocities and a surreal kidnapping, Sapolsky becomes ever more enamoured with his adopted baboon troop - unique and compelling characters in their own right - and he returns to them summer after summer, until tragedy finally prevails. 'A Primate's Memoir is the closest the baboon is likely to come - and it's plenty close enough - to having its own Iliad' New York Times Review of Books Exhilarating, hilarious and poignant, A Primate's Memoir is a uniquely honest window into the coming-of-age of one of our greatest scientific minds.
"Like an urban Dian Fossey, Wednesday Martin decodes the primate social behaviors of Upper East Side mothers in a brilliantly original and witty memoir about her adventures assimilating into that most secretive and elite tribe. After marrying a man from the Upper East Side and moving to the neighborhood, Wednesday Martin struggled to fit in. Drawing on her background in anthropology and primatology, she tried looking at her new world through that lens, and suddenly things fell into place. She understood the other mothers' snobbiness at school drop-off when she compared them to olive baboons. Her obsessional quest for a Hermes Birkin handbag made sense when she realized other females wielded them to establish dominance in their troop. And so she analyzed tribal migration patterns; display rituals; physical adornment, mutilation, and mating practices; extra-pair copulation; and more. Her conclusions are smart, thought-provoking, and hilariously unexpected. Every city has its Upper East Side, and in Wednesday's memoir, readers everywhere will recognize the strange cultural codes of powerful social hierarchies and the compelling desire to climb them. They will also see that Upper East Side mothers want the same things for their children that all mothers want--safety, happiness, and success--and not even sky-high penthouses and chauffeured SUVs can protect this ecologically released tribe from the universal experiences of anxiety and loss. When Wednesday's life turns upside down, she learns how deep the bonds of female friendship really are. Intelligent, funny, and heartfelt, Primates of Park Avenue lifts a veil on a secret, elite world within a world--the exotic, fascinating, and strangely familiar culture of privileged Manhattan motherhood"--
Described by Oliver Sacks as 'one of the best scientist-writers of our time', Robert M. Sapolsky here presents the human animal in all its quirkiness and diversity. In these remarkable essays, Sapolsky once again deploys his compassion and insights into the human condition to tell us who, why and how we are. Monkeyluv touches on themes such as sexuality, aggression, love, parenting, religion, ageing, and mental illness. He ponders such topics as our need to seek out beauty; why our preferences in food become fixed; why we are sexually attracted to one another; why Alzheimer's disease tends to be a post-menopausal phenomenon; and why grandmothers buying groceries for their grandchildren are part of nature's Darwinian logic.
For centuries we believed that humans were the only ones that mattered. The idea that animals had feelings was either dismissed or considered heresy. Today, that's all changing. New scientific studies of animal behavior reveal perceptions, intelligences, awareness and social skills that would have been deemed fantasy a generation ago. The implications make our troubled relationship to animals one of the most pressing moral issues of our time. Jonathan Balcombe, animal behaviorist and author of the critically acclaimed Pleasurable Kingdom, draws on the latest research, observational studies and personal anecdotes to reveal the full gamut of animal experience—from emotions, to problem solving, to moral judgment. Balcombe challenges the widely held idea that nature is red in tooth and claw, highlighting animal traits we have disregarded until now: their nuanced understanding of social dynamics, their consideration for others, and their strong tendency to avoid violent conflict. Did you know that dogs recognize unfairness and that rats practice random acts of kindness? Did you know that chimpanzees can trounce humans in short-term memory games? Or that fishes distinguish good guys from cheaters, and that birds are susceptible to mood swings such as depression and optimism? With vivid stories and entertaining anecdotes, Balcombe gives the human pedestal a strong shake while opening the door into the inner lives of the animals themselves.
With a focus on eight catagories including memoir, sports, and true crime, a readers' advisory guide includes coverage of the major authors and works, popularity, and style.
Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize From the man who Oliver Sacks hailed as “one of the best scientist/writers of our time,” a collection of sharply observed, uproariously funny essays on the biology of human culture and behavior. In the tradition of Stephen Jay Gould and Oliver Sacks, Robert Sapolsky offers a sparkling and erudite collection of essays about science, the world, and our relation to both. “The Trouble with Testosterone” explores the influence of that notorious hormone on male aggression. “Curious George’s Pharmacy” reexamines recent exciting claims that wild primates know how to medicate themselves with forest plants. “Junk Food Monkeys” relates the adventures of a troop of baboons who stumble upon a tourist garbage dump. And “Circling the Blanket for God” examines the neurobiological roots underlying religious belief. Drawing on his career as an evolutionary biologist and neurobiologist, Robert Sapolsky writes about the natural world vividly and insightfully. With candor, humor, and rich observations, these essays marry cutting-edge science with humanity, illuminating the interconnectedness of the world’s inhabitants with skill and flair.

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