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Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo

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Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo Cover

ISBN13: 9781592405466
ISBN10: 1592405460
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A young woman follows her fiancé to war-torn Congo to study extremely endangered bonobo apes-who teach her a new truth about love and belonging.

In 2005, Vanessa Woods accepted a marriage proposal from a man she barely knew and agreed to join him on a research trip to the Democratic Republic of Congo, a country reeling from a brutal decade-long war that had claimed the lives of millions. Settling in at a bonobo sanctuary in Congo's capital, Vanessa and her fiancé entered the world of a rare ape with whom we share 98.7 percent of our DNA. She soon discovered that many of the inhabitants of the sanctuary-ape and human alike-are refugees from unspeakable violence, yet bonobos live in a peaceful society in which females are in charge, war is nonexistent, and sex is as common and friendly as a handshake.

A fascinating memoir of hope and adventure, Bonobo Handshake traces Vanessa's self-discovery as she finds herself falling deeply in love with her husband, the apes, and her new surroundings while probing life's greatest question: What ultimately makes us human? Courageous and extraordinary, this true story of revelation and transformation in a fragile corner of Africa is about looking past the differences between animals and ourselves, and finding in them the same extraordinary courage and will to survive. For Vanessa, it is about finding her own path as a writer and scientist, falling in love, and finding a home.

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Review:

"Devoted to learning more about bonobos, a smaller, more peaceable species of primate than chimpanzees, and lesser known, Australian journalist Woods and her fianc, scientist Brian Hare, conducted research in the bonobos' only known habitat — civil war — torn Congo. Woods's plainspoken, unadorned account traces the couple's work at Lola Ya Bonobo Sanctuary, located outside Kinshasa in the 75-acre forested grounds of what was once Congo dictator Mobutu Sese Seko's weekend retreat. The sanctuary, founded in 1994 and run by French activist Claudine Andr, served as an orphanage for baby bonobos, left for dead after their parents had been hunted for bush meat; the sanctuary healed and nurtured them (assigning each a human caretaker called a mama), with the aim of reintroducing the animals to the wild. Hare had only previously conducted research on the more warlike, male-dominated chimpanzee, and needed Woods because she spoke French and won the animals' trust; through their daily work, the couple witnessed with astonishment how the matriarchal bonobo society cooperated nicely using frequent sex, and could even inspire human behavior. When Woods describes her daily interaction with the bonobos, her account takes on a warm charm. Woods's personable, accessible work about bonobos elucidates the marvelous intelligence and tolerance of this gentle cousin to humans." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

A young woman follows her fianc to war-torn Congo to study extremely endangered bonobo apes, who teach her a new truth about love and belonging. 8-page b&w photo insert.

Synopsis:

Brian Hare, dog researcher, evolutionary anthropologist, and founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center, and Vanessa Woods offer revolutionary new insights into dog intelligence and the interior lives of our smartest pets.

In the past decade, we have learned more about how dogs think than in the last century. Breakthroughs in cognitive science, pioneered by Brian Hare have proven dogs have a kind of genius for getting along with people that is unique in the animal kingdom.and#160;

Brian Hare's stunning discovery is that when dogs domesticated themselves as early as 40,000 years ago they became far more like human infants than their wolf ancestors. Domestication gave dogs a whole new kind of social intelligence. This finding will change the way we think about dogs and dog trainingandmdash;indeed, the revolution has already begun.

Hare's seminal research has led him to work with every kind of dog from the tiniest shelter puppy to the exotic New Guinea singing dog, from his own childhood dog, Oreo, to the most fashionable schnoodle. The Genius of Dogs is nothing less than the definitive dog book of our time by the researcher who started a revolution.

Synopsis:

A young woman follows her fiancé to war-torn Congo to study extremely endangered bonobo apes-who teach her a new truth about love.

In 2005 Vanessa Woods accepted a marriage proposal from a man she barely knew and agreed to join him on a research trip to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Settling in at a bonobo sanctuary in Congo's capital, Vanessa and her fiancé entered the world of a rare ape with whom we share 98.7 percent of our DNA and who live in a peaceful society in which females are in charge, war is nonexistent, and sex is as common and friendly as a handshake.

A fascinating memoir of hope and adventure, Bonobo Handshake traces Vanessa's self-discovery as she finds herself falling deeply in love with her husband, the apes, and her new surroundings in this true story of revelation and transformation in a fragile corner of Africa.

About the Author

"Funny, adventurous, and heartbreaking, Woods takes us with her to darkest Africa to meet our nearest relative, the nearly extinct bonobo. This must-read book illuminates extraordinary courage in both people and animals."

-Sara Gruen, bestselling author of Water for Elephants

"Gain insights into both the darkness and altruistic sides of our own emotions by getting to know chimpanzees and bonobos in an African sanctuary. This book is both shocking and hilarious." ,BR> -Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation and Animals Make Us Human

"Don't think that this is just a book about apes. It's a love story, an adventure story, and a political education about a country that has seen more tragedy and inhumanity than you can imagine. Above all, it's an introduction to creatures who have every claim to being more human, in the best sense of the word, than we are."

-Adam Hochschild, author of King Leopold's Ghost ,BR>

"This is a startling book. Page after page astonished me. A beautifully written journey into the tangled jungle of the human mind, it also brings us movingly into intimate, loving contact with our extraordinary cousins. This is a compelling story, told with striking honesty, humor, and intelligence."

-Alan Alda, author of New York Times bestsellers Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself and Never Have Your Dog Stuffed

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club com, June 10, 2010 (view all comments by Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club com)
For me a great memoir does more than tells a personal story. It also engages both my emotions and my intellect and leaves me wanting to know more about the author and what she writes about. Bonobo Handshake by Vanessa Woods, delivers on all counts.

The book opens with Woods in crisis as she is about to board a plane with her fiancé from Paris to Kinshasa, Congo, where she will stay at a sanctuary for orphan bonobos. While most of us have heard of chimpanzees and know about their plight, far fewer people are aware of bonobos, even though they are more endangered than chimps. Like chimps, bonobos carry a good portion of the same DNA we do. Unlike chimps, bonobos are peace loving, female-dominated, and very sexual.

Most of us also know that Congo is a dangerous place where women are raped, children are conscripted to fight, and millions of people have died at the hands of various rebels and government groups in the last decade. It is part of deepest, darkest Africa, with plenty of disease and other natural threats to add to the human ones. Few outsiders find compelling reasons to linger for any amount of time. Even fewer spend time to truly understand the nature of the various factions and conflicts.

Yet Woods and her fiancé, then husband, go back again and again over several years to work with the bonobos, hoping to gain scientific knowledge of how these apes are wired, and possibly learn how humans can benefit knowing more about them.

Bonobo Handshake is a story of love, politics and science woven around the details of Woods’ personal story, the story of apes, tales of Congo and other African countries, and accounts of scientific research. The narrative flows effortlessly from one topic to another. Woods is not afraid to show her weaknesses, and if anything she downplays her own courage while highlighting the everyday bravery of those who live and work full time in the Congo on behalf of bonobos.

I was fascinated from the first page to the last, and I was glad to see resources for more information included at the end of the book. Mother-daughter book club members may want to consider the active sex lives of the bonobos before choosing this as a group read, but there is much that girls aged 16 and up and adults can learn from Bonobo Handshake. I highly recommend it.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9781592405466
Subtitle:
How Dogs Are Smarter than You Think
Author:
Woods, Vanessa
Author:
Hare, Brian
Publisher:
Dutton Adult
Subject:
Bonobo -- Behavior.
Subject:
Bonobo - Congo (Democratic Republic)
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Subject:
Life Sciences - Zoology - Primatology
Subject:
Biography - General
Subject:
Dogs - General
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20130205
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Approx 60 bandw illustrations and photos
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8.30x5.74x1.08 in. .99 lbs.
Age Level:
17-17

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Mammals » Primates

Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.50 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Gotham Books - English 9781592405466 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Devoted to learning more about bonobos, a smaller, more peaceable species of primate than chimpanzees, and lesser known, Australian journalist Woods and her fianc, scientist Brian Hare, conducted research in the bonobos' only known habitat — civil war — torn Congo. Woods's plainspoken, unadorned account traces the couple's work at Lola Ya Bonobo Sanctuary, located outside Kinshasa in the 75-acre forested grounds of what was once Congo dictator Mobutu Sese Seko's weekend retreat. The sanctuary, founded in 1994 and run by French activist Claudine Andr, served as an orphanage for baby bonobos, left for dead after their parents had been hunted for bush meat; the sanctuary healed and nurtured them (assigning each a human caretaker called a mama), with the aim of reintroducing the animals to the wild. Hare had only previously conducted research on the more warlike, male-dominated chimpanzee, and needed Woods because she spoke French and won the animals' trust; through their daily work, the couple witnessed with astonishment how the matriarchal bonobo society cooperated nicely using frequent sex, and could even inspire human behavior. When Woods describes her daily interaction with the bonobos, her account takes on a warm charm. Woods's personable, accessible work about bonobos elucidates the marvelous intelligence and tolerance of this gentle cousin to humans." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , A young woman follows her fianc to war-torn Congo to study extremely endangered bonobo apes, who teach her a new truth about love and belonging. 8-page b&w photo insert.
"Synopsis" by ,
Brian Hare, dog researcher, evolutionary anthropologist, and founder of the Duke Canine Cognition Center, and Vanessa Woods offer revolutionary new insights into dog intelligence and the interior lives of our smartest pets.

In the past decade, we have learned more about how dogs think than in the last century. Breakthroughs in cognitive science, pioneered by Brian Hare have proven dogs have a kind of genius for getting along with people that is unique in the animal kingdom.and#160;

Brian Hare's stunning discovery is that when dogs domesticated themselves as early as 40,000 years ago they became far more like human infants than their wolf ancestors. Domestication gave dogs a whole new kind of social intelligence. This finding will change the way we think about dogs and dog trainingandmdash;indeed, the revolution has already begun.

Hare's seminal research has led him to work with every kind of dog from the tiniest shelter puppy to the exotic New Guinea singing dog, from his own childhood dog, Oreo, to the most fashionable schnoodle. The Genius of Dogs is nothing less than the definitive dog book of our time by the researcher who started a revolution.

"Synopsis" by ,
A young woman follows her fiancé to war-torn Congo to study extremely endangered bonobo apes-who teach her a new truth about love.

In 2005 Vanessa Woods accepted a marriage proposal from a man she barely knew and agreed to join him on a research trip to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo. Settling in at a bonobo sanctuary in Congo's capital, Vanessa and her fiancé entered the world of a rare ape with whom we share 98.7 percent of our DNA and who live in a peaceful society in which females are in charge, war is nonexistent, and sex is as common and friendly as a handshake.

A fascinating memoir of hope and adventure, Bonobo Handshake traces Vanessa's self-discovery as she finds herself falling deeply in love with her husband, the apes, and her new surroundings in this true story of revelation and transformation in a fragile corner of Africa.

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