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Beauty & the Beasts: Woman, Ape, and Evolution
Synopses & Reviews
What is it with female primatologists and their chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas? The sheer number of women in this field is startling, as are the dangers they risk pursuing their beloved subjects. Fiercely dedicated and devoted, they go to remarkable lengths to conduct their studies and to protect their great apes from poachers, revolutions, and human contamination.
It is an impressive array of scientists: Jane Goodall, of course, and Dian Fossey (who was actually killed in the field), and less celebrated women, like Mary Leakey, Shirley McGreal, Birute Galdikas, and others, who also braved everything from civil war to enraged simians with fangs bared. Their intriguing stories are a monument to forty years of dauntless scientific endeavor. But their ineffable longing for the company of their primordial cousins, their intense identification with these primates, is an intriguing theme that runs through their professional lives at a depth that can only be described at times as intimate and mysterious.
"Always entertaining and thought provoking." Observer
"Interesting and insightful." Guardian
"If a book can also be a mirror, then this one is a s clear and necessary and full?figure as the come: in it we see the surprising truth ? ourselves, in all our profoundly complex, hairy and big?eared glory." Melissa Pierson, author of Dark Horses and Black Beauties: Animals, Women, a Passion
"Jahme considers in panoramic detail the burgeoning of female primatologists in the past forty years, surveying the lives and work of Goodall, Galdikas, Dian Fossey, and scads of others. Never sentimental, she insightfully intertwines the personal with the professional." Carole Jahme, Atlantic (read the entire Atlantic review)
"Jahme's book never settles down and figures out what it wants to be. That's what's good about it, especially if you're one of those readers who commonly has two or three books going at once. While reading Beauty and the Beasts, you'll find yourself moving from biography (replete with gossipy insider stuff) to scientific survey to conservationist reportage to feminist theory ? all without having to pick up another volume." Charles Taylor, Salon.com (read the entire Salon review)
Book News Annotation:
A British primatologist notes that a majority of those in her field are women. While the author wants Goodall, Fossey, and less well- known female scientists to be taken seriously, she intersperses Hollywood images and an inter-species rape anecdote in her account of their challenges and achievements. Includes photos, a map of non-human primate distribution and major research sites, and resources.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
About the Author
Carole Jahme is a primatologist and documentary filmmaker. She lives in England.
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