Synopses & Reviews
and#147;It is rare to find a scientist writing with such delight about, of all things, joy in the animal world! I have rarely experienced such pleasure in reading a book. I recommend it to all animal lovers, and even challenge a few skeptics, whose minds may be changed by this extraordinary work.and#8221;and#151;Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, author of When Elephants Weep
and#147;The Exultant Ark brilliantly and definitively demonstrates what pet owners have always known but what certain scientists still question, that animals think, feel, and have emotions, often pleasurable ones. Itand#8217;s a must-read for anyone with even the slightest interest in the truths of the natural world. I couldnand#8217;t put it down!and#8221;and#151;Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Deer and The Hidden Life of Dogs
and#147;There is no question that the whales experience pleasure when they sing, that the wolf enjoys howling at the moon, that lion cubs enjoy wrestling with each other. I love books like this, that challenge the rigidity of human prejudices, that open our minds to other realities and revolutionary perspectives, that question both our collective ignorance and our arrogance as humans.and#8221;and#151;Captain Paul Watson, Founder and President, Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
"The Exultant Ark bubbles over with joy. Its important words and moving photographs offer powerful proof of what we knew was true all along: the pleasure of animals is vividly real and matters deeplyand#151;both to the animals who experience it, and to we humans who are privileged to share their happiness. Rejoice!and#8221;and#151;Sy Montgomery, author of The Good Good Pig and Birdology
and#8220;An exuberant look at animal pleasure.and#8221;
and#8220;An irresistible new photo book.and#8221;
and#8220;Intersperses glorious images of animals preening, grooming and gallivanting with snippets of studies suggesting such behaviours belie an overly utilitarian interpretation.and#8221;
“Here is a book to put a spring into anyones step. The Exultant Ark is a celebration of animal behaviour at its most uplifting.” Tiffany O'Callaghan - New Scientist
“All readers of this column must immediately purchase Jonathan Balcombes fabulous book.” Stuart Blackman - Bbc Wildlife Magazine
“An exuberant look at animal pleasure.” Katherine Bouton
and#8220;This is one of those rare volumes that will look good on your coffee table but might also change the way you think.and#8221;
and#8220;This visually stunning book opens our eyes to a different, more scientifically up-to-date way of looking at the animal kingdom. . . . Old attitudes fall away as we gain a heightened sense of animal individuality and of the pleasures that make life worth living for all sentient beings.and#8221;
“This is one of those rare volumes that will look good on your coffee table but might also change the way you think.” Ian Paulsen - The Guardian / Birdbooker Report Blog
and#8220;The studies he [Balcombe] invokes are hard to explain away. . . . Likewise, the photographs that make up the bulk of The Exultant Ark remind us that we are not as different from other animals on our planet as we like to think; the photos are anecdotal in nature, but they are utterly compelling.and#8221;
and#8220;Both the stunning photography and Balcombeand#8217;s masterful prose are welcome additions to the growing literary and scientific evidence that debunk long-assumed myths while continuing to eliminate the gap between and#8216;usand#8217; and and#8216;them.and#8217;and#8221;
andldquo;Idahoandrsquo;s Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness together with the Frank Church Wilderness constitute the largest roadless area in the Lower 48. All this land is prime and historical grizzly bear habitat. Yet, despite nearby grizzly populations in Montana, this vast region is tragically and bafflingly devoid of grizzly bears. How could this be? Michael Daxandrsquo;s unusually thorough book documents our public failure to reintroduce the great bear to its natural home.andrdquo;andmdash;Doug Peacock, author of Grizzly Years
and In the Shadow of the Sabertooth
and#8220;Michael Dax expertly probes the economic, cultural, and political divides spawned by recent efforts to reintroduce grizzly bears into the Bitterroot Range. . . . This is a first-rate environmental history that will enlighten environmentalists, legislators, natural resource users, and others engaged in deciding the fate of public lands in the modern American West.and#8221;and#8212;Mark Harvey, author of Wilderness Forever: Howard Zahniser and the Path to the Wilderness Act
and#8220;Michael Dax delivers a nuanced and compelling study of the interconnectedness of politics and the environment in the West. He ably tells a story that far too few know, and he does so with grace and clarity and skillfully avoids green-washing this topic.and#8221;and#8212;Sara Dant, professor of history at Weber State University and coauthor of the Encyclopedia of American National Parks
and#8220;Here is a book to put a spring into anyoneand#8217;s step. The Exultant Ark is a celebration of animal behaviour at its most uplifting.and#8221;
and#8220;All readers of this column must immediately purchase Jonathan Balcombeand#8217;s fabulous book.and#8221;
Nature documentaries often depict animal life as a grim struggle for survival, but this visually stunning book opens our eyes to a different, more scientifically up-to-date way of looking at the animal kingdom. In more than one hundred thirty striking images, The Exultant Ark celebrates the full range of animal experience with dramatic portraits of animal pleasure ranging from the charismatic and familiar to the obscure and bizarre. These photographs, windows onto the inner lives of pleasure seekers, show two polar bears engaged in a bout of wrestling, hoary marmots taking time for a friendly chase, Japanese macaques enjoying a soak in a hot spring, a young bull elk sticking out his tongue to catch snowflakes, and many other rewarding moments. Biologist and best-selling author Jonathan Balcombe is our guide, interpreting the images within the scientific context of what is known about animal behavior. In the end, old attitudes fall away as we gain a heightened sense of animal individuality and of the pleasures that make life worth living for all sentient beings.
Environmentalists and the timber industry do not often collaborate, but in the years immediately following gray wolf reintroduction in the interior American West, a plan to reintroduce grizzly bears to the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness of Idaho and Montana brought these odd bedfellows together. The partnership won praise from diverse interests across the country and in 2000 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approved a plan for reintroduction. When the Bush Administration took office, however, it promptly shelved the project.
In Grizzly West Michael J. Dax explores the political, cultural, and social forces at work in the West and around the country that gave rise to this innovative plan but also contributed to its downfall. Observers at the time blamed the projectand#8217;s collapse on simple partisan politics, but Dax reveals how the American Westand#8217;s changing culture and economy over the second half of the twentieth century dramatically affected this bold vision. He examines the growth of the New Westand#8217;s political potency, while at the same time revealing the ways in which the Old West still holds a significant grip over the regionand#8217;s politics. Grizzly West explores the great divide between the Old and the New West, one that has lasting consequences for the modern West and for our country's relationship with its wildlife.
About the Author
Jonathan Balcombe is Department Chair for Animal Studies with Humane Society University. His books include Second Nature: The Inner Lives of Animals and Pleasurable Kingdom: Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good. Dr. Balcombe is also a popular environmental conference and keynote speaker.
Table of Contents
4 Courtship and Sex
8 Other Pleasures
Conclusion: Implications of Animal Pleasure