Book-smart and more than a little naive, Robert Sapolsky left the comforts of college in the US for a research project studying a troop of baboons in Kenya. Whether he's relating his adventures with his neighbours, Masai tribesmen, or his experiences learning how to sneak up and dart suspicious baboons, Sapolsky combines irreverence and humour with the best credentials in his field. A Primate's Memoir is the culmination of over two decades of experience and research - an exhilarating, hilarious and daring memoir, and an astonishing masterpiece of the people and nature of Africa.
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(198mm x 130mm x 18mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
Although intended as a serious study of stress-related disease and its relationship to the behaviour of male baboons, this book is an entertaining read. The author has a good sense of irony (despite being American) and writes about his travels in Africa and his work studying baboons in a style that is reminiscent of Bill Bryson. He knows each individual animal and, in a fit of sentimental anthropomorphism, he fondly christens the baboons with biblical names such as Isaac, Aaron, Solomon and Devorah. Baboons are our genetic relatives and his observations show that their relationships are similar to those of humans. Sapolsky records adolescent sulks, bullying and aggressive behaviour to weaken members of the group. As well as the activities of primates, he humorously describes the antics of the humans in the game park, and the tribal conflicts that regularly occur. However, his sense of frustration at the widespread corruption and his defensive attitude to his animals are evident, and there is a darker side to the story. Many of his group of baboons are struck down by a devastating disease, which Sapolsky thinks of as a biblical plague, and he ends up in the unenviable position of having to appear detached and professional while his own group of baboons are threatened. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Robert M. Sapolsky
Robert Sapolsky is Professor of Biology and Neurology at Stanford University, and a research associate with the Institute of Primate Research, National Museums of Kenya. He lives in San Francisco.