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Using Shakespeare's play "The Tempest" and its characters Prospero and Caliban as structural metaphors representing the master-slave relationship between humans and chimpanzees, authors Dale Peterson and Jane Goodall collaborate in this exploration of our interaction with the species that shares more than 98 per cent of our genetic makeup. After introducing us to an animal that fashions and uses tools, exploits forest medicines, transmits learned cultural behaviours, and exhibits human-like emotions, Peterson and Goodall present an illuminating, frequently startling study of threats to wild chimpanzees' habitats and the many abuses that chimps have endured and continue to face at the hands of humans. They address conservation issues and ethical questions concerning keeping chimpanzees in captivity, whether as pets or for entertainment or research, and offer firsthand evidence of the drastically declining numbers of chimpanzees in the wild. Through their in-depth exploration of our relationship with chimpanzees, Peterson and Goodall demonstrate our close ties to these animals and also reveal how distant humans have become from their own place in nature. Both an informative, entertaining collection of stories about the authors' research experiences with chimps and a poignant call for a change in our perceptions and treatment of them, "Visions of Caliban" is a moving and important work.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780820322063
ISBN-10: 0820322067
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x 23mm)
Pages: 392
Imprint: University of Georgia Press
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Publish Date: 31-May-2000
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions

Reviews

US Kirkus Review » Peterson (English/Trufts), eloquent chronicler of nonhuman primates (The Deluge and the Ark, 1989), combines forces with chimp expert Goodall (Through a Window, 1990, etc.) to produce a Baedeker-cum-Declaration of Independence for the chimpanzee. Two unusual literary devices draw attention from the outset. One is Peterson's decision to use Caliban, the subhuman, suprabestial creature from The Tempest, as an archetype for the chimpanzee. This conceit works splendidly: Caliban and chimp have in common a tyrannical overlord (Prospero; all humans), a devastated environment, and a disturbing combination of animal and human traits. The other decision is to print Peterson's words in roman typeface and Goodall's in italic. The two voices differ markedly. Peterson - who contributes the bulk of the narrative - explores, describes, confronts. He observes chimps frolic in the bush, and crisscrosses Africa and America to track down chimp hunters, owners, and protectors. He probes public understanding of apes, pits it against current ethological knowledge, and challenges animal trainers and laboratory scientists to change their ways accordingly. Appalling tales of abuse come forth: chimps in chains, or routinely beaten by their owners, or detoothed and fitted with electric, shock devices before appearing on TV. Goodall, by contrast, tends to mix memories of chimp study with emotional, even maudlin, reactions to chimp mistreatment ("I am still haunted by the memory of her eyes, and the eyes of the other chimpanzees I saw that day"). She calls for a total ban on private ownership of chimps, including their usa in medical research; both authors emphasize the urgency of saving the dwindling African forests, the chimp's natural habitat. A powerful indictment of human cruelty; a convincing plea for animal fights - and altogether superior to the run-of-the-mill nature books crowding the market. (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Dale Peterson

Dale Peterson is also the author of "Chimpanzee Travels: On and Off the Road in Africa," "Storyville, USA" (both Georgia), and "The Deluge and the Ark: A Journey into Primate Worlds." He is co-author, with Richard Wrangham, of "Demonic Males: Apes and the Origins of Human Violence." He teaches at Tufts University. Jane Goodall is recognized worldwide for her research and field work with chimpanzees. She has written more than twenty books, including "In the Shadow of Man," "The Chimpanzees of Gombe: Patterns of Behavior," "Through a Window: My Thirty Years with the Chimpanzees of Gombe," and, most recently, the best-selling "Reason for Hope."

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