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Animal Madness: How Anxious Dogs, Compulsive Parrots, and Elephants in Recovery Help Us Understand Ourselves Hardcover


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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This is a marvelous, smart, eloquent book—as much about human emotion as it is about animals and their inner lives. Braitman’s research is fascinating, and she writes with the ease and engagement of a natural storyteller.” (Susan Orlean, bestselling author of Rin Tin Tin, Saturday Night, and The Orchid Thief)

"Animal Madness is the sanest book I've read in a long time. Laurel Braitman irrefutably shows that animals think and feel, and experience the same emotions that we do. To deny this is crazy—which is why this fine book should be required reading for anyone who cares about healing the broken inner lives of both people and animals." (Sy Montgomery, author of The Good Good Pig)

Animal Madness takes us on a roller-coaster of an emotional journey among emotionally unhappy animals. There are lows and highs here—the fears and worries of disturbed animals, and the joy and hope of humans trying to help them. In this compelling and provocative book, Braitman shows us sides of the animal mind few have imagined, and in doing so, opens our eyes anew.” (Virginia Morell, author of Animal Wise)

“Loving animals is easy. Thinking clearly about them can be almost impossible. Only a writer as earnestly curious as Laurel Braitman—so irrepressibly game to understand the animal mind—could draw this elegantly on both the findings of academic scientists and the observations of a used elephant salesman in Thailand; on the sorrows of a famous, captive grizzly bear in nineteenth-century San Francisco and the anxieties of her own dog. Animal Madness is a big-hearted and wildly intelligent book. Braitman rigorously demystifies so much about the other animals of our world while simultaneously generating even greater feelings of wonder.” (Jon Mooallem, author of Wild Ones)

"Braitman assembles the shattered pieces of others’ minds into a thoroughly considered and surprising realization that many familiar animals possess the same mental demons that haunt us. This insight challenges us to accept that our ancient kinship with other animals is as apparent in our psyche as it is in our physique." (John Marzluff, Author of Gifts of the Crow)

Animal Madness is a landmark book. Researchers have long ignored animals in need, especially in the wild. However, just as we suffer from a wide variety of psychological disorders so too do other animals. But they make a remarkable recovery when they are cared for, understood, and loved.” (Marc Bekoff, author of Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed and editor of Ignoring Nature No More)

"In the tradition of Marc Bekoff and Virginia Morell, Laurel Braitman deftly and elegantly makes the case that animals have complex emotional lives. This passionate, provocative, and insightful book deeply expands our knowledge and empathy for all species—especially, perhaps, our own." (B. Natterson-Horowitz, M.D. and K. Bowers, coauthors of Zoobiquity: Astonishing Connections Between Human and Animal Health)

“Humane, insightful, and beautifully written, Animal Madness gives anthropomorphism a good name. Laurel Braitman’s modern and nuanced definition of the word helps animals, helps people, and bolsters the connection between the two. Her thought-provoking book illuminates just how much we share with the creatures around us.” (Vicki Constantine Croke, author of The Lady and the Panda and Elephant Company)

“In this illuminating contribution to the burgeoning field of animal studies, senior TED fellow Braitman suggests that the key to understanding mental illness might lie in our pets. Humans, she reveals, are not the only ones who experience emotional turbulence or mental problems that break daily routine. Bears can endure heartbreak, elephants can form intense social attachments, and gorillas can die from homesickness. . . . Braitman’s delightful balance of humor and poignancy brings each case to life as she draws on her own experience, research, and the theories of Darwin, Descartes, and others. . . . [This book's] continuous dose of hope should prove medicinal for humans and animals alike.” (Publishers Weekly)

About the Author

MIT PhD in the history of science, Laurel Braitman has written for Pop Up Magazine, The New Inquiry, Orion, and a variety of other publications. She is a TED Fellow and an affiliate artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts. Laurel lives on a houseboat in Sausalito, California, and can be reached at AnimalMadness.com. 

More About the Author

Laurel Braitman has written stories about science, animals and other topics for Cabinet, Orion, The New Inquiry, and other publications, and performs live for Pop Up Magazine in San Francisco. She received her PhD in history and anthropology of science from MIT and is an affiliate artist at the Headlands Center for the Arts. She lives on a houseboat in Sausalito, California.

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