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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Dose of Reality
In response to the comments by Aldo Matteucci I'd like to inject a dose of current scientific reality into the situation. Matteucci does not appear to be familiar with the most recent neuroscience and comparative psychological research. So, I'd like to correct some of his misinterpretations of Gay Bradshaw's arguments. Matteucci makes the naive claim that the human...
Published on October 30, 2009 by Lori Marino

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6 of 17 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Pass: Needs Fact-Checking & More Theoretical Than Practically Helpful to Elephants
A mess. Don't bother with this pretentiously technically book filled psycho-jargon that even my wife, as a psychiatrist, considered excessively. The elephants are important and deserve better, no doubt. But this book is filled with inaccurate information about others who have worked hand-on with elephants for many years. We enjoyed The Elephant Whisperer much better and...
Published on March 19, 2010 by William Strickland, Ph.D.


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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Dose of Reality, October 30, 2009
By 
Lori Marino (Atlanta, Georgia United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
In response to the comments by Aldo Matteucci I'd like to inject a dose of current scientific reality into the situation. Matteucci does not appear to be familiar with the most recent neuroscience and comparative psychological research. So, I'd like to correct some of his misinterpretations of Gay Bradshaw's arguments. Matteucci makes the naive claim that the human brain is a "chaotic structure" that seems to be haphazardly put together and, by implication, so much more complex than the brains of other species that inference from humans to other animals is untenable. To the contrary, the available research converges on the finding that all animals, including humans, share the same brain structures related to the processing of emotions and that these structures and their biochemical connections to the rest of the body are among the most conserved evolutionarily. In decades of neuroscientific investigation we have yet to find a single attribute of the human brain that sets it apart qualitatively from the rest of the animal kingdom. Moreover, findings on cognitive abilities in other animals are appearing in well-respected journals practically on a monthly basis showing that so-called uniquely human capacities are distributed across many other species. Dr. Bradshaw's arguments are based on a solid body of scientific evidence, which clearly refutes Matteucci's point.

Might I suggest that the strident nature of Matteucci's criticism be best understood in the context of his archaic argument that by attending to the needs of elephants and other animals we are allowing the "starvation of billions of people". Underlying such remarks is the banal and unsupported perspective that it is "us against them" and that we must choose between humans and other animals. Matteucci appears offended by the notion that the problems faced by other species would be placed on a par with those of humans. In doing so he misses Bradshaw's most profound point that humans and other animals share critical psychological characteristics that make us all vulnerable to damage and trauma. We are all in this together.

Lori Marino, PhD
Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology Program
Emory University
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Revolutionary and breathtaking, September 4, 2009
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Thanks to scientific discoveries that tell us more and more about the lives, abilities and consciousness of non-human animals, we have dwindling justification for drawing a line between humans and other animals. A subtitle for this powerful, deeply moving book might be, "We are them; they are us."

In this sweeping book, G.A. Bradshaw reviews what humans have done to elephants and, perhaps more important, explores what that has meant for elephants and elephant society. I think anyone who advocates for animals will find this a disturbing but deeply satisfying book. Bradshaw reminds us how much we have to learn from elephants which, in the end, will bring us back to ourselves.

Jane Goodall says it's not about animal rights, it's about human responsibility. Bradshaw's book is a landmark contribution for those who seek to accept full responsibility for ourselves and our actions.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Holocaust analogy very apt, August 11, 2010
By 
lonebeaut (land of enchantment) - See all my reviews
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I just finished "Elephants on the Edge", which is highly researched, thoughtful, intellectual, provocative and compassionate all at the same time. I really like the fact that Bradshaw unabashedly compares what's happening to elephants to human genocide, specifically the extermination of Jews/Gypsies/Gays etc. in the Holocaust, but also the American Indian killings and other historic genocides. I have noticed that whenever factory farming is compared to the Holocaust (often by the much-maligned but extremely effective animal rights group PETA), animal exploitation deniers tend to get very upset and speciesist, so I'm pleased that Bradshaw doesn't shirk from the obvious comparison.

In this book, the problems that elephants face in the crowded 21st century are studied from a psychological POV, particularly the phenomenon of PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder). Elephants, whether in the (relative) wild, in zoos or circuses or lumber camps or temples or sanctuaries, have been taken out of their natural element. They are constantly reshuffled, unnaturally bred, brutally slaughtered, kidnapped, chained, beaten, all of which leads to the obvious for such a sensitive, intelligent, family-oriented, peripatetic, social species: extreme stress manifested in a variety of human-engendered bad behaviors, which the elephants are then punished for.

As a supporter of The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee and Dame Daphne Sheldrick's miraculous wildlife trust in Kenya, I really appreciated all the pages dedicated to the difficult work done at these two very different sanctuaries. TES cares for retired, formerly abused circus and zoo elephants, while TDSWT rescues injured young elephants from the wild and rehabilitates them. I only hope that more of these absolutely necessary kinds of support spring up to meet the needs of elephants caught in limbo.

I have no patience with those who claim that our first priority is to save ourselves, not our fellow animals, because, for one thing, environmentally speaking, we need other animal species in order for us to survive on this planet. And aesthetically speaking, what would the world be like without elephants, or with only the broken, psychologically damaged pachyderms that are enslaved in zoos and circuses and other show biz venues? To me, it would be a very sad, impoverished place. I wouldn't want to live in a world devoid of elephants, chimpanzees, dolphins, parrots and all the other highly exploited animal species.

As an editor, proofreader and small publisher, I do have one problem with the book that is actually a problem I have with many books that have come out in the last fifteen years or so: I found a number of typos, deleted words, misspellings, just general editorial sloppiness. I don't expect a book to have absolutely no errors, but I've noticed that with the advent of the PC and the ease with which people can quickly write their own books has come a lack of attention to detail. That's why I only give it 4 stars.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Short of a Masterpiece, September 3, 2009
By 
This book has not only enhanced my understanding of elephants and other animals in radical and important ways. This beautifully written learning experience has expanded my vision about the world and the role that humanity (or the lack thereof) plays in it for all of us ... Individually and collectively. Scrupulously supported by peer-reviewed research conducted by the author and her colleagues. The ideas presented are at once both brilliantly revelatory yet make so much common sense in the ways we need to make it - instead of breaking it - in this pivotal time in our world's history. This book has changed my life on a soul level as well as make me a better researcher. We don't just owe it to the elephants to read this book - we owe it to ourselves and our own communities.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars we are not learning..., May 31, 2014
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This review is from: Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us about Humanity (Paperback)
I read Elephants on the Edge when it was first published. Although disturbing in terms of humanity's involvement in decimating intelligent social wild beings, surely this book would educate us. It is intense and seriously written so that we may know the truth about ourselves.

Unfortunately, even if our society has started to focus on preservation, other societies have started to pursue ivory, and have learned to systematically and brutally kill elephants . We have not yet learned about humanity.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars heartfelt and evidenced-based, May 4, 2014
This review is from: Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us about Humanity (Paperback)
Dr Bradshaw has integrated heartfelt feeling and evidenced-based science to forge a new discipline, trans-species psychology, based on ethology, psychology and neuroscience, which emphasizes commonalities, such as self, sentience and subjectivity between humans and other animals. Read it to learn how attachment, trauma and recovery occur along similar neurodevolpmetal paths among humans and elephants - and to be heartbroken and renewed with hope.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and provocative, March 24, 2012
By 
Ryan C. Holiday (Los Angeles, California) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us about Humanity (Paperback)
If you look at some of the commonly known trivia about animals - that elephants grieve and occasionally bury their dead, that chimps can speak sign language, that some species of monkeys display exhibit traits like fairness or cognitive dissonance - it's shocking to see how much it conflicts with currently used preservation tactics. For instance, take the culling of a herd of elephants through relocation or hunting. We all sit and watch National Geographic specials that marvel at their social structure, their abilities to communicate with each other and form relationships and then simply assume that these efforts have zero repercussions.

The book's premise is that these species suffer trauma much in the same way that people do. It mentions a herd of elephants in Africa where two rogue teenage males deliberately killed dozens of rhinoceros without explanation - this, they say, is no different than the gang violence we see in inner cities, cities racked by the same dislocation, disappearing resources and exploitation. Whether you agree with it or not, there is something to be said for books that turn over entire lines of thinking. I especially like books that take logic and findings from unrelated fields and apply them in interesting and provocative ways. This book does just that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended., June 14, 2010
A very provocative read. Academic and yet accessible to the layperson. Bradshaw's juxtapositioning of human and elephant trauma provides opportunities for new insights into each. Concludes with a satisfying discussion of remedies. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sad but true, June 17, 2014
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This review is from: Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us about Humanity (Paperback)
inspiring story, just wish it weren't happening. Gay Bradshaw is doing terrific work with her center and made a a huge impact on the world of conservation with this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars wonderful trans-species thinking, May 17, 2014
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striking parallels between human and animal attachment psychology.

Much to learn here about animal and human trauma and its healing.
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Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us about Humanity
Elephants on the Edge: What Animals Teach Us about Humanity by G. A. Bradshaw (Paperback - October 26, 2010)
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