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When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals Paperback – Unabridged, May 2, 1996


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When Elephants Weep: The Emotional Lives of Animals + The Emotional Lives of Animals: A Leading Scientist Explores Animal Joy, Sorrow, and Empathy - and Why They Matter
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Delta (May 2, 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385314280
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385314282
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,393 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An examination of the inner lives of animals, arguing that they possess an emotional sensibility not unlike that of humans.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA?Animals do in fact lead emotional lives, according to Masson. He has managed to find hundreds of anecdotes from the published works and field studies of such noted behaviorists as Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Cynthia Moss that support his theory. It seems that, despite the fact that anthropomorphism is among the worst of scientific taboos, these respected scientists cannot help but notice the similarities between human and animal behavior. Chapters are organized by topic, such as fear, love, grief, and even compassion and beauty. An index provides access by species and by personal name of both people and animals. An excellent resource in psychology, this title will also be a useful addition for animal research. Its clear and conversational style makes it interesting for general readers as well. A well-documented, compelling, and thought-provoking defense of animal emotions.?Robin Deffendall, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Masson has had at least four lives: first as a boy raised to become a "spiritual leader" (see his denunciation of such a life in My Father's Guru). While in the middle of his disillusion, he became a professor of Sanskrit at the University of Toronto. At the same time he trained to become a Freudian analyst. Upon graduation he became Projects Director of the Freud Archives, and was scheduled to move into Freud's house in London when fate intervened: Masson found documents which seemed to show that Freud was right in believing that many women had been sexually abused as children, and that he was wrong to give up this belief, perhaps impelled by societal displeasure at his discoveries. Saying this publicly turned Masson into a psychoanalytic pariah, and he gave up both his professorship and his analytic career to delve into the far more fascinating world of animal emotions. Two of his books, WHEN ELEPHANTS WEEP and DOGS NEVER LIE ABOUT LOVE, were New York Times best-sellers. He became vegetarian as a result of his research, and later, when he looked into the feelings of farm animals, he became even stricter, and no longer eats or uses any animal product (vegan). Harpercollins published his most recent book: THE DOG WHO COULDN'T STOP LOVING: HOW DOGS HAVE CAPTURED OUR HEARTS FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS. He lives on a beach in New Zealand with his two sons, Ilan and Manu, and his German wife, Leila, a pediatrician who works with children on the autistic spectrum (using the bio-medical approach), Benjy, a golden lab, and three cats. They often travel to the States, Europe, and Australia. He is now fascinated in the "us/them" phenomenon, between humans but also between humans and animals.

Customer Reviews

I was somewhat disappointed that I couldn't get into the book.
Sylviastel
My philosophy students and I looked forward to discussing this book in our "Animal Minds" class, but found it to be a dreadful disappointment.
Andrew N. Carpenter
The premise of the book is that scientists refuse to acknowledge that animals feel emotions because it can't scientifically be proven.
Fiona Leonard

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

116 of 127 people found the following review helpful By Ruth Henriquez Lyon VINE VOICE on October 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book has been an eye-opener for me. It outlines the hidden assumptions, as well as the explicit scientific philosophies, behind the academic world's disrespect and irreverence for animals. Because it analyzes and weighs ideas, it is not an easy read in many sections--thus, I think, the number of reviews which gave it 1 or 2 stars. Like some readers, I thought there would be a lot more anecdotes in the book, and yet, I learned a lot more about the flaws in how we think about animals from the authors' discussions about human viewpoints.

Be prepared to put on your thinking cap when you sit down with this book--although there are entertaining vignettes, that's not the main point. Also, the reader(s) who were incensed about the authors' "attack" on scientific method did not closely read the text, I believe. The authors' arguments were based on voluminous research and are in line with many dissenting scientists' viewpoints. I find that there are many folks who believe in reductionist science so strongly that it becomes almost a religion for them--and when their "religion" is "attacked", they simply ignore the evidence on the other side whilst saying the opposing views are bogus. The authors should probably take it as a positive sign that they have triggered this sort of outrage. This book is aimed at minds willing to work, rather than be spoonfed. If you want an easy read, buy "Ring of Bright Water" or something along those lines.
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56 of 65 people found the following review helpful By mirasreviews HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 10, 2003
Format: Paperback
In "When Elephants Weep", author Jeffrey Moussaief Masson attempts to demonstrate that humans are far from being the only animals to lead complex emotional lives. If someone wanted to make a case for animal rights, it would probably have a greater chance of success if it were based on animal intelligence, as that is much easier to prove and quantify than emotions. But there is already a body of literature on animal intelligence, and many researchers continue to pursue an understanding in that area. This is why Jeffrey Masson has written a book on animal emotions. It is a topic that is very much underrepresented in literature, probably because the idea of animal emotions is much vilified in the scientific community. The content of "When Elephants Weep" comprises, almost entirely, evidence of the existence of emotions -some primitive, some complex- in animals other than humans. Most of the evidence is anecdotal, although there are some examples of controlled studies as well. Most of the emotions that are discussed fit into these broad categories: fear, hope, love, sadness, grief, rage, compassion, shame, aesthetic appreciation, and a sense of justice. Apart from the evidence presented, the text contains a lot of criticism of the scientific community's staunch reluctance to acknowledge the existence of emotions in animals on the basis that any such idea would be anthropomorphic. But the fact is that the scientific community can no more prove the existence of emotions in humans than it can in animals. And it will not be able to do so until it possesses the technology to identify and detect the neuropathways responsible for emotions. Until then, we accept that humans have emotions based on their behavior and our own experience.Read more ›
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100 of 125 people found the following review helpful By "songbear" on May 18, 2002
Format: Paperback
I love animals. Anyone who has ever lived with a dog, cat, horse, or many other species of animals knows that they have emotions. Some humans just don't have the time or the heart to respond to them. This book deserved to be so much better than it actually was. Great idea executed poorly. "When Elephants Weep" ended up being too much of an intellectual discussion about what is wrong with the human race and is written from a sophomoric slant enough to bore all but the most devout pop psychology buff to complete and utter insanity. In the first two chapters, authors Susan McCarthy and Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson just rail on unfeeling humans (there is actually a chapter entitled "Unfeeling Brutes") and all we get for over 40 pages is a diatribe against the scientific community. The author even goes so far to discuss the deficiencies in Freudian psychology in the area of human child sexual abuse, but never fully explains why this is relevant to the topic of the book.
Opinions, opinions, and more opinions. I kept waiting for even moderately detailed, heartwarming accounts of animal emotions and all I got were short burst of dry, clinical accounts of various animals followed by paragraphs and paragraphs of human psychology. The main author Masson has a PhD in Sanskrit. Maybe he should stick to something he knows about, because he doesn't demonstrate that he knows anything about emotion in this book - animal or otherwise. This book is overwrought, poorly written, not well thought out, disorganized, doesn't make a good argument for animal emotions (which deserves one), and doesn't do anything to seriously convince the scientific community why they should study this subject more closely. Books like this actually hurt the cause more than they promote it. I just can't believe he got this published.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 9, 1998
Format: Paperback
The behaviorist school of psychology has taught students of behavior that non-human animals are merely stimulus-response mechanisms. Yet Darwin established nearly 150 years ago that humans are fully part of the natural world; part of the Animal Kingdom. The evidence for conscious thought among non-human animals is now overwhelming, yet fabulous sums are poured into unnecessary research that is pure torture. This book makes the strongest case to date that animals feel the results of this suffering,as well as experiencing joy and many other emotions. It is a powerful book, a "must read" for for every member of OUR species.
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