From Publishers Weekly
Anyone who's interested in the human sex drive, mothering or criminality will find provocative material in this study of our evolutionary cousins and the women who've researched them. From "trimates" Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Birut Galdikas to the next generation of female field-workers they inspired, women have dominated primatology thanks to their patience, dedication and perhaps, as Louis Leakey suggested, some predisposition to communication with nonverbal creatures. These women have faced remarkable risks to study the creatures they loved (and often to protest the actions of poachers and other human intruders): Dian Fossey was killed on the job, and many others faced dangers ranging from civil war to angry apes. Jahme, an English primatologist and filmmaker, thoughtfully explores the work of female primatologists and its implications for the study of evolution, sex and gender. Her style is even more anecdotal and informal than Natalie Angier's, and equally political, especially in her analysis of the randy, female-bonded bonobo monkeys. She not only knows her science, but has a real knack for making it comprehensible to the uninitiated. Though Jahme occasionally digresses too far into the love lives of her field-workers, she always returns, to her readers' delight, to her apes ape sex, ape infanticide, ape intelligence and to the remarkable relationship between woman and beast. 45 illus. not seen by PW. Agent, Sara Fisher (U.K.). (July)Forecast: The jacket art depicting a pretty, sarong-draped woman eyeing a coy simian may raise some eyebrows, but as primate research clearly shows, sex appeal guarantees survival of the species. If this book is well displayed and receives the review attention it deserves, it should find a solid perch on the nature bookshelf.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Sue Howell of the Primate Foundation of Arizona analyzed a sample of people in the field of primatology in 1999, determining that while men held more academic positions than women, women outnumbered men three to one as students. British primatologist Jahme explores this imbalance, arguing that women become emotionally attached to the animals they study and thus are ideal for pursuing long-term primate studies. Men instead "publish papers, push their careers forward and move on" to stations in academia. The author touches on primate studies, but her emphasis is squarely on the people rather than the science. Jahme examines the lives of such primatology notables as Jane Goodall, Birute Galdikas, and Dian Fossey, detailing the relationships and life events that shaped their pursuit of this vocation. At times she goes too deep into personal matters love affairs and such that have little bearing on her subjects' careers. And she gives short shrift to the pioneers who happened to be male: in her opinion, giants like Robert Yerkes and Harry Harlow missed the big picture. Still, Jahme provides useful biographical information on less celebrated female primatologists such as Jeanne Altman, Barbara Smuts, Sue Savage-Rumbaugh, and Mariko Hiraiwa-Hasegawa. An appropriate addition to history of science and women's studies collections. Raymond Hamel, Wisconsin Regional Primate Research Ctr. Lib., Madison
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.