- Paperback: 256 pages
- Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press; 25th anniversary edition (August 30, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0801886562
- ISBN-13: 978-0801886560
- Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 0.6 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 43 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #61,401 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Chimpanzee Politics: Power and Sex among Apes 25th anniversary Edition
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The great apes, like humans, can recognize themselves in mirrors. They communicate by sound and gesture, form bands along what can only be called political lines, and sometimes engage in what is very clearly organized warfare. (Less frequently, too, they practice cannibalism.) In Chimpanzee Politics Frans de Waal, a longtime student of simian behavior, analyzes the behavior of a captive tribe of chimpanzees, comparing its actions with those of ape societies in the wild. What he finds is often not pleasant: chimps seem capable of astonishing deviousness and savagery, which has obvious implications for the behavior their human cousins sometimes exhibit. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"An excellent book... Just as fresh and thought-provoking in 2008 as it was in 1983."(Laelaps)
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By all measures, it's one of those rare books that makes a scientific contribution while being accessible to lay persons. I'm one of those lay persons and found the book very interesting. It's mostly about chimps, though you'll be tempted to draw parallels with humans at various times.
This 25th anniversary edition is a trade paperback, with lots of black and white pictures throughout the text and about a dozen color plates in the middle.
As for the book itself-please don't let my rating discourage you from reading this book. It is impressive even path-breaking ethology and a compelling read.
I do question many of the authors conclusions. There are several times where the author attributes long-term goals to the chimpanzees on largely wishful "it could be true" kind of thinking. And it may be true. It is just that the evidence presented does not support the authors conclusion as anything other than one possibility.
I also feel that the author may have suppressed some of the data in the first edition. He admits in the new afterword that a very shocking incident occurred during his research that he did not include in the first edition "to avoid ending the book on a dark note".
Trying not to give to much away, let us just say that there is a brutal killing (murder?) that seems to give the lie to much of the structure of chimpanzee politics that de Waal has theorized. That act cannot be explained by de Waal given his theories and he doesn't really try to explain it.
In conclusion, this is a superb read that seems to be well thought of in the field (I learned of it from my reading of Deep History by Shryock and Smail). For this reader, the author fails to make his case but he does succeed in demonstrating what remarkable cousins(used loosely, people, just relax) we have in the chimps. That was more than enough to make me enjoy the book.
As we watch the chimpanzees of Arnhem behave in ways we recognize from Machiavelli (and from the nightly news), de Waal reminds us again that the roots of politics are older than humanity. This edition includes a heartbreaking epilogue and I highly recommend it. Simply an outstanding treatment and good observational science.
"Nikkie is the highest-ranking ape but he is completely dependent on Yeoren. Luit is individually the most powerful. But when it comes to who can push others aside, then Mama is the boss". (I LOVE Mama, she is delightful and person worth knowing.)
Most recent customer reviews
Interesting, however needs stronger voice.
Only about 30% of the book was Interesting.