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A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the Baboons Paperback – March 12, 2002
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"While Sapolsky's primate observations are always fascinating, his thoughts on Africa and Africans are even more compelling. As funny and irreverent as a good ol' boy regaling his friends with vacation-from-hell stories, Sapolsky can also be disarmingly emotional . . . Filled with cynicism and awe, passion and humor, this memoir is both an absorbing account of a young man's growing maturity and a tribute to the continent that, despite its troubles and extremes, held him in its thrall." ― Publisher's Weekly (starred review)
"[Sapolsky] has a huge appetite for life, fed by his Brooklyn humor, a death-is-just-around-the-corner kind of irony. He writes exactly as if he's telling stories around a fire in the bush. And drinking. And gesturing . . ." ― Los Angeles Times
"Flies along like a well-paced and finely crafted novel. [Sapolsky's] stories about the Masai are terrific--what with the kidnapping, the blood-drinking and the blow-darting . . . A Primate's Memoir is not set up for a sequel, but reads are most likely to want one." ― Newsday
About the Author
- Publisher : Scribner; Reprint edition (March 12, 2002)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0743202414
- ISBN-13 : 978-0743202411
- Item Weight : 9.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.44 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #83,066 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from the United States
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I read a lot of the one star reviews and laugh. So the editing is bad, the book is isn't a text on the natural science of olive baboons, nor is it a good travel guide. It is the story of a guy with great curiosity towards nature, especially primates. Whether he is writing about baboons, his neighbors or himself he looks with the same curious, tolerant, distant observations that any good reporter or scientist brings to their work. Some get upset with his term "blacks" as if he also didn't use the term whities. lLOL
Some reviews cast doubt over he could have really had these experiences, but any astute observer of this crazy world we live in knows truth is satisfyingly bizarre all on its own. Writing like this is the most entertaining of non fiction.
Well I absolutely loved it! I laughed and I cried. I could relate to so much of it as I have spent a great deal of time visiting the game reserves here. I also enjoyed reading Robert’s stories of his interaction with the Masai and other local people – all of it very accurate and very amusing.
I see in earlier reviews people stated that the Kindle version has many typos. This has obviously been corrected as my version was perfect. Someone else also stated that the picture on the book cover was a mandrill. Well it isn't at all – it’s very definitely an olive baboon which is the type of baboon found in Kenya.
This is truly a wonderful book. Highly recommended.
Top reviews from other countries
What a writer. What a guy. Now reading his 'Behave'.
On the face of it this is a field study report but Sapolsky takes us way beyond that into the lives of the people, as well as the wild life, of a country that is inexhaustibly fascinating. This is as much a study of the human primate as any other. Sapolsky is infectiously curious about everything that surrounds him and with the eyes of a newborn sups on the detail that falls at his feet and describes it with a penetrating observation that irresistibly sweeps you up into every new adventure he takes on - and he does that with a courage that is admittedly surprising in an innocent abroad. This is a guy using his life to the full and for that we can only envy him. Thanks for sharing Bob.
Unfortunately no book about East Africa is complete without an insight into the part played by the local people in the lives and deaths of the wildlife. This book is no exception. Most of the accounts of relationships with local people are written with affection and no loss of good humour. However bribery and corruption is there too with awful consequences for the baboons, and that brings an element of real anger and sadness near the end of the book.
OK, it's one of a kind, all right? But it is fun, readable as a novel, informative, and treats Africa with knowledge and respect. The chapter on Sudan is, well, a lot less fun, and knowing what little I know about Sudan, it's as it should be.
It's like spending an evening chatting with a fiercely intelligent, witty, self-deprecating, wonderfully humane guy, and you will never think of the hyenas in The Lion King the same way again.