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A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the Baboons Paperback – March 12, 2002
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"[Sapolsky's] stories are remarkable. . . . A Primate's Memoir is the closest the baboon is likely to come--and it's plenty close enough--to having its own Iliad." (New York Times Book Review)
"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
Robert M. Sapolsky is the author of several works of nonfiction, including A Primate's Memoir, The Trouble with Testosterone, and Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers. He is a professor of biology and neurology at Stanford University and the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation genius grant. He lives in San Francisco.
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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.
This was like reading about baboons, if Mark Twain had been doing the writing: the author's eye for humor, and his willingness to describe accurately, not just baboons, but also the people he came in contact with: he spares neither them, nor him, nor our own modern day sensibilities. I was laughing out loud, at him, at the baboons, and my own preconceptions.
I don't give five stars, but this was just too good. I got it on Kindle, and liked it so much I just got through ordering a new paperback edition from Amazon. I didn't need it, and I'm kind of mobile in my old age, but I wanted this in my bookshelf, probably right next to my old Bukowski short stories ;-)
A great book, and a writer I will now follow avidly
The reader never for a moment doubts Sapolsky's love for his baboons; his passion is evident is the workmanlike narrative of day to day troop life; the pecking order, and the social characteristics of baboon "society." Sapolsky also writes movingly of the tragedies of his beloved troop, and his favorite subjects.
This is an excellent account written by a man with a passion for his work and is highly recommended.
Most recent customer reviews
This book is not a documentary written many years ago—depending on how much difficulty you have remembering 2001—and...Read more