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Visions of Caliban: On Chimpanzees and People Hardcover – March 22, 1993
For the last 35 years British biologist Jane Goodall has been living among African chimpanzees, recording their behavior and explaining it in a number of fine books. With literature professor Dale Peterson, Goodall here looks at the place of chimpanzees in the popular imagination, from Shakespeare's play The Tempest (whence the book's title) to David Letterman's monkey-cam, while Goodall recaps her work among chimps and decries their probably unhappy future. As she tells us in chilling detail, the chimpanzees' rain forest habitat is on the decline due to consumption of fuel wood as well as industrial logging, and chimps are thus threatened with extinction. The authors even wonder whether, given the relentless destruction of the chimpanzees' home, the poor creatures might not be better off in zoos. Peterson's and Goodall's point-counterpoint makes for fascinating, if somber, reading. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
In an unusual collaboration, historian Peterson ( The Deluge and the Ark ) and anthropologist Goodall ( In the Shadow of Man ) explore human-chimpanzee relationships, beginning with a look at the interaction of the primitive chimpanzee-like figure of Caliban and the powerful Prospero in Shakespeare's The Tempest . Peterson reports on the current conservation situation; he gives a chilling account of the illicit international trade, and of the animals used as pets and in the entertainment business. It is an ugly story. Goodall discusses ethical issues associated with our treatment of chimpanzees in captivity, focusing on biomedical laboratories. She advocates legislation to prohibit private ownership of great apes, to prevent their use in entertainment and to phase them out of medical research. Both authors draw on personal observation and experience to make a powerful statement for humane treatment of these close-to-human creatures.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
Peterson and Goodall have taken the productive path: honesty without invective or confrontation. This has allowed Jane Goodall to accomplish small but significant changes, but they are far too small and far too trivial. It would be nice if Dr. Robert Gallo would agree to be locked into a 5x5x7 cage, with a grate at the bottom so he would not find himself smeared with all his feces, but nothing to protect him from the blowflies his stench would draw. Welcome to medical research, Bobbo.
Human beings have a history of declaring those it would exploit to be "lesser creations": Jews, Negros, Indians, Gypsies, the harmless primates we have nearly exterminated. When the "lesser creations" are human, they can speak out to protest, and they are heard. Someone else must speak for the chimpanzees mutilated in research labs, the orangutans brutalized to entertain Las Vegas drunks, the gorillas slaughtered so their children can be confined in zoos.
The next time you see *The Tempest,* imagine Caliban turning on Prospero, with his complacent human superiority, and speaking the extraordinary and powerful words of Shylock: "Hath not a beast eyes? Pricked do we not bleed?" Animals are bleeding to make your mascara safe. Read this book, look long at the orphaned chimp huddled in one of the photos, and then look in the mirror.