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A Primate's Memoir: A…

A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among… (edition 2002)

by Robert M. Sapolsky

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Title:A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the Baboons
Authors:Robert M. Sapolsky
Info:Scribner (2002), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 304 pages
Collections:Your library

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A Primate's Memoir: A Neuroscientist's Unconventional Life Among the Baboons by Robert M. Sapolsky


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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
One of the best books I've read in a very long time. This book has it all: humor, adventure, animals, fascinating people, a spot of romance, terror, foreign countries, a world of learning for the reader, rage, mystery, heartbreak, and so much more. It's a wonderful book, so good I'm not swapping it because I'll read it again and again over time.

The author, a neuroscientist, relates his research experiences in Africa and all the wondrous, funny, and scary adventures he has along the way. It's better than fiction. The warring Masai tribes befriend him. He manages to get into some precarious situations in various regions of Africa. He gives his baboons biblical names. Much of what he writes about is still relevent today. The writing style is charming with touches of literary here and there.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. I wish I could give it 10 stars.

( )
  Rascalstar | Jan 21, 2017 |
The person in charge of cover art should have lost his job. This was a great book with an unappealing cover. ( )
  barefootcowgirl | Jul 28, 2016 |
I’ve dipped in several times, first from page 1 and then randomly. The material is almost always entertaining, but I couldn’t seem to stick with it, and I finally realized why. The font size is smaller than normal and the pages are densely packed. My aging eyes just can’t handle that much strain. So I’m going to gently toss this one back, not counting it as read. My bet is that professor Sapolsky’s lectures are highly valued by his students. His years in baboon territory were quite adventurous. That editorial decision is unfortunate. ( )
  2wonderY | Feb 1, 2016 |
Very good book about baboons and humans. Written by an American working in Kenya. Probably very tiresome if you do not like the author's sense of humour, but I found it ok, and really liked the book. Recommended. ( )
  ohernaes | Jan 28, 2016 |
A Primate's Memoir (2001) follows that well worn path of the bumbling westerner in the third world who finds sardonic humor in every situation. In this case with a twist, he is a Jewish kid from New York who is studying baboons in Kenya. Sapolsky tries too hard to be funny at every turn - it felt like a script from Jerry Seinfeld. Nothing wrong with that, he actually is funny sometimes. He becomes more authentic and interesting in the last few chapters when his armor of humor is taken off and real feelings and an original voice emerge. ( )
  Stbalbach | Oct 29, 2015 |
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To Benjamin and Rachel
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I joined the baboon troop during my twenty-first year.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743202414, Paperback)

Robert Sapolsky, the author of Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers and other popular books on animal and human behavior, decided early in life to become a primatologist, volunteering at the American Museum of Natural History and badgering his high school principal to let him study Swahili to prepare for travel in Africa. When he set out to conduct fieldwork as a young graduate student, though, Sapolsky found that life among a Kenyan baboon troop was markedly different from his earlier bookish studies. Among other things, he confesses, he had to become a master of shooting anesthetic darts into his subjects with a blowgun to take blood samples, a mastery that required him to become "a leering slinky silent quicksilver baboon terror." He also had to learn how to negotiate the complexities of baboon politics, endure the difficulties of life in the bush, and subsist on cases of canned mackerel and beans.

His memoir is, in the main, quite humorous, although Sapolsky flings a few darts along the way at the late activist Dian Fossey--who, he hints, may have indirectly caused the deaths of her beloved mountain gorillas by her unstable, irrational dealings with local people--and at local bureaucrats whose interests did not often coincide with those of Sapolsky's wild charges. It is also full of good information on primates and primatology, a subject whose practitioners, it seems, are constantly fighting to save species and ecosystems. "Every primatologist I know is losing that battle," he writes. "They make me think of someone whose unlikely job would be to collect snowflakes, to rush into a warm room and observe the unique pattern under a microscope before it melts and is never seen again." --Gregory McNamee

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:23 -0400)

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The author offers a memoir of his two decades in the field studying Kenyan baboons as he describes the members of the baboon troop and their behavior and his interaction with the neighboring Masai tribe.

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