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

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this book was right up my alley. and i loved it. easily the best book i've read in a long while. ( )
  elisa.saphier | Apr 2, 2013 |
This memoir was a well written and thoughtful history of the author's visits to Africa to study a troop of baboons. Thoroughly enjoyable. ( )
  gbelik | Sep 20, 2012 |
I loved this book! It was one of the most entertaining memoirs I've ever read. He weaves his love and observation of the baboon troop in with his experiences traveling through Africa. The descriptions of the places he visits are very detailed and you can feel the exhiliration/fear/interest and experience as he does. It is really great, though he does make reference to things that go on in his personal life that he doesn't address which makes it feel sometimes like there is something missing but it is definitely a concise study of a particular experience of this person. ( )
1 vote trinityM82 | Sep 6, 2011 |
This book was a fun experience, sad at times, as it took you literally into the heart of a baboon troupe that the author spent years studying. You begin to feel a sense of kinship, and the various baboons develop personalities that lead you into caring for the individual baboons. ( )
  quantum_flapdoodle | Apr 25, 2011 |
A potpouri of insights into many things: human nature, masai culture, Kenya, biological research. Well told and easy to read. ( )
  waldhaus1 | Sep 7, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:30:59 -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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