Among the Great Apes: Adventures on the Trail of Our Closest Relatives

Overview

Join Paul Raffaele, whom the Washington Post calls the "last of the great, old-fashioned adventure writers," is on a journey to meet the last great apes living in the wild.

Humans have long felt a deep attraction to the great apes: bonobos, chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas. We see a reflection of ourselves in their faces, in their mannerisms, and in their interactions with kin. But we also look to them for contrast. Part of how we define ourselves as human rests with ...

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Among the Great Apes: Adventures on the Trail of Our Closest Relatives

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Overview

Join Paul Raffaele, whom the Washington Post calls the "last of the great, old-fashioned adventure writers," is on a journey to meet the last great apes living in the wild.

Humans have long felt a deep attraction to the great apes: bonobos, chimpanzees, orangutans, and gorillas. We see a reflection of ourselves in their faces, in their mannerisms, and in their interactions with kin. But we also look to them for contrast. Part of how we define ourselves as human rests with recognizing the differences between us and the great apes, in spite of the substantial amounts of DNA we share.

In decades past, many great primatologists, including Dian Fossey, Jane Goodall, and Richard Wrangham, have dedicated their lives to the observation and study of the great apes in their natural habitats. Unfortunately, many of these sheltering places no longer exist. The great apes live in some of the most volatile regions on our planet, lands plagued by civil unrest, poverty, environmental degradation, and corrupt governments.

In Among the Great Apes, acclaimed nature journalist Paul Raffaele goes into the wild to see how our closest relatives are faring today. He takes us through isolated jungles and misty mountain forests, sharing wonderfully intimate observations of ape life paired with the most current research about their behavior.

Raffaele introduces us to leading conservationists and researchers working to save and study the apes. But, best of all, he gets up close to these amazing animals. He describes orangutans fashioning umbrellas from long leaves, a young chimpanzee mothering a "baby" log, and the bonobos' lively ritual of swinging like gymnasts through the treetops before building elaborate nests to sleep in. Moving from Borneo to the Congo, Among the Great Apes brings us to the natural habitats of all the species and subspecies of the great apes—a trip possible for perhaps the last time.

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Editorial Reviews

Associated Press
Praise for AMONG THE CANNIBALS:“Simply fascinating. . . . Raffaele’s book is worth devouring.”
Library Journal
Australian journalist Raffaele (Among the Cannibals) embarks on another journey to remote corners of the earth, this time to enlighten readers about the plight of the great apes. Memories of earlier trips and historic accounts intertwine with his current expeditions as he examines the environments and conditions these mammals now face. Much of his focus involves three species of gorillas (mountain, western lowland, and river), yet chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans are also discussed. Raffaele is passionate about the future of these great apes and the human interactions that have pushed them to the limits in their natural environments. The prose is easy and often engaging. VERDICT While Raffaele takes great care to make sure readers have an understanding of what is taking place, he sometimes becomes overly repetitious and invokes an almost preachy tone. That aside, readers will become educated about the primate studies that have taken and continue to take place and as a result will become better acquainted with "our closest relatives." Recommended.—Kyrille Goldbeck, Newman Lib., Blacksburg, VA
Shaun Ellis
“A fantastic book that’s also a really emotional ride. Anyone who cares about animals will benefit hugely from reading it.”—Shaun Ellis, star of Animal Planet’s Living With the Wolfman and author of The Man Who Lives With Wolves
Peter Nichols
“[A] modern, non-fiction version of Conan Doyle’s The Lost World: a time-warp glimpse into man’s most primordial nightmare; exciting, fantastic, horrific—and a very well-written travel narrative.”
Associated Press Staff
Praise for AMONG THE CANNIBALS:“Simply fascinating. . . . Raffaele’s book is worth devouring.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061671838
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 2/9/2010
  • Pages: 370
  • Product dimensions: 6.44 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 1.36 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Raffaele has scored many world scoops for such magazines as Reader's Digest, Parade, and Smithsonian, including stories on North Korea, Saharan slave traders, and East Timor's fight for independence. He lives in Sydney, Australia.

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Table of Contents

The Mountain Gorillas: Gorillas and Guerillas in the Mist 1

The Wild, Wild Chimpanzees 69

The Bonobos: Our Long-Lost Cousins 129

King Kong at the Brink: The Western Lowland Gorillas 183

The Cross River Gorillas: Rarest of the Rare 237

The Enigmatic Orangutans: Borneo's Man of the Forest 295

A Call to Arms 343

Bibliography 353

Index 355

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